"All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man…" Henry David Thoreau


Lincoln in Dalivision

PPC veterans such as myself know that in order to achieve successful sales / lead generation via paid search, all three elements of a paid search campaign (keyword list, ad copy, and landing page) need to work in perfect harmony. While I would not directly challenge the sanctity of the PPC Holy Trinity, I do have a little "sacrilege" that I would like to introduce into the process.

For optimum paid search campaign results, there must be a tight nexus between the keyword list and the landing page offered to the visitor. The keywords used must be focused and unambiguously relevant to the landing page which needs the right mixture of design, content, and conversion architecture so that the PPC effort ROI´s for the business. However, it´s in the ad copy where I might have a bit of a bone to pick with some of the other PPC bloggers out there. I have seen a number of articles show examples where a higher CTR did not equate to a higher ROI. I´m certainly not doubting these folks ran comparisons and came up with this data. However, I am suggesting that if the PPC keyword list and landing page are truly optimized for the highest conversion, the highest ad CTR should lead to the highest ROI and the person running the account should attempt to ramp up the ad CTR by any means necessary respectful to and in keeping with visitor expectations.

It´s been my experience that it´s really hard to encapsulate the needs of the bulk of searchers in the text of one ad. Many would respond that one needs to try lots of different ad copy in order to measure the results and while experimentation will generate winners and losers, even the best performing ad copy will exclude the needs of many of the site visitors, holding down CTR to a below optimum rate. Also since the promises of the ad copy might be a poor match with the landing page for others, ROI is less than optimum.

I´ve found ShoeMoney´s "arrow ad" strategy to be perfect for maxing out ad CTR in practically any vertical. I don´t recall any situation I´ve been in where the arrow ads had less CTR than "conventional" PPC ads and similarly, "arrow ad" ROI has exceeded any other ad text alternative. Google bolds PPC ad text that matches the user query and ads that have the maximum bolded text (especially in this recognizable shape) are more likely to be clicked by searchers. Furthermore, I rarely see a poor or even average quality score with an "arrow ad" in any one of my campaigns (7 is the most prevalent number).

I think there is a very powerful psychology with the "arrow ads" that causes them to perform well. A typical PPC ad is written to be memorable to the searcher…to convince…to cajole…to offer an expectation that is hopefully met by the landing page. Setting up a visitor thusly offers an increased chance for disappointment since even the best written ad can´t encapsulate the needs and expectations of all. "Arrow Ads" are designed to be the ultimate conduit between the keyword and the landing page…generally offering just the searcher´s keywords plus a minimal amount of frequently banal descriptive modifying text. A decent percentage of these ads are rendered as ungrammatical gobblygook. However, I´ll argue against conventional wisdom and say that´s not a bad thing but actually quite positive.

A prospect coming from an "arrow ad" doesn´t carry with them the same expectations as one coming from a conventional PPC ad. Their mind is more open to suggestion and if the landing page is compelling, any preconceived notions normally generated from a typical ad won´t get in the way of the conversion process. The visitor will attempt to complete the mapping of his / her searched term that began with the query, furthered by the ad copy, and completed by the landing page. The perfectly written arrow ad is so neutral in tone and content that it will be immediately forgotten by the visitor after the click is made. Such perfectly seamless ads make the journey between the keyword and landing page closer and more smooth…hence, higher CTR and ROI naturally results.

The wonder nature of maxed-out dynamic keyword insertion (besides its increased performance) is that it makes ad copy testing somewhat redundant (though different DKI options can and should be tested). The ad automatically morphs to the individual needs of each relevant searcher. You can spend extra time on your keyword research or your landing pages instead of futilely brainstorming new ideas for ad text.


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