PPC Ads: Testing User Reviews to Increase CTR

A wise man named Bryan Eisenberg once told us that robust user reviews and the inclusion of reviews and other user-generated content increases conversions.

Which got me thinking, can we use that dynamic for PPC ads as well?

Yes we can!

Check out the split test below where the new champion crushed the old one by a 202 percent increase in CTR, more than doubling response:


So what were the big differences driving that performance boost? There are only three substantive differences.

1. Claim of Large Selection vs. 1st Line Call to Action

twilight-kanye-west-the-countThe winning ad claims “1000’s of Team Jacob Shirts, Gifts & More” whereas the losing ad starts with “Buy Team Jacob Gifts Today!

In general, the claim of a comprehensive selection is usually better than a non-claim/CTA for the first line, but an overly large selection can also work against you, because nobody wants to sort through thousands of items.

This one is a slight plus for the winning ad, but hardly enough to even “count,” and maybe not even a plus without a supporting phrase in the second line of body copy.

2. The Inclusion of ‘Twilight’ in the URL vs. Base URL

The winning ad changes the displayed URL to include the word “Twilight,” which is obviously related to the key search term “Team Jacob Gifts.”

And while this also could be a slight plus factor for the winning ad, it’s also unlikely to cause a triple-digit impact.

[For all you non-Twi-hards out there (apparently, that’s a real word now), Jacob is one of the Twilight series two leading men, both vying for the heroine’s attention. I had to look it up, I swear!]

3. ‘Made By Fans Just Like You!’ vs. ‘Great T-Shirts, Stickers & More’

Both statements attempt to address the quality of the T-shirts and Twilight goods on sale, but one is a lot more specific and credible. And that’s the one that explicitly talks about the user-generated nature of the T-shirt designs that have been “made by fans just like you.” Now that’s a difference that can drive a huge increase in response.

Simply put, user-reviews and user-input come in lots of forms, and you might be surprised at how many of them could be tested within a PPC ad via phrasings such as:

  • “Highest reviewed”
  • “5-Star Reviewed”
  • “Best-selling”
  • “Customer favorites”
  • “Made w/ Customer Input”
  • “Popular Demand”

I’m sure you can think of better ones for your particular product/service/situation, but any way you slice it, user-reviewed language is well worth testing.

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