Anatomy of a Successful PPC Ad

So much technical work goes into your online marketing that you may get lost in the minutiae. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that creative advertising still matters.

A great example: ad copywriting, which plays a crucial factor in your company’s success. Nowhere is this more evident than in PPC advertising, where you have little time to capture the attention of a potential customer.

Stop dwelling on “audience targeting” and all of the technical settings you can use. It’s far more important to write ad copy that resonates with your customers.

Understanding the elements of a successful PPC ad include will:

  • Maximize profitability
  • Increase market share
  • Make more money
  • Decrease your cost per acquisition.

There are five important PPC ad copy elements that will affect your prospects’ decision to take action and click through on your ad, and then once on your page to convert to a customer.

1. Perceived Value

Your potential visitor is looking for a “solution” to their pain points. In fact, customers care about solving their problem, not necessarily buying your product. You must convince them that you will solve those pain points (support, new products, and services).

Saving money is a huge perceived value. Everyone wants to save money by finding a cheap way to solve their problem (or even better, solve the problem free of cost!). Your ad copy should emphasize what problem you’ll be solving for the user.

2. Risk

While your customers want to solve their problem, they also want to guard against the risk of wasting time and money. This is why “risk reversal” is such an important element of your ad copy.

To help users guard against risk, you must convince them of the value of clicking on your ad and not wasting time by getting suckered in to something that doesn’t work for them.

At every step of the way, you want to reduce the friction of taking the next step. Convince users of the value of clicking on your ad, and you will get more relevant visitors.

You also want to help users guard against wasting their money by emphasizing free or low cost entry points. A good example is “Free Quote,” which is one of the most established calls to action on PPC ads. For the user, there’s no risk in a free sign up that’s quick and easy, so why not sign up? Not only does this increase clicks, but it significantly increases conversions. You’re saying that “all I want to do is tell you what it will take to solve your problem.”

3. Credibility

Credibility is always at the top of your customers’ minds. Your customers want to guard against risk by choosing someone they know and trust. This is why branding is such an important investment for your business’s long term success. The best way to instill a sense of confidence and trust is by making users feel like they know you and like you.

For example, you may want to mention a trusted brand associated with your business, such as mentioning a prestigious award. (This sort of credibility builder is one of the most successful tactics in various scenarios. For example, saying someone is a “Pulitzer Prize-winning author…” or “Nobel Prize-winning scientist” is a great way to gain instant credibility.

You could take a more aggressive approach by directly touting your track record, such as saying that you “Generate X number of dollars for Y number of clients” or saying that a specific product has been sold to “X number of happy customers.”

4. Call To Action

Your ad and landing page is your ultimate salesperson. So your ad and your landing page better have a compelling call to action that is quick to the point.

Your prospects don’t have much time, need quick answers and are clicking to new pages every few seconds. So you have to get to the point before they look elsewhere.

Often times, it’s as simple as asking someone to take action right away. So don’t be shy; shy salespeople don’t close the deal! However, make sure you are professional.

Don’t be too pushy. (Don’t use ALL CAPS LIKE THIS BECAUSE IT’S OBNOXIOUS!) Provide enough value to close the deal without being the used car salesman. Often, this is something as simple as “Buy Now”, or “Order Online & Save” in your ad copy.

On the landing page, many people make the mistake of putting as much information on the page as possible. Your goal is to make the value proposition clear and simple, and tell the customer what to do by making the “Buy Now” button standout and clear.

5. Qualifiers

Often times, you will be bidding on keywords that are a bit broad. Some of the people searching are your target market, and others aren’t.

Additionally, you might be positioned to take only a small portion of your market. For example, you may be focusing on providing lower prices (competing on cost), or on better service (competing on value), or on a specific sub-segment of the market (e.g., moms, kids, college students, higher net worth individuals).

Most business owners are afraid of “not talking to everyone”. So they will not tell a prospect how much their product costs, or who is their ideal customer. This is BAD.

By using language that resonates with your target audience, you will simultaneously stop wasting money on clicks from people who won’t convert, while increasing the ad’s relevance in the eyes of your true target audience. By putting in a qualifier, you spend less and make more, so don’t be afraid to get specific!


Once you optimize for these five elements, you will be amazed at the clarity of your PPC ads. In turn, this will help you optimize the messaging on your landing page, as well as your other marketing channels. Your ad copy will lay the foundation for a marketing strategy that helps you better connect with your audience and ultimately help you make more sales faster.

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