As marketers, we know to add call-to-actions, value propositions, and keywords to our paid search ad copy. Data strongly suggests these techniques work, but there are even more ad writing tactics that may be flying under your radar.

If you’re an AdWords manager whose PPC-stardom is reliant on garnering quality leads for your clients, be sure to take a look at these essential ad copywriting tips before you build another campaign. (Words are powerful, friends.)

1. Answer Readers’ Questions (Mirror User Objectives)

User Ad Objectives



Ads on the SERP aren’t meant to be entertaining (yet?)—they’re meant to provide users with insight and a tangible reason to click. So, ask yourself three main questions when considering how to earn that ad click:

  1. What would I search for if I wanted to [find a local porcupine hairdresser]? (example)
  2. How can I make my ad stand out against other ads for [porcupine haircuts]? (again, just an example)
  3. Will my target audience be likely to visit my [porcupine barber shop] website if I write copy this way? (once again, we in no way offer rodent hair styling services)

Certain phrases may be more enticing in your niche—you’ll find some common advertising language that sparks interest further down this post—so keep that in mind when choosing words. The goal is to attract high-value readers, not those people who have time to kill and a smartphone at their disposal.

2. Ease Users’ Fears (Preemptive Problem Solving)

Value Proposition Ad



You may know you’re the best [whatever] in the business, but how can you show that to potential clients? By alleviating any doubts they may have from the get-go. There are several ways to go about doing this, and they all revolve around your ads focusing on the benefits. Ask yourself these questions when composing your ad copy:

  • Do you offer something that competitors don’t?
  • Are there any discounts available or free services?
  • Can you sign up or request help online?
  • Do you have any endorsements?
  • How can you mention your impeccable customer ratings without sounding arrogant?
  • Are you licensed or certified in your industry?
  • Do you specialize in a particularly uncommon service?
  • Are you the fastest gun in the Wild West?
  • Is your customer service available 24/7?
  • How much money does the typical customer save?
  • Do you offer dedicated account managers or providers?

And don’t just say you’re cheap; lay it all out on the table by giving concrete numbers! If your flat-rate service is $99, put it in the headline or byline. Numbers in PPC ads are easy to understand, making them common calling cards of businesses that perform above and beyond.

3. Vary Your Call-to-Actions (The Spice of Life)

Terms like “call now” and “contact us” are trite, right? Keep your readers from feeling unattended to (and maintain your own sanity) by using various CTAs in your ads. Here are some examples:

  • Start
  • Stop
  • Build
  • Grow
  • Become
  • Learn
  • Join
  • Save
  • Try
  • Send
  • Gain

That’s it. Short and sweet.

4. Use “Your” Words (People are Selfish)

Ads Appeal to Readers



As we said, there are certain words and phrases that are more likely to attract the audience you want, and one of them is “your.” People want to know they’re the center of attention, especially in a growing globalized world and digital marketplace. Since you can’t pull Google users’ names and place them into your ad copy, the next best option is to address them with a simple “you” or “your.”

In addition to “your” and “you,” try and engage the reader’s emotional state. Consider the language that might spur common strong emotions, traits, and states of well-being, such as:

  • Fear
  • Disgust
  • Anger
  • Affirmation
  • Illness
  • Worry
  • Confusion
  • Hope
  • Amusement
  • Love
  • Altruism
  • Relief
  • Intelligence
  • Desperation
  • Inspiration
  • Adventurous

Although I commonly have a strong distaste for provocative clickbait when it comes to blogs, articles, and content in general, emotionally charged words and turns of phrase do have a place in the PPC world. Ugh.

5. Local > Global (Ditch the 800 #s)

Offer products and service all over the world? Great! But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should advertise as such. Most small businesses benefit from ad copy that is locally focused; users’ GEO locations are a strong determining factor of what displays on the SERP. And believe it or not, past data suggests that the use of 800 numbers can be detrimental to your company’s online success.

800 Numbers Ad Copy

Photo: (c/o


To get out of the “should we, shouldn’t we” pickle, set up location-specific AdWords campaigns. When a local user discovers your ad, they’ll see a local number; when someone else finds your ad, the 800 number will pop up. Either way, write for the reader that is most likely to call you—whether that’s someone in town or across the pond. You know you better than we know you.

6. Follow Best Practices (The Boring Stuff)

Get creative with your extended text ad copy, but keep mind that there is a recipe for success that isn’t yet broken (why fix it?). You’ll want to encourage readers to click by offering clean ads that follow these best practices:

  • Keyword-targeted display URLs
  • Optimize extended text ads for conversions
  • Ad extensions can be your BFF if used correctly (location extensions normally equate to higher clickthrough rates, for example)
  • Eliminate irrelevant keywords (negative keywords)
  • Retargeting ads personalized by user’s exit actions
  • Conquest competitors, especially if they’re better positioned on the SERP
  • Track competitor’s keywords, too
  • End ad copy description with punctuation
  • Utilize Google AdWords countdown timers to improve clickthrough and conversion rates
  • Let a professional paid search agency handle your AdWords account

Like anything, writing effective paid ad copy takes plenty of TLC, so be sure to A/B test PPC ads rigorously before deciding on the best course of action. You may learn that the creative copywriter in you gets the better of the analytical side.

If you’re an auto dealership looking to bump up business with a new and robust dealer ad campaign, we can help. As Google Premier Partners and Bing Ads Partners, our paid search specialists have years of experience delivering client success in digital wicker baskets. Grow your online presence by contacting our PPC team today.



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