Run­ning PPC ads can be extreme­ly prof­itable – or it can be a waste of time.

What makes the dif­fer­ence?

Much of it has to do with your ad text.

Writ­ing great copy for PPC ads is trick­i­er than it might seem at first.

Plat­forms like AdWords give you a lim­it­ed amount of space to catch a searcher’s eye, get them inter­est­ed in your offer, and entice them to click.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there’s no win­ning for­mu­la for writ­ing the per­fect PPC ad (and if there were, every­body would be using it). But there are a num­ber of best prac­tices you can fol­low to make your ad copy stronger.

Here are 10 tips you can apply to the next ad you write.

1. Know What Your Target Market Wants

Lots of busi­ness­es approach ad-writ­ing by talk­ing about them­selves. That’s a nat­ur­al thing to do, and after all, you’re an expert on what makes your com­pa­ny great.

But it’s actu­al­ly the oppo­site of what you should be doing.

Cus­tomers seek you out because they need some­thing, not because they’re curi­ous about your busi­ness.

The best way to get the atten­tion of your tar­get audi­ence is to show them that you under­stand – and can fix – their prob­lems.

Before you start writ­ing, do this exer­cise: put your­self in your ide­al customer’s shoes.

Think about what kind of prob­lem they’re expe­ri­enc­ing, and imag­ine how they’d search for a solu­tion. Then, write your ad copy as a response to that imag­i­nary customer’s needs and search habits.

2. Address Your Audience

Use the words “you” and “your” in your ads.

Speak­ing direct­ly to your audi­ence makes them feel impor­tant, and it cre­ates the sense that your busi­ness is per­son­able – you want to cre­ate a friend­ly and help­ful rela­tion­ship with cus­tomers right off the bat.

3. Use Emotional Triggers to Your Advantage

What’s the worst thing an ad can be? If you said bor­ing, you’re right.

A bad PPC ad is com­plete­ly unmem­o­rable. It might be inof­fen­sive and even well-put-togeth­er, but if no one ever feels intrigued or moved enough to click on it, why even both­er pub­lish­ing it?

You can avoid the fate of bor­ing ads by choos­ing your words care­ful­ly and mak­ing your audi­ence feel some­thing. If you know what your tar­get mar­ket wants, this shouldn’t be too dif­fi­cult.

Zero in on the core prob­lem or desire that brings cus­tomers to you, and brain­storm some ways to play up the emo­tion con­tained in it.

Neg­a­tive feel­ings can actu­al­ly be bet­ter stim­uli than pos­i­tive ones, since peo­ple are moti­vat­ed to avoid pain, so don’t be afraid to lever­age your audience’s anx­i­ety, anger, or FOMO (fear of miss­ing out).

Some more pos­i­tive emo­tions you can use to dri­ve results include hope­ful­ness, relief, and the feel­ing of being liked or admired by oth­ers.

4. Use Numbers

If you want to draw more eyes to your ads, try adding a num­ber or two.

Fig­ures and sta­tis­tics have a way of get­ting people’s atten­tion and have proven to increase CTR.

One way to use num­bers is to name your product’s price or adver­tise a sale.

You can also try fea­tur­ing a numer­i­cal sta­tis­tic about your busi­ness, such as the num­ber of cus­tomers you’ve helped.

Use exact num­bers instead of round num­bers, since peo­ple tend to trust exact num­bers more.

5. Remove Objections

Most peo­ple need a lit­tle con­vinc­ing before they click on an ad or make a pur­chase.

Come up with a few com­mon objec­tions to your ser­vice or sell­ing points, and address those pre­emp­tive­ly in your ad copy.

If you remove your audience’s excus­es for not click­ing before they even think of them, they’ll imme­di­ate­ly feel more at ease with your busi­ness – and more like­ly to take you up on your offer.

6. Use All Your Space

Google AdWords gives you two 30-char­ac­ter head­lines plus an 80-char­ac­ter descrip­tion.

Max­i­mize your ad’s pow­er by pack­ing all the infor­ma­tion you can into this space.

If you’re short a few char­ac­ters, see if you can come up with an extra detail or two to include.

Don’t for­get about your dis­play URL and ad exten­sions, either.

Your dis­play URL doesn’t have to match the actu­al URL that your vis­i­tors will land on – its pur­pose is to show peo­ple what kind of page they’ll be tak­en to, so cre­at­ing a cus­tom URL that includes your key­words is a smart move.

Ad exten­sions can be anoth­er valu­able way to get more real estate in search results. Don’t rely on them to car­ry your mes­sage, though, since Google can’t guar­an­tee that your exten­sions will show up every time your ad is run.

7. Emphasize What Makes You Stand Out

Make your ad more intrigu­ing by set­ting your­self apart from your com­peti­tors.

You don’t have much space to pitch your unique sell­ing propo­si­tion to your audi­ence, so try to dis­till it down into a pow­er­ful ker­nel that will make read­ers want to know more.

Some help­ful ques­tions to ask your­self include:

  • What does your busi­ness do bet­ter than or dif­fer­ent­ly from any­one else in the indus­try?
  • Have you won any awards?
  • Are you run­ning any sales or mak­ing any spe­cial offers?
  • What’s unique about your brand’s image?

8. Go Local

Peo­ple like and trust local busi­ness­es over big, face­less nation­al cor­po­ra­tions.

Empha­size your loca­tion in your ads to give peo­ple an approach­able first impres­sion of your busi­ness.

You don’t actu­al­ly have to oper­ate in just one loca­tion to play up a local-busi­ness image, either.

If you have mul­ti­ple loca­tions, cre­ate sep­a­rate PPC cam­paigns to run in dif­fer­ent geo­graph­i­cal areas, and use spe­cif­ic loca­tion-based terms for each cam­paign.

In addi­tion, use local phone num­bers instead of an 800 num­ber in your ads.

9. Use Strong, Creative Calls to Action

Does the phrase “Call now” actu­al­ly make you feel any sense of urgency? Prob­a­bly not.

Instead of resort­ing to worn-out clichés for your calls to action, come up with some­thing that hits home a lit­tle bit more for your audi­ence.

You already know what they want, so high­light that in your call to action.

Kick off your call to action with a strong verb, too – some­thing like “Get,” “Save,” “Build,” or “Join.”

10. Split Test Your PPC Ads Frequently

Reg­u­lar test­ing is one of the surest ways you can make real improve­ments in your ads.

The more data you col­lect, the more pat­terns you’ll start to spot, and the bet­ter you’ll be able to adjust your ad strat­e­gy.

Intu­ition can be sur­pris­ing­ly far off the mark when it comes to what will work in adver­tis­ing, so it’s incred­i­bly impor­tant to base your deci­sions on data rather than guess­work.

Some ideas for split tests you can try include:

  • Plac­ing your call to action in dif­fer­ent loca­tions
  • Com­par­ing dif­fer­ent calls to action
  • Exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent num­bers and sta­tis­tics in your ads
  • Try­ing dif­fer­ent dis­play URLs
  • High­light­ing dif­fer­ent ben­e­fits of your prod­uct or ser­vice

The Takeaway

Writ­ing effec­tive PPC ads is more of an art than a sci­ence.

Even mar­keters with a tal­ent for word­smithing some­times run into writer’s block when try­ing to come up with the per­fect ad text.

The good news?

With patience, prac­tice, and test­ing, you’ll start to write PPC ads more quick­ly and eas­i­ly – and you’ll get real results from them.

Use these best prac­tices as inspi­ra­tion for your next batch of ads, and you might be sur­prised at how pos­i­tive­ly your audi­ence reacts.