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6 Tips for Writing Ad Copy at Scale

Internet Marketing Blog by WordStream
6 Tips for Writing Ad Copy at Scale

So here you are, staring at a million empty cells on an Excel spreadsheet, brainstorming your best calls to action, aka CTA’s and your catchiest taglines; you’ve got your best keywords sticky-noted to the computer screen as you write. We see you, writing ad copy is a little intimidating. Writing ad copy at scale? Even scarier.

You might find yourself here because you’re building out a new account, creating a new campaign, or just editing your existing ads after Google has introduced its newest and shiniest ad type, like responsive search ads.

Whatever it may be, sitting and waiting for a creative epiphany and attempting to channel your inner advertising visionary genius can be frustrating, to say the least. On top of that, it’s crucial to stay on your toes as Google constantly updates the details of its ad capabilities and features; it’s a lot to keep up with. That’s why we’ve outlined our best tips for writing paid search ads at scale, so you can take a deep breath and feel a little more confident in your quest to conquer the beast that goes by the name of PPC advertising.

1. Stop! Close that spreadsheet! Research! Before anything else!

For a lot of people, doing your ad copywriting research might mean googling best practices. This isn’t necessarily bad practice, but it’s not the only research you should be doing. In reality, ad copy best practices aren’t one-size-fits-all. The most successful CTA’s for one industry or company may not be best for your business. So, how do you overcome that, you ask?


Start searching the way you would imagine your target market searches for you. See how your competitors are baiting them in, and start to identify ways to infiltrate that space. Your process should start with some strong keyword research. You can’t successfully write an ad for your target market without at least showing up when they’re searching for you! Figure out what keywords are important for your business to include in ad copy so you can get in front of your most worthwhile audience. Trying to see things from a prospect’s perspective within your buyer’s journey will do wonders for your ability to match their intent and drive engagement with your ad.

Here’s a guide to getting started with keyword research, and here are some of our favorite competitive keyword research tools.

This research also helps you better understand your target market, and can assist you in nailing down some solid buyer personas even further. What’s your target audience searching for? How are they wording it? What are the most common keywords? Who are your PPC competitors? We’ll talk more about that a little later, but standing in your potential customers’ shoes before any cells on the Excel sheet get filled in is the ultimate goal here.

2. Organize yourself before you start

I know, I know, I said I was offering tips for writing ad copy at scale, but that research advice is pretty standard with any amount of ads you’re writing, so hold tight, and also, you’re welcome. Here’s where the tips are a little more technical/process oriented.

I start by organizing a spreadsheet (those empty cells I keep referencing) and filling in the ad group and campaign columns before anything else. The ad group includes the keywords I’m optimizing for, so including them within the headlines is crucial to matching search query intent and gaining exposure.

Here’s what the organization of the process looks like, from a spreadsheet to a live ad on the world wide web! They grow up so fast.


3. Make multiple variations within each ad group

Creating a few different variations for each ad group you’re writing for is your best bet. This way, you can measure the success of them against each other, and yes I’m gonna say it again, gain a better understanding of your audience and their behavior.

If that doesn’t convince you, consider how creating multiple variations for the same ad also broadens your reach. Some segments of your target audience might be more inclined to click on an ad with a more negative tone, offering a solution to a problem, and some might be more interested in a positive tone that highlights an opportunity.


But what kind of emotional ad will appeal the most to your target audience? The only way to find out: Make. Multiple. Variations.

When you’re writing a few different variations for the same ad group, it’s easy to run out of thesaurus suggestions for your wording. Rather than using a bunch of synonyms in your ad varying efforts, focus more on the tone of your messaging. For example, you could write two ads with a positive tone, and two with a more negative tone. One of each could include a question in the headline, and the others could be more statement-driven. Here’s an example of creating different variations for the same ad:


Notice how they’re all being written for the same AdWords Grader campaign, but using a slightly different messaging and tone. The first and third variations are focused more on appealing to the people searching for guidance on the new platform. They identify a pain point for searchers, and offer support and solutions to those problems that may prompt them to click on the ad. The second and fourth variations are geared towards those who are less emotionally engaged with the AdWords changes, but may still be searching for guidance. The slight variations in wording, perspective, and tone broaden your message and help your ad appeal to the largest and most favorable audience possible.

No matter how blocked you may feel in the creative process, do your best to tackle one ad group at a time. It gets complicated when you jump back and forth between ad groups, and it can also hurt the fluidity of your messaging. If you’re feeling particularly blocked, skipping the descriptions and working on other ad groups is the way to go. You’ll have to refresh your memory when you go back later to write them, but it won’t mess with the flow of your headlines, which are probably the most important parts of your ads.

4. Open all the landing pages your ad will direct clicks to

While you’re writing your ads, have the landing pages they’ll direct people to from the SERPs open in front of you. You might be thinking, “I know everything on the landing page and what it means, I wrote it,” but I’m still recommending it.

When you’re writing ad copy at scale, sometimes all the ad groups mush together in your brain and you start losing the connection between the ad and the specific page it’s bringing people to. With the landing page open, not only do you avoid writing landing page copy that’s irrelevant to the matching ad, but it can help you ensure that the people clicking on the ad know what they’re being directed to, which helps you avoid high bounce rates, low CTR, and brief page visits. Focus on making the customer’s journey from the ad to the landing page as seamless and fluid as possible within the messaging. 

5. Even while diversifying voice, keep your message consistent

Ok, now that you’re all set up and organized in writing your ad copy, let’s talk about the technicalities within the actual messaging. Remember what I said about diversifying your message across variations of the same ad group? Varying with positive/negative tones is good advice, but let’s talk about some alternative ideas to test your ad copy.

If you haven’t already, you should have come across some common pain points for your target market when you were doing your research on keywords, search queries, and customer personas. What is it about your business that improves the lives of your customers? What do you offer to fix, or make easier/more efficient for your customers?

Your value proposition should be highlighted one way or another throughout your ad copy. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes (yes, I said it again) and focus on emphasizing the benefits your business provides them with over the features of your product. Speak to, and offer solutions for, your market’s most common pain points. For example, at WordStream, we’re offering customers the optimization of their online advertising with superior, easy to use software and expert guidance (humble brag). Instead of all of our ads saying “Our Software Can Grade Your Google Ads Account,” they’ll say things like “More Leads for Your Business.” That’s the true end benefit. To make your ads stand out, mirror the customer’s ultimate goal in your copy.

6. Test till you drop

The value of regularly running A/B tests on your PPC ads is impossible to overlook. You can monitor the engagement of one version of an ad directly against another, and gain real, actionable insight into writing more successful ads.

Try testing different CTA’s, tones, wording, verbs, numbers in headlines, questions, capitalization of certain letters; the limit does not exist! I know sometimes it’s hard to imagine that little tweaks in the wording would make any significant difference in engagement, but they really can.


In the end, there are no rules here; test whatever you think is worth testing. By regularly testing them as they roll out for your campaigns, you’ll be able to constantly improve the success of your ads. It’s as simple as:

Write two ads
Run them simultaneously
Check which ad has more favorable metrics (CTR, Conversion Rate, etc.)
Remove the ad with lower performance, replace it with another

So, there you have it! Tips for writing ad copy at scale, from organizing your process to best practices within the detail of your copy; intimidation, be gone! Take your time, do your research, stay organized, follow best practices for the copy, and test, test, test.

4 Facebook Updates to Help You Market Your Local Business

Internet Marketing Blog by WordStream
4 Facebook Updates to Help You Market Your Local Business

With over 80 million small businesses using Pages to engage customers and drive growth, Facebook has become an indispensable resource for local advertisers.

1.6 billion people use Facebook to connect with small businesses, and the majority of these users visit their favorite businesses’ Pages on a weekly basis.


Via Search Engine Land

And while pay-per-click platforms like Google Ads offer a number of tools to help the little guy grow, Facebook wields a huge advantage: the ability to directly communicate with eager prospects and loyal customers alike.

Now, due to popular demand, the social media giant is ramping up its local business game with a suite of changes and updates. Let’s look at each one in turn.

1. Letting Visitors Take Action on Your Page

Whether you’re creating a landing page form or building a website, a core principle of online marketing is making the consumer exert the least effort possible. The less your prospect has to do, the happier she is. The same logic applies to your business Page.

That’s why Facebook is making super easy for the users who visit your Page to take immediate action. Whether you sling pizzas, offer luxury massages, or both—Pizza & Pamper would be incredible—you can enable consumers to convert as soon as they land on your Page.


Via Facebook

Facebook is especially focused on local businesses that sell tickets to events. Every month, 700 million consumers use Events when looking for something to do in their neighborhoods. To help your business drive more sales, Facebook is now enabling you to sell tickets directly through the platform. No longer will your business lose prospects who don’t make the transition from your Event to your website.

2. Encouraging Customers to Do the Selling For You

When someone is in the market for a cup of coffee or a new pair of slacks, he’s inclined to ask friends and family for their suggestions. Facebook tapped into the influence of social circles with the introduction of Recommendations.

The original idea: a user can indicate that he’s looking for Recommendations when posting a status. Then, when his friends comment with their ideas, Facebook populates the comments with names, locations, and reviews of relevant local businesses.


Via Facebook

That’s still around. And now, Facebook users can post Recommendations—complete with text, images, and tags—directly on your Page. Essentially, Facebook is enabling your most enthusiastic customers to post testimonials for all your prospects to see.


Via Facebook

And don’t worry—the platform will make sure your competitors aren’t undermining your business with negative reviews.

3. Giving Visitors an Inside Look into Your Business

As emphasized in our recent blog posts, social media is trending toward Stories. Between Facebook and Instagram alone, over half a billion people use Stories to provide friends and followers with immersive visual updates.

Stories are a stellar way for your business to give Page visitors a behind-the-scenes look at your daily operations. Consumers love their local businesses because they contribute to a sense of community and togetherness. You can take this one step further by using Stories to develop a personable, community-oriented brand.

Plus, talk about ease of use: all a visitor needs to do in order to experience your local brand Story is click on your Page profile image.

4. Making it Easy for Consumers to Find You

This is the part I find most exciting. Mobile Facebook users have access to a section of the app titled “Local.” Here, nearby consumers will find tons of information about your business: location, hours, ratings, reviews, and friends’ Recommendations. Of course, users can also click through to your Page to find all the same stuff and more.


Via Facebook

There’s a Facebook Local app, too. Based on a user’s location, she’ll find everything she needs to know about local businesses, upcoming events, places her friends have gone, and the like.

As consumers spend more time on mobile—and dedicate more mobile time to social media—it becomes increasingly crucial for your business to cultivate a friendly, engaging Facebook Page. By taking advantage of Actions, posting Stories, encouraging Recommendations, and cementing your presence in the Local section and app, you’re setting your business up for success in an era of immediate consumption via digital platforms.

SearchCap: Ask an SMXpert, Google update fully rolled out, paid search campaigns & more

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing
SearchCap: Ask an SMXpert, Google update fully rolled out, paid search campaigns & more

SearchCap: Ask an SMXpert, Google update fully rolled out, paid search campaigns & more
Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

SearchCap: SMX East early bird rate ends soon, better reporting in Google Search Console & more

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing
SearchCap: SMX East early bird rate ends soon, better reporting in Google Search Console & more

SearchCap: SMX East early bird rate ends soon, better reporting in Google Search Console & more
Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

How to Score True Social Media Automation #SEMrushchat with Craig Campbell

SEMrush blog
How to Score True Social Media Automation #SEMrushchat with Craig Campbell

How to Score True Social Media Automation #SEMrushchat with Craig Campbell

A lot of people argue that automation takes the “social” out of social media and defeats the whole purpose of human engagement. We brought on board Craig Campbell to discuss the pros and cons of social media automation, how it affects your engagement, and the factors on which to base your automation decisions. Here is what Craig and our other chat participants had to say:

The Death of & What it Means for Your Display Campaigns

Internet Marketing Blog by WordStream
The Death of & What it Means for Your Display Campaigns

This week, Google sent out an email that caused a stir among SEMs with clients whose accounts contain at least one GDN campaign. The gist? The long-running workaround for excluding mobile apps en masse—adding as a placement exclusion—is being killed off in September.

Case in point…here’s one reaction I saw on Linkedin:

response to google change to adsenseformobileapps placement

Like I said, visceral responses abound.

Some see Google’s outreach email, particularly the statement, “you may see a significant increase in mobile apps or mobile web traffic,” as laying the foundation for a cash grab. 

Here’s everything you need to know about why this is happening.

So, Uh, What’s Happening?

Per Google, “In September 2018, the exclusion and the GMob mobile app non-interstitial exclusion will no longer be available within Google Ads.” Other content exclusions (Embedded videos, In-video, Below-the-fold, ect) will continue to work just fine, and the GDN will still have functionality to opt in/out of devices without the use of a -100% bid adjustment like we’d have in a search campaign.

old adwords ui adsenseformobileapps

Why is Google eliminating a tried-and-true workaround?

“Simplicity,” of course. 

This change will make it easier to serve ads to the ever-growing subset of humanity spending their web browsing hours on mobile devices. And, yes, it could mean more bad clicks in your Display campaigns.

In reality, many advertisers didn’t know about the placement and have undoubtedly spent a ton of advertising dollars serving Display creative to fat-thumbing app-users. And even those of us who do know about managing and excluding mediocre (or junk) placements inevitably spend dollars on ones that don’t convert; it’s an inherent risk of advertising in spaces where search intent doesn’t rule the roost, and it’s why the clicks are so darn cheap.

Newsflash: managing placements—that is, excluding based on performance and other, squishy factors like brand alignment or, say, general morality—is extremely important. It’s akin to adding negative keywords to your search campaigns (and we all do that, right?). Is this change a minor annoyance? Sure, for some. But in a channel with millions of websites and hundreds of thousands of apps, diligence, good creative, and thoughtful audience creation—not a single placement—are the keys to success, and the death of isn’t going to change that! 

It’s just going to make it a lot more difficult to eliminate riffraff.

With that, here’s how you can exclude all mobile apps in Google Ads (for the next 30 days or so at least).

Excluding Mobile App Placements in Google Ads

This is a two-step process, the first of which is pretttttty obvious.

You’ll need to head to the placement tab, then to exclusions:

google ads exclusions tab

Simply check the box next to, then hit “remove.”

(Note that if the placement lives in a list of exclusions, you’ll need to remove it from there instead of at the campaign level)

Next, go to your campaign settings and click “additional settings.”

additional settings google ads campaign

Here, you’ll want to navigate down to “Devices.” If it says “Show on All Devices,” you’re gonna have a bad time (and by that, I mean your Display ads will serve on mobile apps). To rectify this situation, click the radio button next to “set specific targeting for devices”

google ads select device placements

This will open a menu that breaks devices into three subsets: computers, mobile, and tablet.

google ads set specific targeting for device

If you only want to serve your ads on the mobile web, uncheck “mobile app” and “mobile app interstitial.” Ditto for tablet.

Annnnnd you’re done (for now)

This change, which I initially read as “great, Google’s killing off an exclusion that should never have been necessary,” looks to be the exact opposite and could, in fact, make mobile apps more difficult to avoid [insert my very own LinkedIn ragepost here]. We’ll update once we have more clarification from Google.

SearchCap: Google update still rolling out, Bing adds hotel booking, page speed performance & more

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing
SearchCap: Google update still rolling out, Bing adds hotel booking, page speed performance & more

SearchCap: Google update still rolling out, Bing adds hotel booking, page speed performance & more
Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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