5 Reasons Your PPC Ad Copy Needs Improvement

Paid search advertising remains one of the most effective marketing tactics that any e-commerce business can employ. It can also be an exercise in frustration when the results aren’t meeting expectations – not to mention, a colossal waste of money.

While there can be several reasons for a disappointing PPC campaign, the most common reason is that the advertisements themselves just aren’t getting the job done. You can have all the right keywords and all the right placements, but without good ad copy, you just won’t get clicks.

If you aren’t seeing PPC campaign results, take a hard look at your ad copy and see if you’re making any of these mistakes.

1. It’s Problem Focused

When users click on an advertisement, it’s not usually because they want to know more about the problem that they are trying to solve. It’s because they think they have found a solution to a problem that they already have. Therefore, your ad copy shouldn’t focus on the problem, but on the solution.

For example, say you’re selling pest control services. You don’t want your ad to start with something like “Do you have a rodent problem?” or “Need help getting rid of ants?” Users — and you — already know that they have a rodent problem or they want to get rid of the ants. They are searching for a solution — so your ad should say “Solve your rodent problem” or “Get rid of ants,” which will encourage more clicks as the users turn to you for answers.

2. It’s Focused on the Wrong Point of the Sales Funnel

As a marketer, you understand that there are different phases of the buying process, beginning with identifying a need and ending with the actual purchase. It’s important then, that you focus your marketing on different phases of the buying process (also known as the sales cycle or sales funnel) to reach prospects where they are. One effective way to do this is via keyword targeting, but this is where many marketers don’t get things exactly right.


When writing your ad copy, try to match your keywords to specific stages of the sales funnel, and tailor your copy to that phase. More general keywords, like “financial services” or “financial planning,” are best used for ads geared toward early stage buyers, while more specific phrases, like “IRA rollover” should be used in solution focused ads for late-stage buyers. By implementing a keyword-level call tracking system, you can refine this strategy to ensure you’re giving users the ads they need to see at the right time and know which keywords work best.

3. It’s Not Current

News moves at the speed of light these days. The headline that has everyone buzzing on Monday is old news by Wednesday, and all but forgotten by Friday. Everyone wants to feel like they are getting the freshest, most up-to-date information, and the newer something is, the more relevant it is.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to make your ads feel as fresh and current as possible. Use numbers — including the number of customers you’ve served in the last month or year (hey, it works for McDonald’s) or the amount of money you’ve saved your customers recently can be a powerful motivator. Consider this: One tax prep service that included the amount of money it saved customers in the previous month saw their ad clicks increase by more than 200 percent.

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4. It’s Not Personal

People love to feel special. It’s been proven that the best way to get someone’s attention is to use their name, but when it comes to writing ad copy, the most effective word to use is “you.” In other words, you need to focus on the customer’s needs and wants, not yours. Users don’t care that you’ve won awards, or that you are highly rated. They want to know what your company can do for them. Make your ads personal and relevant to your audience, and they will respond.

5. It’s Not Specific

Finally, your ads may not be performing because they aren’t specific. Don’t just say that you have saved customers money — say how much money. Don’t just say that you sell toasters. Be specific about what type of toasters you sell. Research indicates that users are more likely to click on ads that contain the specific keywords that they entered, so use words from specific queries in your ads.

You may not be making all of these mistakes with your PPC ads, but if they aren’t getting results, there’s a good chance you are making at least one of them. Make some changes, test different versions, and fine tune your copy to increase profits and maximize your budget.

Learn more about PPC here.

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