We have some policies about writing ads which we follow as a company, based mostly on my own research, experience, personal bias, and stick in the mud opinions. Even so, as a company, we continuously search for ways to improve ad text. Last week we took the opportunity to run some of our own standards by some experts at Google. Some of their replies were enlightening . . .
No Lazy Ads
One of our policies about writing ad text relates to “Lazy Ads.” There really are so many selling points to be made about a client’s products / services, that they simply cannot all be captured in three lines comprised of a total 90 characters. So we generally refer to ads which waste character opportunity space as “Lazy Ads.” You’ve got 35 characters on the description lines, so use them!!
Ok, Just One Lazy Ad
Turns out, for some products, some services, some ad spaces, sometimes . . . lazy ads work! WHAAAT???!!!!! OK, OK, so now we have this new policy about writing ads: Try one Lazy Ad per ad group.
Winning Formats for Display URL’s
There is a lot written about the best use and format for Adwords display URL’s. Our company policy is generally to try to exploit the display URL to the fullest extent of the law. We found out a long time ago that Google doesn’t even enforce it’s lamest of trademark policies for display URL’s so we use and abuse them for anything we can, including calls to action, etc, by formatting them as subdomains.
Example – Old Standard: Visit-Huge-Sale-At.BigJoeTire.com
So, for a recent campaign, our friends at Google recommended a different format for our display URL’s. My response was, “Unless you got stats from your wambo jambo Google database to back this up, don’t mess with us.” Ask and ye shall recieve! They gave us facts based on their database stats! Turns out, subdomains are not the way to go. Too many people mistake them for redirects, and avoid them like the plague. Furthermore, Google has data which indicates that shorter display URL’s most often outperform longer ones.
Example – New Standard: BigJoeTire.com/Sale
Jump Out of The Box
Last week, I had a web designer ask for changes to some of the client’s ads. She recommended that we change the formatting, by adding bold text to words in the description, and that we put the URL in italics, in order to make the “labels” stand out. Luckily, I took the request by phone, even so, it was all I could to do disguise the smirk in my voice. No doubt it was a difficult request to manage. Still, she had the right idea.
Sometimes when we’re buried up to our eyeballs in the wonderful statistics of Adwords, it’s easy to forget that we’re in advertising!! If this is you, then it’s time to JUMP out of the box. Study competitors’ ads, and find a way to stand out. Try something new, something unusual. Sometimes that’s writing a short ad. Sometimes that’s including humor, puns, slang in an ad. Will it work? Maybe it won’t . . . but what if it does? A great ad really can make all the difference, so shake it up!!
Finally, don’t forget the importance of diversifying your ads within each ad group. How often do you finish writing four ads per ad group, then look back on the ads, and see them all blurring together?? You can’t tell where one ends and the next one begins–they all look the same. That’s what we strive to avoid, especially for new setups. People can only guess what is going to work when it comes to ad text, but if you diversify your ads from the outset, then you have a better chance of quickly discovering better ads.