Ad Writing 101: Effective Description Lines That Help You Attract The Right Audience
In my previous blog post, I outlined how you can write an effective headline that would grab attention and make people interested in what you have to offer. Today, we will take a deeper dive into how you can write effective descriptions for your Google AdWords ads.
The purpose of any description in your AdWords ads should be to both attract the right audience and deter the wrong audience. Where the focus of each headline is to grab attention, the description needs to be more complex and written with care.
It can be hard to differentiate your headline in AdWords truly due to the few characters you have available, but the description is a place where you have no excuses. The description lines should be used to help you stand out from your competitors and push help the consumer convert.
Some of the best ways to stand out is to use call to actions, USPs and offers that relate to the audience you want to attract. However, before we dive deep into how to write an effective description, it’s important to go through the best practices.
Best Practices to Remember When Writing Descriptions
To Keyword, or Not to Keyword
I would like to begin with stating that including your keyword in your descriptions is less important than you have been led to believe. Not including the keyword is not detrimental from the perspective of Quality Score or conversion rate.
So, don’t get too fixated on writing a description that includes the keyword, but if you can do so, it can be very effective. There isn’t that much space, so we have to be careful with the way we use the space, but if you can include the keyword it can look great.
Check out these examples:
You can see how the example with the direct reference resonates better with you. It somehow feels more personal. However, they can also go horribly wrong and look like this:
Yup, I see this type of ad all the time, and it’s not just About.com or Ebay’s automatic PPC programs that result in ads like these.
Two Individual Lines
This is something I have mentioned for years, but remember that you don’t have one line of ad text. You have two individual lines.
Always think about the format that your ads are being delivered in, and don’t get lost in the way that your ads are being presented when you’re writing it in AdWords Editor or the web interface. Your ad will be seen by thousands, if not millions, so make sure that you take the context into account.
You can sometimes write a great punchline-type ad, but unless you have Ogilvy in your veins, then it will look more like a text message than mesmerizing ad copy.
Scannable, Not a Story
This is directly related to the point above. Try to make your ads scannable instead of writing a story (i.e. sentence). The searcher usually doesn’t go into great depth when reviewing the ads on Google. They scan through the various results, organic and paid, to find the best solution that fits their needs. If the web site doesn’t fit their needs, they hit the back bottom and try again.
If your description is too heavy to read (yes, I know it’s only 70 characters, but it’s all relative), searchers simply won’t read it and then it doesn’t matter how clever or well-written it is.
Here is an example of what I mean by scannable vs story:
Not only can you fit more selling points in your scannable ads, but you also make sure more actually read your ads.
Include a Call-To-Action
This is one of the oldest tips, but it’s effective. A good call-to-action serve two purposes:
1) It ensures that the consumer knows what the purpose behind your website is. If you write an ad that doesn’t mention anything about buying, price, etc. then you can risk people clicking on your ads looking for more information. They never had the intention of buying anything, and they will click out of your store or business website immediately.
And don’t think that this practice is only happening with a minority of elderly people. I’m amazed by my twenty-something friends who do the same thing.
2) A good call-to-action sets the tone for what the user should look to do when they land on your website. If you wrote “Browse our big selection”, the user will look to browse. If you wrote “buy”, they will look for the buy button. No, you can’t manipulate people into buy something they don’t want, but for a lead generation it’s absolutely amazing to align your call-to-action in your ads with the one on your landing pages.
Tips For Making Your Description Stand Out
I think that that’s enough “theory” for now. Let’s get to the actionable tips that you can steal right out of the blog post and implement in your Google AdWords campaigns today.
The following tips have been dissected from thousands of effective ads that we run on a daily basis in White Shark Media®.
Numbers Make Your Ads Stand Out Incredibly Well
Suggested ways to use numbers:
- Pricing: Pricing from $599. From $29 to $59/mo.
- Percentages: 50% off. 25% Savings. Save 62% now!
- Years in business: 32 years in Ft. Lauderdale.
- Amount of customers: Proudly serving 25,000 customers.
- Multiple Locations: 35 stores in Florida.
- Availability: 24/7 support. Serving you from 5am.
Some More Examples:
- 24 years of experience.
- 50% off today!
- 12,032 happy customers. Try us today!
- Over 500 locations.
- Serving Ft. Myers for 50+ years.
Words That Your Audience Associates With Good Things
Are you Licensed, Insured, an Official Partner or Similar?
Any of these areas are great to mention. In certain industries being an official partner (i.e. fake designer bags) or being insured, (i.e. locksmiths) mentioning this will often improve your performance.
Insert Emergency or 24/7 Support if Your Audience Can Relate
This is especially powerful for keywords where the searcher is desperately looking for help. A great tip is also to schedule 24/7 support ads to run during odd hours (i.e. at night) and then run regular ads during the day. 24/7 ads will not be that effective during the day, but at night it will be the only thing your customers will be looking for if they have a broken pipe in their basement!
Awards, Certifications or Recognitions
There are a lot of awards, recognitions and certifications that you can use in your marketing. The more known an award is, the better it will serve to associate your company with positive emotions. The purpose is to borrow the credibility from the other brands to boost your image.
As seen on TV, BBB Rating, ABC Television Shark Tank, Health Magazine, Endorsed by, etc. will all have a positive influence on your performance. This is very similar to awards, but we take it a bit further with these examples. It can literally be anything you can think of that will improve the way a searcher think of your ad.
Use icons whenever relevant: ® or ™. These icons can be used whenever you use your trademark, or others’. Use it. It’s surprisingly efficient.
Tell the user what to do next.
- Call Today
- Call Our Experts
- See more now
- Book online
- Contact Us
- Get Free Quote
- Save Today
- Get Your House Painted by Pros
Promotions Are Always a Sure Success
If your PPC manager has ever asked you for promotions to run in your PPC campaigns, it’s not because they are lazy. It is because they are trying to be more effective. Especially time-sensitive promotions that run over a weekend or similar short intervals are highly effective.
It’s, of course, an area that touches your margins, but if you’re running promotions you have to take the time to include them in your ads. Even if it’s just a short promotion. It works. Trust me.
Examples of description lines:
- 50% Off
- Clearance Sale
- Winter Promotion
- Two Rooms for the Price of One.
- Save $10 today.
- No setup costs right now. Save $40.
- Free overnight shipping this weekend.
Testing Your Description Lines – The Only Way to the Best Descriptions
The best ads I have ever written have come to life after continuous testing. As a summary, you should always remember to test your ads and description lines.
As you can see throughout this blog post, there are a lot of ways you can write an efficient description. I will not act like I can tell you beforehand what works and what doesn’t work. I can tell you that the strategies and ideas presented in this post will be some of the best strategies that you can use, but you still have to test what message performs the best for you.
Keep a List With Minor Changes You Can Test
This is a great tip that I developed a long time ago. It drastically reduced the amount of time I spent on the creative part (coming up with ideas) of ad testing, and allow me to roll out a lot more tests.
Your inspiration is the highest when you’re coming up with ideas for your ads. As you’re writing your ads, keep a list the ideas you have, so the next time you’re writing new ads you have access to good ideas. This might sound like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many PPC managers rely on them coming up with great ads once a week.
Small Words, Big Impact
The first time I truly understood the impact of ad testing was back in 2009. I was working on AdWords campaigns for a unique kids clothing brand. Their clothes were inspired by the 50s, but with modern touches. To be honest, it looked great.
My client had used the wording Classic Kids Clothing throughout their marketing collateral and their website. After a couple of months I initiated a small test. It took me 5 minutes, and I only tested in 3 ad groups (our highest revenue drivers).
Three weeks later, I had 99% statistical significant results. My conversion rate had increased by 102%.
I then understood how important ad testing was and I can today credit much of my PPC success with this early experiment. I now test everything.