9 Generic PPC Ad Copy Tests to Boost CTR

Let’s assume that you have some pretty good PPC ad copy in place.

The ROI is good, you’re always working on keyword management, bid levels, & landing pages.  But you are looking for an extra edge.  You know that if you can keep everything else constant, a lift in CTR may help add some extra visits & conversions (and boost Quality Score in Google AdWords).

Let me say right here that ROI is the most important factor in PPC!  (unless you are charged with brand building).

While I am talking about boosting CTR in this post, my answer to the questions – “What is a good CTR?” and “What are industry-standard average CTR’s?” – is always:

“It doesn’t matter.  I can always get you a higher CTR by adding in the word ‘free’.  Would that make sense if you lost money?”

That said, here are some ideas for ad copy tests that keep the same message intact, but offer some variety that may be more eye-catching and get that extra CTR your are looking for:

The Control Ad (Traditional)


1. All Title Case

See Joe Vivolo’s post, A Case for Title Case, for some statistics for this one.


2. Exclamation Points

When I first tried this experiment, I guess was disappointed to find out that people really do respond to exclamation points!!!!


3. Dangling Top

You may have to modify a word or two, but you can keep the same message intact and create an ad version where the top description line extends past the bottom description line.


4. Dangling Bottom

Same concept as “Dangling Top” above.


5. Display URL in Title Case

Instead of www.komarketingassociates.com (all lower case), I have capitalized the “K”, “M”, & “A”.  This technique can call out your brand a bit.  In cases where your domain actually has some keyword value/keyword association, this Title Case technique can have an even greater impact.


6. Question Mark in Headline

Obviously you only want to try this technique if the question mark does not create too much confusion.  If you are having an internal conversation about whether or not to try this, and some of the people have strong feelings that a question mark just doesn’t make sense, I would encourage them to allow the test to happen because a) you never know what response you will get from users, and b) if someone else on your team wants to try it, obviously someone thinks it works!


7. Mix It Up

Once you have the basic message in place for an ad, try and keep the meaning, but change the words around a bit.  You may come up with a better way of saying the same thing.


(FREE) Extra Credit

Always, always be careful about using the word “free” in ad copy!  It can be the death of your PPC campaign through ROI depletion.

But, “free” always gives you a boost in CTR.  So, if you can still drive the necessary ROI, and use “free” in your copy, then you are sure to achieve a higher quality score than your competitors – this will give you room to play with your bid levels to try and bid less and maintain the same (or better) position on the page (i.e. managing Ad Quality).

8. Free in the Body


9. Free In the Headline


Related Blog Posts:

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— Chris Long, CMO, L-com Global Connectivity

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