Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM | November 18, 2014

Ad Optimization Practices

The goal of AB split testing ads is to discover which lines of text generate higher click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates (ecommerce, form submissions, etc). I’ve written before about optimizing your ad rotations with AB split testing (part 1, part 2, part 3). Today, I’d like to review a few techniques to try when writing new ad copy to compete against your current set of ads.

Appealing to Emotion

One of the best ways to get people to click on an ad is by making the searcher feel something. This isn’t always easy to do, but the first step in this process is finding out what emotion you are trying to access within your audience. Fear is one of the best – people always like to spend money when they’re scared. For example, let’s say you run a pest exterminator business. You could try an ad like:

Cockroach Exterminator

Don’t Let Them Get Out Of Control.   <– this line is instilling the fear of losing control in its audience

Free Quote & Consult – Call Today!

Let’s try another example… perhaps you run a tree removal company:


Effective Tree Removal

Ominous Tree Looming Over Your Home?  <– this line is instilling fear by the threat of a tree falling on their home

We’ll Take Care Of It – Call Us Today! 

tree removal
Asking a question is one of the easiest and most effective ways to appeal to emotion (e.g. Got Pest Problems?). Ads that appeal to emotion will often stand out over ads that don’t try to hook their audience. You can generate more leads for your business by applying this technique to see if it helps increase your Clickthrough Rate (CTR). As you’ll read in my 3-part series (linked above), finding ads with higher CTR’s will also help improve your quality scores.


Appeal to your Geographic Targeting

This technique only applies to local businesses. If you’re local, then you should definitely try testing it against your current ads if you haven’t already. Let’s say you run a small chain of fitness gyms in Seattle, Washington. You could try something like:


1-on-1 Personal Trainers

Don’t Let Yourself Go This Holiday. <– appeals to the emotion of a person’s insecurity

Best Priced Fitness Coaches In Seattle! <– appeals to people in this geographic setting

personal trainers
Bonus points for applying both strategies! You can see here that we’re taking advantage of two things: the person’s emotions and also their geographic location. A person looking for a gym in Seattle will be significantly more likely to click on a link that says “Seattle Personal Trainers” than they will a link that says “Personal Trainers.” You can also appeal to their emotions of insecurity by reminding them that, if they don’t maintain a gym membership, they will lose their figure that they worked so hard for.


Title Keyword Insertion

Keyword insertion can be a little tricky, and it’s a technique that I get questions about quite frequently. Keyword insertion works by replacing a certain portion of your ad with the keyword that the searcher triggered. For example, let’s say you run a bowling supplies store, and you have an ad group that is advertising for these keywords:

bowling shoes

bowling shirts

bowling balls

bowling gloves

bowling supplies


Let’s say your ad looks something like this:


Quality Bowling Supplies

Get The Best Brands @ The Best Prices.

Free Shipping On Orders Over $100!


Now, let’s say someone types into Google “bowling shoes.” Your keyword, “bowling shoes” is triggered, and your ad shows up. One thing you need to keep in mind is that your ad doesn’t actually have anything written about shoes. Nor does it have anything written about shirts, balls, or gloves. How do we change that? You could split these keywords up into separate ad groups and write separate ads (which, in this specific example, would actually be a very good idea), but let’s say you want to keep them all together. You can try using keyword insertion in the title so that your ad looks like:


{Keyword:Quality Bowling Supplies}

Get The Best Brands @ The Best Prices.

Free Shipping On Orders Over $100!


Recall that keyword insertion works by replacing a certain portion of your ad with the keyword that the searcher triggered. In the case with the person looking up “bowling shoes,” their ad would be custom tailored to show up on their screen as:


Bowling Shoes

Get The Best Brands @ The Best Prices.

Free Shipping On Orders Over $100!

Neat, huh? You can also use it within the description lines or the display URL to show something like “Get The Best Prices On {Keyword:Bowling Supplies}!” But be careful! Many people first learn about keyword insertion and decide to start implementing it everywhere in their ads. You need to look over your keywords and make sure that your keyword insertion makes sense grammatically no matter what keyword gets triggered. For example, if one of your keywords was “buy bowling shoes online,” then you wouldn’t want your keyword insertion to display something like: Get The Best Prices On Buy Bowling Shoes Online!

If you haven’t already, I recommend you read through my 3-part series for ad rotations and AB split testing (part 1, part 2, part 3). Then, work to incorporate some of these techniques into your ad copy.


Happy Advertising!


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