User behavior on your website changes frequently. This same theory applies to your PPC ads as well. Not only does Google frequently change how we need to work, but testing new ad formats will give you the data you need to find out what connects with your target audience. Using the tactics I recommend below will help boost the CTR on your ads, thus leading to more qualified traffic to your site.

Add Every Ad Extension Possible

This is the most common and easy way to improve your PPC ads and boost CTR. I’ve already explained this in my Trek Bikes case study, but it’s my favorite example to show.

trek bikes ppc ad

In the image above you can see that we’ve added a lot to the basic ad format Google offers. This Trek ad has a phone extension, a review extension, Google Plus social extension as well as sitelink extensions. They’re not visible in this particular image, but we also had added sitelink descriptions as well as location extensions. Adding all of these extensions helped the CTR’s on the campaigns increase by 28-58%. Google also very recently introduced callout extensions which advertisers should jump on immediately.

Why Should You Care?

Because back in October of 2013, Google came out and directly told people that ad extensions have a direct affect on your ad positions. So if you’re not utilizing them, you are missing a huge opportunity to grow.

Optimize for the Extended Headline

The image above for the Trek Bikes case study also applies to this rule. Back in 2011, Google announced that adding punctuation at the end of the first description line might result in your ad having an extended headline. This means that your first description line could get pulled next to your main headline. Adding that puncuation also has a positive affect on your CTR. The main benefit here is that it allows you to show value instead of focusing on pure keywords. If your ad is positioned high enough to get an extended headline, and your headline and first description line are filled with the same keyword, how strange would that look? This extended headline allows the advertiser to focus on value; which I will talk about later on.

Why Should You Care?

Google does not guarantee that this format will be applied every time, but extended headlines are only offered to the top few ad positions. Focusing on boosting your quality scores to earn higher rankings is always important, but even more necessary in this case to get this ad extension.

Include Special Characters

Is any part of your brand name, or an individual product you sell, trademarked? Is it copyrighted? If so add those symbols to your ads now!

adwords countdown script

The image you see above is when I was working on a local Harley-Davidson® dealership’s website. By adding these to our ads we appeared more authentic, and showed we were selling official merchandise. CTRs increased as well as revenue. We always were selling official merchandise, but now that message was more clear to the user. 

Why Should You Care?

Adding special characters helps you stand out from the competition. Look at this example of 3M products…

special characters adwords ads

Two out of the top three ad positions are using special characters. There are tons of websites out there that sell 3M products, so these users are trying to stand out from the other advertisers. Differentiating yourself from the competition with this method is just another way to boost CTR. Think of any special characters (®, ©, ™, etc.) that could apply to your ads. They will help you stand out as the authority.

Answer the Why? Question

I’m sure it’s fair to say that most PPC advertisers are promoting a business or product that people can easily get somewhere else. From my experience the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to focus less on making sure your keywords are all over your ads and focus more on telling the user why they should click your ad. Here are some great examples…

grill covers ppc ad                  blinds ppc ad

Both websites are giving a value proposition to the user. With the grill covers ads, they’re telling their users that they offer long warranties on their product. In the main description you also see them talk about the many sizes they offer. Select Blinds mentioned that they not only have blinds as low as $9.98, but they also have free upgrades available.  They even toss in a percent off message in the description. What don’t you see here? A ton of search query ad stuffing. This value message easily ties into extended headlines. Showcasing why is becoming more important than showcasing what.

Why Should You Care?

This can have a massive positive affect on your CTR because you are already offering some sort of incentive to the user. Most ads today are trustworthy and relevant. So why should a user click on your ad instead of a different advertiser? This might bring up good internal discussions with your businesses or clients on the value message your brand offers. Do you offer free shipping? If you’re B2B do you respond to RFQs within 24 hours? If so, add those messages to your ads, but most importantly make sure that message is reiterated on the landing page the user sees after they click on the ad. One fluent, valuable message will lead to growing results.

Now Optimize Those Ads

Take these tips you’ve learned and implement them into your ads. Always test new messaging to see what works best with your target audience. You’ll never be done improving, but these optimization tactics will get you better results than before.