How to Write Awesome Pay Per Click Ads


The heart of any successful Pay Per Click campaign is using a focused keyword lists. It is absolutely critical that you break down your main keyword lists into smaller lists that are focused around subtopics.

If your ads are not targeted to your keywords (i.e. a general purpose ad on insurance showing up for someone who is searching for car insurance) people might not click on your ads. Worse, if your site does not offer a particular type of product (you’re targeting custom home theater systems when you don’t offer any customisation), all those clicks will be wasted.

And that’s the single biggest problem with most Pay Per Click campaigns (Google AdWords ) – a lack of focus. Start off with a basic list, and then expand it into specific subtopic lists as you refine your campaign.

Pay Per Click Ad Writing Basics

Before you write an ad, you have to remember that in even a low-competition market, your ads are under pressure to perform (that is, your clicks must also convert), or otherwise they will end up costing you money. Because of this you should always write ads with two things in mind:

  1. The ad must persuade the prospect that the page this ad points to will hold the answer to what they are looking for.
  2. The landing page must deliver on what the ad promises, otherwise the clicks will be wasted.

In addition, you also have to ensure that only those people whom you are targeting will click on your ad. Or to put it differently, you want to make sure that you get the clicks that are most likely to convert into buyers.

Identify what You are selling

Make sure you have a clear idea of what you’re selling and how that will tie in with your ad. Choose the keywords that apply to your site, and include them in your ads.

Narrow down your target market

Understand who you are selling to. An excellent example of this is one of Perry Marshall’s recent ads for his book, Guide to Google AdWords. He’s targeting serious business-minded people who are willing to pay for quality products, so he’s made sure that he lists the product price in the ad. Does that help? It will potentially keep out people who are looking for free advice or those who cannot afford the book.

In narrowing your market, you can refine the focus of your target market by writing down who exactly you are selling to. Say, you focused on young adults who led extremely busy lives and wanted an easy, effective and time-saving solution to managing their weight problems.

Use focused keywords to help you create a targeted PPC ad

As explained in the previous section, focus on subtopics rather than ads for the general keyword they convert much better into customers because you are able to direct them exactly to that page that contains the information they are looking for.

Write to persuade like sales writing in a very small space

Sales writing boils down to a simple principle: convincing the reader to take immediate action on what the writer wants them to do (sign up to a list, buy a product, etc). To do this right, you have to first attract their attention (headline), convey the most powerful benefit (first line) and provide a logical justification for taking that action through your most powerful feature (second line).

Template for Writing Successful Ads

Remember the three very important concepts on writing successful ads:

  • Targeted keyword list
  • Focused ads
  • Quality salesmanship

As we breakdown the ad template into 5 separate components, keep these three concepts in mind and see how you can use them to help you write better ads.


Your headline’s main purpose is to attract attention of your target market. By wording it correctly you can avoid “curiosity” clicks, but the best part is that when you start targeting specific keyword sets (subtopics instead of general terms), you can use the headline to target your specific market and thus gain a considerable edge over competitors who are not using targeted keyword lists.

Whenever possible, use your main search terms for that ad group in the headline. The reason for this is that whenever terms in your ad match the searched keywords, they are put in bold by Google. This way your ad automatically attracts more attention. This works better with low-competition terms than for main keywords (where everyone has put the keywords into their headline).

First Line

This is not a “hard and fast” rule, but it has been proven to work effectively. There are two reasons a prospect will most definitely click onto your ad – the benefits and features. The first is an emotional, psychological argument, whereas the second one is factual and logical.

And when it comes to salesmanship, emotional arguments work much better than factual arguments (possibly because facts can be countered by other facts, but emotions area a difficult breed to beat).

But you cannot survive without having both. That’s why you have to find a way to fit them both into the 2 lines you have (70 characters in total).

Stick to your biggest, most powerful benefit in the first line in the ad. This plays on the idea that anyone looking to make such a huge expense would want to seriously research the market and would welcome advice over a sales pitch. No matter what your level of knowledge, the chance to get input from an expert (in this case, free advice) is hard to pass up.

Your benefit will be your best guess on what people are looking for when they search on your main keywords. For example, on high-value items, people tend to shop around before buying, so you want to pull them in with an informational benefit.

Second Line

Put your most important feature in the second line. Provide a free report available for immediate download. In this case, anyone reading that ad knows that the report is short to read (24 pages or less) and that they can start reading it within minutes.

Your feature will be a specific offering that matches your previously stated benefit most closely.

Display URL

This shows the site’s URL it’s simple enough to put your main site url in this line, but by being creative, you can use this space to give ‘extra space’ to the stated benefit or feature.

Use every little space of the ad that you can. You don’t have much of it to start with as it is.

Destination URL

The second line is the actual url where the prospect will be redirected to. Don’t send your traffic to the main page for each type of ad, you’re targeting a different section of the market. Make sure you send them to specially targeted pages (e.g, the download page for the free report).

If you are sending traffic directly to an affiliate’s site, the destination url would be your affiliate page, whereas the display url could be the main address of that site.

Playing “Beat the Control”

One of the most important numbers in your Ad stats is the click-through-rate (CTR). This is one of the major factors that determines the quality score of each keyword, which in turn determines (along with other factors such as bid pricing) the positioning of your ad.

What that means is if you have a high CTR for your ads, you may be able to get our ad in a higher position than a competitor who is bidding more than you, but has a lower CTR. You can, effectively, rank higher than your competition but spend less to get there just by improving your CTR. In competitive markets, this is an edge you should always be fighting for.

A proven system for constantly improving your CTR is to use split-testing a method where you run two alternating ads and after a certain number of clicks (enough to prove that one ad is going to perform better than the other) you discard the ad with the lower CTR and write a new one (making only marginal changes) to try and beat the better performing ad.

You should ideally repeat this process all the time, right from the start of an ad campaign. Write two ads, run them to get enough clicks, establish which ad is the ‘control’ (one that performs best) and then try to “beat the control” by writing better ads.

You shouldn’t be changing too much of the ad during split-testing the purpose is to change around certain sections of your ad and see how small changes can make a difference. Making small changes also allows you to pinpoint the exact change that causes an improvement in CTR, and if you can figure out what takes your CTR higher and what brings it down, you can essentially write class ads from the word go.

Bad Ads, Good Ads

Always remember that when we talk about good and bad ads, we are also talking about the keywords that those ads are targeting and the landing page of that ad.

A bad ad will be unfocused, using a general keyword list and will probably send traffic to the site’s main page. This will first hurt the advertiser’s CTR, and worse, it will hurt their conversions as well. In competitive markets, that means that you will be losing money badly.