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[Discussion] What makes an effective ad?

Community Manager
# 1
Community Manager

Hi Community,


We're going to kick off our weekly best practice sharing series! As you probably know, we have free AdWords courses that we offer within our Help Center. They're great resources, especially if you're new to AdWords and online marketing.


We're going to start a weekly quiz series where we ask a question that can be answered through one of our courses. This week's question is from Online Marketing 201.


Question of the week:

What makes an effective ad?


Anyone can answer (you don't have to have taken the course) - so let's see who can get the most stars for their response!


Get posting below!

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: [Discussion] What makes an effective ad?

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
I'd say don't use dynamic keyword insertion, because you get an ad jackpot. Meaning you and the 6 others on the page are all using Dynamic Keyword insertion, therefore all have the same ad title and nothing sets you apart.

Second, questions based of the vertical you are advertising in seem to be very effective. e.g. "Doing Some Remodeling?" or even fun titles that make fun of a hard situation like "Accidents Happen"

Third, I always try and end the top line with a punctuation to get extra exposure for a ad title and intentionally capitalize all the words in the Ad and use "&" instead of "and"

Finally, make great use of all the extensions. this could double or triple the size of your ad to take us more space on the screen!
Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author KathleenG
September 2015

Re: [Discussion] What makes an effective ad?

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

An effective ad is the one that –


Is straight-forward, simple, and concise – Yes, if you are making use all the available character limits, it does not mean your ad is effective enough. What matters the most is your advertising message that you want your target audience to read. So, keep it as simple and specific as possible.


Makes a balance of keywords and message – Yes, it’s good to have your main keyword in the ad’s headline, but you should not tend to overuse it for the sole purpose of increasing ad relevance and eventually QS. Remember, even if you score better on ad relevance by including multiple instances of the same keywords, your CTR would be lower. Yes, nobody cares to click on an ad that has nothing but keywords.  It, in return, would decrease of your QS dramatically and your cost would be higher than the usual. So, make a balance of keywords and your actual message. 


Includes competitive advantages – An ad that includes offers, discounts, brand’s USPs and other competitive aspects are more likely to be clicked by potential customers.


Includes Call-To-Action – Yes, you should ask your potential customers to take action on your ads, and do not forget to tell them why? A few examples can be – ask for a free quote, grab this offer, order now, place your order now, contact us today etc.


Is accompanied with suitable ad formats – Including various ad extensions enhances ads, increases their visibility and increases their likelyhood of being placed at higher positions.


Bonus tips –


An effective AdWords ad is the one that -


Is written not only for clicks, but for conversion goals – Let’s take a practical scenario.  Alex sells camera strips online and he is currently running an offer for 70% discount on all products if the total cart value is equal to or more than $150. He writes the following ad –


Buy Camera Strap Online
Mega Sale, 70% off on everything.
Free Shipping, Order Now.


Running this ad for a week he finds an increase of 300% in his CTR, 1.5% to 4.5%, but his actual number of conversions is still the same. One more thing, his GA reports that he had an increase of 30% in bounce rate in the previous week. Why???


Explanation– Alex got this increase in CTR because his ad talks of 70% discount on everything. It, of course, is a very lucrative offer for someone who is looking to buy a camera strap. But the actual story on the website is different here. One needs to buy several straps to be eligible for this offer. Considering he is a retail business and his average product cost is $15, very few people would be interested in buying more than one or two straps at one go. Hence, the actual problem for this ad failing would be – a mismatch in information between the ad and the website. If he made it clear in the ad itself that the minimum cart value should be $150, he would not have paid for those clicks.


Talks customers language: Yes, it’s not just about the language your ads are written in, but also about the way your potential customers speak and write. For instance, for a business that sells t-shirts for 18 to 30 years of age group, their ad should include the words like funky tshirts, cool tshirt, party tshirt etc. Because these are the terms this age group of people usually make their searches with.


In other words, write ads that are easily understandable and include terms that are more likely to be searched by your target audience. 


Above all, be focused to get more on relevant clicks from your potential customers, but do not get obsessed with clicks themselves. Do not forget to be inline with your actual advertising goals at every step of your optimization.


Write your ad as if you are giving an opening pitch to a potential customer who has already shown an qualified interest in the products/services you sell, but you have only 95 characters to get him/her listen more to you.  


Ratan Jha



Re: [Discussion] What makes an effective ad?

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
For me, an effective ad should be an short overview of the landing page where a user is going to land after clicking the ad.

It should have all the possible aspects of the landing page like discounts, price, products model(if in case it is a particular model), some features if possible to accommodate within the limited characters.


Re: [Discussion] What makes an effective ad?

Community Manager
# 5
Community Manager

Kudos to Ratan for getting the most stars on his fantastic, well explained answer!


@Ratan-Jha - Kudos for answer of the week!


Check out this week's question: What are your favorite tools and tips for monitoring the performance of your ads?



Re: [Discussion] What makes an effective ad?

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 6
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆



I'm sure all of you have seen this tons of time:




From creative side, I thought a stand-out ad is more important to grab people's eyes. But just do it while keeping it on the "goal" trail.


Here is some of the approaches you might like to check in your copy, and with great fun:


  • Dynamic keyword insertion
  • Irregular punctuation
  • Use all the ad space
  • Use little ad space
  • Display a subdomain
  • Display a subfolder
  • Use quotation marks
  • Ask a Question
  • Use unique selling propositions
  • Do the opposite of competition
  • Make offers time sensitive
  • Add seasonal ad copy
  • Add a short testimonial
  • Use social proof
  • Add a call to action
  • Use pricing in the ad
  • Add a discount
  • Use reverse headlines (e.g. Don’t Do This)
  • Be funny or silly
  • Use a scary tone
  • Make your ad rhyme
  • Use alliteration
  • Use copyright or Trademark symbols
  • Mention the benefits of using you
  • Add the word “Recommended”
  • Explain you are the official site


Be a PPC expert, and be a content marketers in the meanwhile. Why? Because so much of the success and failure of PPC marketing relies on the creativity of your ads.




Re: [Discussion] What makes an effective ad?

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 7
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
Effective ads should be concise and in a simple format, void of strange vocabularies and should be in a grammatical formation