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Writing Brilliant PPC Ad Copy in 4 Fun Steps

How to Use Social Media to Help You Write Ad Copy

Writing ad copy for your PPC campaigns can be tough. You’ve already spent so much time researching your keywords and organizing them into campaigns and ad groups and figuring out your budgets and conversion tracking… and now you’ve got to switch gears and come up with creative but to-the-point ad copy that gets clicks…

For our example, let’s say you’re offering “cooking classes”, and that’s your primary keyword phrase.  We all know that when it comes to writing PPC ads, you’re supposed to use your keyword in your ad. So maybe I’d write something like this.

This ad would probably work and it would probably work fine, but I should be testing other ads to try and beat this ‘control’ ad. Sometimes I have a hard time getting creative – so I realized I could turn to social media and let people that are interested in my topic help me write my ad copy. Understanding what other words people use when they’re talking about cooking classes online might give you some ideas to ‘spice’ up your ad copy.

Here’s a simple method for using conversations in social media to help you get the creative juices flowing for your PPC ad copy… and maybe even the creative you use in display campaigns or even Facebook ads.

Step 1. Head over to SocialMention.com

If you don’t already know – SocialMention.com will search for mentions of your keywords in social media, and then tell you all kinds of things about the conversations about that keyword including the OTHER words that people use when talking about your keywords.

So in our example, let’s see what SocialMention will tell us about the conversations people have about “cooking classes”

For our purposes, we’re most interested in the Top Keywords. The list on the left shows us the Top 10 Keywords that people use when talking about “Cooking Classes”. That’s great, but there’s EVEN MORE keywords in the CSV download (right hand side).

Step 1a: Download the Top Keywords CSV

We’ll use the spreadsheet in the next step.

Step 2: Give Yourself a Visual

Numbers are great, and I don’t know about you – but sometimes visualizing keywords helps me put things in perspective and draw conclusions that I may not come up with when I’m just looking at a list. So – let’s turn this keyword data into a keyword cloud. I’m sure there are lots of other tools out there, but I like to use Wordle for this.

Step 2a: Head to http://www.wordle.net/compose/ – in order to get your keyword cloud, you need to give them the keywords & numbers in a specific format

Step 2b: So, open your spreadsheet. A little simple Excel magic will combine your keywords and numbers in the format that Wordle needs (the formula is in cell C2 of the spreadsheet below)

Step 2c: Now all you gotta do is copy and paste column C from your spreadsheet into Wordle

Now just click “Go”

Step 2d: Very important step – make it pretty!

After a couple of Tweaks using the built-in editor, here’s my keyword cloud for words used in social media in conversations about “cooking classes”. I can tell you from experience – clients LOVE these… If only because it helps bring the subject to life and it helps everyone at the table get engaged in the conversation. There’s always a few interesting words in there too – I think I removed all the dirty words. :)

If you ask me – it’s a little more interesting, easy to use and inspiring than SocialMention.com’s visual representation:

Step 3: Analysis – Time to Use Your Brain

Now, use the keyword data to identify a few words to make your ad copy more appealing and attractive to your target audience. There’s no software or formula or spreadsheet trick for this step aside from knowing your product/service and understanding your target audience. The idea here is to zero in on a few words that I could use to improve the appeal of my ad copy to my target audience.

Some word ideas that jump out at me:

  • Chef, Love, Local, Skills, Learn, Easy

Now – by just connecting those words to “cooking classes” and you’re on your way to writing some great ads that I can test!

Step 4: Write Some Great Ads!

Here’s a few examples of ads that I wrote using the above words from social media conversations… I’m not saying these are all going to be winners – but you can see how the research made it easy to riff on some ideas for ad copy.

Highlight Your Uniqueness

Always remember – be specific about your keywords and your offerings and test ads where you highlight features/benefits. You can see from the tag cloud above that there’s also keywords about types of cuisine (Italian, French, etc) and also food & drink keywords like

  • Beer, Wine, Chocolate

If you offer classes that feature pairing/ preparing or sampling food with wine, beer or chocolate then make sure your ad says so. Remember your ad will be competing against competitors cooking classes and you need to highlight what makes yours different or unique. Maybe a little something like this.

Again, I don’t know if these ads will perform any better than the control ad, but that’s the point – you should always be testing. The approach I’ve outlined above is simply a way to get the creativity flowing.

It Works for Other Ad Types Too!

Try these ideas out on Facebook Ads too! And test with lots of pictures. I got a little, uh, creative, Weird ads have a tendency to work on Facebook and I just wanted to see if you’re still paying attention :)

BONUS TIP – This idea doesn’t just apply to PPC ad copy

This process could work for generating content ideas for blog posts or articles, you could apply it to display ads, your landing pages, etc.

You could also use it for a little research & development. See how lots of people are talking about “healthy” cooking classes? If you don’t offfer one already, you could develop a ‘healthy cooking class’. Looking at it that way, all sorts of ideas start jumping out at me – how about you?

Please comment below and let us know what you think!

Ben Lloyd

About Ben Lloyd

Ben Lloyd serves as Principal at Add3 and manages the agency’s Portland office.  Ben got his start in SEM way back in 1999 – when there was like, 15 search engines and Google was barely a thing. Prior to Add3, Ben had founded Amplify Interactive in 2003 (which was acquired by Add3 in 2013), and hasn’t looked back since. Ben likes lots of stuff like golf, pinball, food(ie), booze/beer/wine – in that order, etc. Mostly – he likes doing that stuff with his friends. Ben is also co-founder of SEMpdx. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn