Ad Writing 101: How to Write and Test Great Ads

Ad Writing 101: How to Write and Test Great Ads

Tips and advice for writing and testing PPC ads

Ad writing and testing can increase your website traffic and leads

Ad writing and testing can increase your website traffic and leads

Ad writing is one of the best activities that you can do to increase profits.  Ad writing and testing allows you to 1) increase website traffic2) bring you more leads and sales, and 3) learn about your customers’ wants and needs.


Ad writing is primarily a creative endeavor, while ad testing is mainly a scientific one. The data provided on ad performance allows you to try new messages, evaluate performance, and write better messages in the future.

How to Write Good Ads

Ad Writing 101PPC ads have 4 elements: headlines, body text, display url, and destination url. Each element contributes towards  a search engine user seeing your ad and wanting to click it and come to your website.


1. Headline: The headline’s purpose is to get the person’s attention. It can be catchy, creative, and use the keyword phrase that they searched for.

2. Body lines #1-2: The goal of the body text is to focus on benefits (price, quality, speed, friendliness, etc) that the person will receive from your service, to set clear expectations for their website visit, and to call them to act in some way (download something, call you, fill out a form, etc).

3. Display URL: The display url shows the name of the site they will go to when they click. Having a good site name (Ex: can help them trust your site and click.

4. Destination URL: The destination url is where the person goes upon clicking the ad. You can send them to a direct action page, an informative page, your home page, or to a page that you designed specifically for the ad or keyword that was searched for.

How to Test Ads

While we assume our ads will always perform well, we may be surprised to see ads perform extremely well or completely flop. Ads that perform well can give us clues as to what your customers care about. On the other hand, ads that stink either 1) have few clicks, meaning the ad wasn’t interesting or appealing, or the ad position was too low to gain visibility or 2) have low conversion rates (few visitors became leads), meaning the ad didn’t prepare the clicker to act well enough or sent them to a poor landing page.
Ad testing is where the science aspect comes into play. As time goes by, your ads display for keyword searches and accumulate performance data on clicks and conversions (leads). The data you find will tell you which ads were/weren’t successful and give you clues as to why. You will then be able to refine your ads based on what you learned.


You can split test ads by showing ads a certain percentage of searches. Here are some common options for testing.

There are many ways to test different ad messages

There are many ways to test different ad messages

1. A/B 50:50 Split Test: Divide the searches evenly between two ads.

2. A/B 80:20 Split Test: Divide the searches unevenly between two ads. If you are conservative, put your new ad on 20% and the proven ad on 80%. If you are more daring, use the old ad 20% of the time and the new, unproven ad 80% of the time.

3. A, then B: With some industries that have low search volume, it can take a long time to run split tests and determine a winner based on statistically significant data. To speed this up, run one ad at a time. This is more risky, but you can get data twice as fast and determine an ad’s value in less time.

4. A/B/C 50:25:25: You can run 3 ads simultaneously. This is best for testing different messages in environments with lots of searches where you can get enough data to declare winners quickly.

5. Don’t replace all ads at once. This is very risky as your new ads may perform poorly and bring your whole account performance down.


Ad creation and testing is one of the most profitable and informative activities in PPC management. Spending time writing and testing ads will help you learn more about your customers’ wants and needs and increase your website traffic and leads.


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