Is Your Ad Copy Out of Sync? A Common AdWords Ad Copy Mistake & How to Fix It

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At Boost CTR we have a team of expert copywriters optimizing ads for a variety of clients, so we see a lot of ads and get a lot of insight into common mistakes advertisers make with their ad copy. There are of course several different types of mistakes that people seem to make pretty consistently, but there’s one very straightforward mistake that seems to consistently “steal conversions” from a number of advertisers:

Their call to action doesn’t match the offer on their landing page.

This seems like a pretty simple error, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t synchronize the call to action in their ad copy with the offer and CTA on their landing pages. This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • You might set up a quick ad copy test where you’re intent on switching up the headline and the call to action is an afterthought
  • Your landing page for that ad group may have changed (through a test, site redesign, etc.) to focus on a different offer
  • You may be trying to accomplish multiple (and likely too many) things with your ad copy or your landing page, leaving the connection between the ad the searcher clicked on and the landing page they wound up visiting to be weaker than it should be

Beyond obvious gaffes where ad copy and landing pages aren’t coordinated (offering a free trial in an ad that drives to a landing page around a white paper), there are frequently more subtle issues such as:

  • Soft Talk, Hard Squeeze – If your ad copy suggests that I should “learn more” that might be an effective call to action, but if you then send me to a landing page with little to know information and either give me a simple form to capture my data or ask me to buy a product on a sparse page you’re likely to be paying for clicks from browsers and then sending them to a page designed for buyers.
  • Where Are the Benefits I Clicked Through For? – Another common mistake is to use one set of benefits in your ad text to entice a click (free shipping, a discount, a specific price) and not make that benefit visible on the page (or worse yet contradict it). A good example of this is an outdated ad with the wrong price in the ad copy: searchers make up their minds about a page very quickly, if they were pulled in by a specific benefit in your call to action (Get free shipping today!) and there’s any doubt about that benefit when they get to your page, there’s a good chance they’ll bounce and find an offer they feel better about.
  • Hard Talk, No Squeeze – Much like calls to action that are softer than their landing pages, if you have a very clear, concise “buy now” type of call to action and then bring people to a landing page with multiple coupon offers, information and reviews around a variety of products, or a number of different conversion options you might be confusing what should be one of your most valuable clicks and keeping them from converting.

Even veteran PPC managers who understand the value of well-aligned ad copy and landing page copy can fall victim to mistakes like the above for a number of reasons. The best way to solve for this is to perform a periodic “alignment audit” – take a look at your list of keywords, your ad copy, and your landing page. Do the messages you’re using sync with each other? Do they speak to the intent of the queries in that group? This is a particularly powerful and important health check to perform with regards to your top spending ads and ad groups.

David Greenbaum

David Greenbaum

David Greenbaum is the CEO of BoostCTR. BoostCTR is an ad text service that guarantees improved ad performance. The platform is like Mechanical Turk for expert pay-per click copywriting: Boost makes it's marketplace of high-quality copywriters available to advertisers risk-free by guaranteeing improved performance.
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  • Vandana

    Important issues often sidelined in trying to increase CTR.

  • Melinda Baldwin

    Although a vital component of effective online adverstising, consistent synchronization is commonly overlooked. As you pointed out, periodic reviews are necessary. In addition, I recommend that online content and ad copy be revisited and analyzed not only at regular intervals, but also before AND after any seasonal or promotional campaigns are activated.

    Thank you for the post.

  • Bryan Watson

    This is a good post–people can often overlook linking the ad copy to the landing page due to character restraints–I know I do sometimes. But this is a huge part of Quality Score. Another thing that stands in the way of us in the PPC industry is representing a client with minimal communication–if they change a sale or a benefit on their landing page, it may be hard as an agency to adjust without proper communication–which is another key component. Good post, and be sure to check out this post by Bethany at PPC Hero. It deals with similar concerns–

  • Tim Coleman

    Good post, I am amazed how many clients I work with who have no clue about landing pages or that we must coordinate the ads to special landing pages for those ads. I had one client burning up their budget and directing all traffic to their home page, shockingly it was an uphill battle to get them to change, now they are spending less, and creating a better experience for those who are clicking their ads – a real win-win situation. Don’t underestimate the power of the simple things with paid search!