Using Proper Call‑to‑Action In PPC Ads


April 3, 2013

Call-to-Action Success

You’re a paid search manager.  You’ve optimized your campaigns’ settings for efficient use of the budget.  You’ve spent countless hours conducting keyword research.  You’ve built tightly themed campaigns and ad groups.  You’re already on the fast track to success but do NOT stop there!

Writing effective ad copy is next on your checklist, but how do you write a pay-per-click ad that really stands out among the competition?  Using a strong call-to-action is a huge piece of the puzzle.  This is a much overlooked part of the PPC process and can make or break your efforts.

Think about your campaign goals and what you hope to achieve through paid search.  Ensure that you convey that message within your ad copy using a strong call-to-action – or CTA.  Ad copy is your sole chance to tell your audience exactly what action you want them to take once they reach your website.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to make your intentions perfectly clear to your prospective customers.  Remember: you may only have one chance to make a lasting impression.

Let’s take a look a few common examples of call-to-action being put to use in Google Adwords ads:

Goal: Direct Response

I’ve conducted a search for the phrase fishing tackle.  These ads clearly define what action the advertisers want me to take, and I know what to expect once I reach their respective websites:

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PPC Ad Using Direct Sales Calls-to-Action

We see two different retailers in these examples.  In each case the advertisers expressly mention the action that they want me to take once I reach their website using a call-to-action within the ad copy.  They share a common goal: to entice me to make a purchase.  So they use CTAs such as Shop and Buy.

*More Direct Response Calls-to-Action:  Call, Register, Purchase, Checkout, Download, Donate, etc.

Goal: Lead Generation

The following two ads were among the search results for the query video production and, like the previous examples, these ads clearly define a desired course of action:

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Because the sales cycle is likely longer in these scenarios and requires far more commitment from the potential customer, we see that the advertiser are focused more on data collection early on as opposed to a direct sale.  They have incorporated calls-to-action into their ad copy like Contact and Request to stress these lead generation goals.

*More Lead Generation Calls-to-Action: Start, Verify, Access, Receive, Fill, Enroll, etc.

Goal: User Engagement

These next ads are results for the search query dinner recipes. Again, the same principle is applied, the call-to-action represents the goal of the campaign:

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We see that the goal in these last two examples isn’t a direct sale or a request for information, but simply engagement with the respective website.  So we see calls-to-action being used like, Check outVisit, and Learn that tell the user to remain on the page and digest its content.  This is commonly seen as a branding technique.

*More User Engagement Calls-to-Action: Watch, See, View, Read, Discover, Uncover, etc.

So, when it comes to writing effective ad copy, speak in such a way resonates with your target audience.  Remember, write your ads while keeping your goals in mind.  Announce those goals and let users know what to expect once they arrive on your website.  This level of transparency is key because it will ultimately help you avoid wasteful spending due to clicks from unqualified visitors.

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