5 Tips for Navigating the Ad Copy Landscape

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

woman looking at a map

There’s nothing more intimidating to a writer than a blank sheet of paper, or a cursor blinking on a empty, white screen – it’s like stepping out into an unknown landscape, with a destination in mind, but no way of knowing how to get there. Every sentence takes you down one particular path, but how do you know if it’s all leading in the right direction? Everyone could do with some guidance, so we’ve come up with five top tips to act as signposts on your own ad writing journey.

  1. Use your keywords

When you’re writing ads to appear on Google’s Search network, thankfully, there is at least one starting point which can help your ads set off in the right way. Because you’ll be bidding to get your ads next to the terms that people are searching for, you can make sure your ad ties in perfectly to those terms, even including those keywords within your ad or its headline. Having the keyword appear in the body or headline of your ad will immediately make it appear relevant to whoever is searching for it – even jumping out above ads with a higher position, but less relevant wording. Bear in mind, many people don’t even read beyond the headline – only two in ten according to Copyblogger.

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/tips1-copy” title=”Using your keywords in a prominent place can make your ads stand out” src=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/tips1-copy”][/lightbox]

  • Know your competition

If you have a good starting point – your keywords – then you’re already on your way. But when you’re on this journey, you need to be aware of all the other things out on the road, namely, all the ads of your competitors. It’s a crowded and dangerous place to be, and if your ads are going stand out, they don’t just need to be good, they need to be better than everyone else’s. But how can you steer clear of obstacles when the competition never stands still?

The best way to keep on top of what your competitors are doing is using a solution like Adthena, which offers unrivalled competitive intelligence for search. Adthena allows you to tap into the vast resource that is competitor ad copy, with a simple way to extract the data and see reports analysed by traffic, date, and keyword, complete with traffic, position and spend estimates. With easy access to that information, you can see what the best-performing ads are and how yours compare, find those key spots where you can focus and differentiate your copy, as well as track seasonal trends and how competitor’s tests have progressed. When you can see all of their dead-ends and blind alleys, it’s that much easier to plot your own course towards your ultimate goal.

  1. Call to action!

You know the keywords you want to appear next to, and you’re all set up to dodge the obstacles that block your path. Now you need to be on your way, with ads that convince people to click. Without a lot of research into your customer, it’s hard to know who exactly they are, but there’s one thing you can take for granted: they’re people, and that means they’re subject to all the emotions that people feel every day. Don’t be afraid to appeal to these emotions when thinking up your ads. Would your potential customer be sad to miss your offer? Scared of being left out of a great deal? Happy to discover your amazing customer service? Look for the essence of what your customer wants and how you meet that.

A key emotion that drives lots of advertising is a fear of missing out – FOMO – and you can tap into that by giving people immediate ways to interact with you, making sure they’re never missing out. Use powerful calls to action like “Buy Now” or “Click for more”, or use handy extras like call extensions, to reassure people that they’re not far away from getting what they want.

  1. Use power words

We can all use a handy shortcut on these journeys, so how about digging out the fabled list of advertising power words, a collection of terms that various marketers have claimed are the most persuasive in the English language. Though the true source of the list has been lost and marketers have adapted the list to their own purposes over time, countless ad men and women have fallen back on it over the years to provide a quick injection of clarity to their ads. In its classic form, the list usually includes the following terms: You, Money, Save, New, Results, Health, Easy, Safety, Love, Discovery, Proven, Guarantee. Often you’ll see the list coming with a crucial extra word: Free. If you feel stuck when you’re trying to come up with your ads, see if you can use a couple of these words to help shape your copy and put you on track.

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/tips2-copy.jpg” title=”Using classic power words can give your ads an added boost” src=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/tips2-copy.jpg”][/lightbox]

  • Use your landing page

Just as you know your starting point – your keywords – you also know where you want your potential customers to end up – on your website, converting into real customers. It’s essential that your ads match what the landing page is offering, especially because it helps Google decide the Quality Score of your ad, which can help improve its ranking.

Know what it is you’re offering, know what it is your landing page says, and then use that to build your ads from the bottom up, focusing on the things that you know you can offer. Running a great deal? Offering free delivery or returns? If you have particular selling point you’re leading people towards, make sure you get it front and centre in your ads so your customer knows exactly where they’re headed, and make sure the landing page matches up to the promise. Everyone is on their own journey, and no one likes being misled.


Every writer knows the sense of panic that a blank page brings, just as every traveller knows the trepidation of setting out on a journey into an unknown landscape with nothing to guide them. Hopefully, these tips will act as your map and compass – and if you use Adthena, your GPS – to help you safely navigate through all the potential pitfalls, and leave you on the right road to success.

To find out more about Adthena’s insights, and how it can help shape your PPC strategy, get in touch with our team and schedule a demo.


About the author

Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies. She is curious and passionate and likes to find stories in data and technology.