Who has the Most Energetic Ad Copy in Energy?

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

image showing 5 heating pipes

It’s that time of year again: children are going back to school, coats are being dug out of cupboards and the long summer evenings are starting to get that little bit dimmer. Although British Summer Time doesn’t finish until the end of October, like all classic British summers, the weather has been mixed, and with the calendar turning to September and a familiar chill creeping into the air, many people will be looking at their thermostats and wondering when it’s acceptable to turn the heating on.

Last year, we looked at the energy sector and how the big players such as British Gas, EDF and E.ON deploy their PPC campaigns throughout the year in the run up to autumn and what steps they could take to ensure they were winning over customers.

Another autumn brings another wave of campaigns so we’ve picked out some of the top performing ads from the “Big Six” players, to see how they’re trying to bring in the clicks. The companies and their ads are in alphabetical order, which means we kick off with the biggest:

British Gas

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″
href=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/BG.jpg” title=”British Gas Ad Copy August 2015″ src=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/BG.jpg”][/lightbox]

As the dominant player in the market, it’s no surprise that British Gas has one of the best performing ads, securing masses of traffic across August and into September. The key to the ad is alluding to a key worry of potential customers – the potential for energy prices to rise in the coming months. British Gas assures searchers that if markets prices do rise, their cost will stay the same, with a “Fix & Fall” deal in place until November 2016. It’s a solid offer, enlivened with a exclamation, and is doing the business for the energy giant, in the month that is announced a 5% fall in gas prices for households. Over the past month, Adthena data shows that British Gas was taking as much as 50% of its available Share of Voice in the energy market, and rarely less than 30%.

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″
href=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/BritishGasSOV.jpg” title=”Chart showing British Gas’ Share of Voice against its Big Six energy rivals” src=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/BritishGasSOV.jpg”][/lightbox]


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href=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/EDF.jpg” title=”EDF ad copy August 2015″ src=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/EDF.jpg”][/lightbox]

Whereas British Gas used an “If…” statement in their ad, EDF goes for the imperative, urging people to choose their own deal, described, slightly zanily, as a price “Freeeeze”, a quirky tactic that draws in the eye. It lays out that offer will cover the next two winters – the time of year most customers will be concerned with, and also manages to trump British Gas’ offer, locking in a prize freeze until 2017, a year beyond their rivals, and a simple way to try and top the competition.


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href=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/EON.jpg” title=”EON ad copy August 2015″ src=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/EON.jpg”][/lightbox]

E.ON doesn’t have a prize freeze at the heart of its ad, though the central idea is the same, a fix-priced package, this time described as a “Prepaid Energy Package”. Keen capitalisation gives the ad text headline appeal, and there’s a solid call to action in the final line, an exclamatory “Sign Up Today!” to encourage conversions. The ad even manages to sneak in a cheeky “Power Word” beloved by marketers, promising the best package for “You”. Taking a slightly different tack is paying off though, with the ad getting comparable levels of traffic to other ads with a much higher estimated spend.


[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″
href=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/NP.jpg” title=”npower ad copy August 2015″ src=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/NP.jpg”][/lightbox]

There is a calm and assured tone to the npower ad, one that seeks to reassure potential customers with the message that they should “Relax”. The offer also manages to top British Gas’ year of fixed prices, but doesn’t quite go as far as EDF’s. The URL is interesting too, as it specifically highlights that it leads to the official npower site, as well as using the “Registered” symbol in the headline – assuring searchers that it is the real deal, and not a third party.

Scottish Power

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href=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/SP.jpg” title=”Scottish Power Ad Copy August 2015″ src=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/SP.jpg”][/lightbox]

Although powering more than 5m customers, Scottish Power is the smallest of the Big Six, but its ad shows that it’s keeping up with its rivals – it offers fixed prices into 2016. It also makes sure it gets its name in front of your eyes, repeating Scottish Power no less than four times in the short space of the ad. The final kicker is an urge to “Switch Today!”, openly appealing to those searchers who will already be customers of a rival, but could be in the market for a good deal.


[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″
href=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/SSE.jpg” title=”SSE ad copy August 2015″ src=”http://adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/SSE.jpg”][/lightbox]

There’s a combination of methods employed in the ad from SSE, many of which we’ve already seen – reassuring searchers it’s the official site, offering a longterm fixed rate, and using the URL to point to a specific offer. However, as a point of difference, SSE also offers Love2Shop vouchers, which could be enough to sway new customers, although the structure of the sentence has been slightly forced in order to fit Google AdWords’ stringent size constrictions. The ad is obviously seeing some success and bringing in clicks, appearing daily for at least the past month.


With a competitive group of businesses all targeting the same customer base, there are bound to be similarities in the range of offers available and the way that companies can present them – a fact that’s doubly true in an industry as regulated as energy supply. With that being the case, it’s the smallest details in competitor ad copy that can make or break successful campaigns, either bringing in the clicks and offering up conversions, or making a potential customer hesitate and try looking again. A solution like Adthena shows clients competitor ads and their performance, as well as a host of other insights into their complete PPC market. It means marketers can keep on top of emerging trends and developing offers, and see what works, and what doesn’t. In a red hot market like energy supply, no advertiser can afford to be left out in the cold.

No Adthena client data was used in this analysis

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.