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A Nod’s As Good As A Wink To A Search Engine Visitor

Published: February 27, 2012

Author: Todd Mintz

The opening act for the Richard Thompson Concert I recently attended was The Webb Sisters, a couple of very attractive British women who are best known for singing backup to Leonard Cohen, whom I’d seen perform masterfully while attending Pubcon a few years back. Being a huge fan of Cohen, I actually was looking forward to seeing the opening act (a rarity for me since most opening acts, while entertaining, stay with me for about as long as a pre-concert beer would).
As I expected, these ladies were quite talented. They did some of their own tunes, which were lovely. They did a Leonard Cohen cover (no surprise…that tune also is on their latest album) and a Bob Dylan cover. Just as they finished their half dozen songs, they decided to come back for one more tune…and broke into a folky version of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.”
Now, these are the Webb Sisters:

This is Cheap Trick:

I wouldn’t say the Cheap Trick cover was their best tune of their set…but it’s the one I remembered most. Why? One wouldn’t expect a ’70s party rock anthem to translate to British Folk Rock.  It was definitely quirky. However, once the audience got past the “you gotta be kidding” moment, they dug it……because the tune worked…and the Webb Sisters left to a very vociferous sendoff.
What does this have to do with paid search? Everything.
You have a fraction of an instant to grab a search engine visitor’s attention with your PPC ad.
Will your ad get clicked? There are a couple of key variables at play that will help determine whether you succeed:
The first variable is the position of your ad on the page. You have some control over this factor. The higher you bid, the better the position your ad will have (though other factors, like your Quality Score and the bids/Quality Score of your competitors, come into play).
The second variable is your ad text. So long as you don’t violate either search engine guidelines or space constraints, you have nearly total control over whatever is present. Certainly, there are tactics that you should use to help get the highest possible quality score (e.g. placing the keyword in the ad). However, once these obvious manifestations are addressed, plenty of opportunity for creativity remains…and so few marketers take advantage over it. The great majority of ads are either indistinguishable from the pack because they are so boring, or stand out because they really suck.
If you want to maximize your chance of getting the visitor to click your ad, it needs to positively distinguish itself from the competition. It doesn’t need to be oddball or irreverent, but if you attempt the unusual or can be ever so slightly creative, you’ll make your ad stand out from the rest and increase the likelihood of success.

 From “Destined To Live Nine Lives,” by Phyllis Duke
– Todd Mintz, Senior SEM Manager

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