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Growth Tactics: Write Ad Copy to Tell Customers When They Shouldn’t Click

Published: February 26, 2020

Author: Alex Kent

Good ad copy drives a high number of clicks, right? A simple premise of the paid search industry is that good ad copy will drive a higher CTR and is, as a result, inherently good. Ad copy can be measured by a number of different metrics, but most commonly, click-through rate is used to determine how effective a piece of ad copy is.
It makes sense. If ad copy is good, more people will click per impression. However, to meet unique business objectives, great ad copy will tell customers when they shouldn’t click.
Clicks are expensive. Clicks are also unsustainable if users are not converting once they hit your landing page. While it may sound counter-intuitive, a good CTR does not necessarily mean that your ad copy is operating effectively. If a line of ad copy is attracting a high number of users who are not qualified or relevant for your product, your ad copy is hurting your bottom line while still driving a high CTR. Ad copy should serve as that first filter that allows a customer to self-select in or out of your product offering.
The best ad copy will help customers determine whether a product or service is right for them before they ever hit your landing page.
To expand on this premise, I will use the example of a pet food company. Here is what we know about the advertiser’s product offering:

  • Benefits: Healthy, sustainably sourced, farm to table, made from the freshest ingredients
  • Value Props: Transparent, healthy, GMO-free
  • Target Customer: People who want to feed their pets better than they feed themselves
    • Customers should have disposable income
    • We are not targeting value shoppers
  • Price Point: On the high end of the pet food industry

What should the ad-copy strategy be for this account? Of course, it should include the value props and market differentiators. The ad should also help potential customers understand that if they are more price-conscious, this may not be the product for them. Ad advertisers, we have failed to do our job if price-conscious customers have to visit the landing page to determine that they can’t afford the product offering. You can’t prevent all of those clicks from occurring, but you can use ad copy to minimize them by informing customers whether or not the product is right for their needs.
Phrasing Examples: For the dog food example above, we won’t say that the food is “expensive”; rather, we will use terminology associated with a higher-end product offering. For example:

  • “Your Pet Deserves The Best”
  • “Made From the Highest Quality Ingredients”
  • “Premium, Natural Pet Food”
  • “Made with Ethically Sourced Quality Ingredients.”
  • “Feed Your Dog Like Family.”
  • “Premium Ingredients.”

Our ad copy focuses on the premium quality of the product. Emphasizing these components of the product offering acts as a subtle indicator to price-conscious customers.
Because this won’t appeal to every customer who is searching for dog food, it may ultimately lower our click-through-rate but improve our conversion rate and ultimately prevent wasted spend.
This same strategy can also be used to improve lead quality from search. For financial advertisers, you can include language that may help a customer determine whether they have a credit score high enough to apply. The applications of this strategy are limitless once advertisers start to measure the effectiveness of ad copy in different ways.
To re-state: good ad copy will drive clicks, but great ad copy will drive relevant clicks – and let you spend budget where it provides the most growth for your buck.

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