The Art of Crafting AdWords Copy That Will Get A High CTR

Google Sign

Writing compelling ad text that entices users to click is one of the most important aspects of setting up a successful Pay Per Click campaign. Ads that entice users to click gain higher CTRs, which can help you rank higher up the search results with lower bids – increasing ROI and allowing more clicks within your budget.

Craft A Great Headline

The first thing the typical user notices about a ad is the headline. Five times as many people read the headline than they do the description lines and display URL, making the headline’s ability to capture the user’s attention even more critical to the ad’s success.

Here are 5 tips to write a headline that elicits clicks:

  1. The simplest way to write headlines is to include the keyword in the headline every time. But depending on your competition, you may have to dig deeper and try other types of headlines to set yourself apart from all the other ads that just simply include the keywords.
  2. Use questions that arouse curiosity or interest. For example, “Does Google hate SEO?”
  3. How to or instructions are another way to mix things up. Headlines such as “Better abs in 4 steps”, or “How to lose weight in 4 weeks”, can work very well in attracting clicks.
  4. Tell a story. Crafting headlines that tell a story such as “How I lost 30 pounds without dieting” can also be quite effective.
  5. Another attention grabbing tactic is to use headlines with the word “don’t”. Headlines such as “Don’t try another diet”, or “Don’t Outsource to India”, followed with “until” or “without” can catch a viewer’s interest better and raise your CTR:

AdSense Example 3

Split Test Ads

Split testing different ads is the only way to truly craft the best ads appropriate to your business; watching the actual CTR results is the only way to truly judge which ones are going to be most effective. Every campaign is different, and no one really knows which ad copy will be most effective until the entire batch goes live and we can compare the statistics.

Tiny changes in the ad text such as a word change can lead to a big difference in performance.

Optimize Display URLs

Experimenting with how the domain name appears on the ad is another dimension to use in making multivariate ad testing.

Something as simple as removing or adding the www to your display URL is one of the more common methods of optimizing. A more useful tactic is placing keywords and/or the target location after the domain name to make the display URL more relevant to the searchers query.

Here is an example of an ad displayed for “Roanoke real estate”:

AdSense Example 1

You can make ads with specific variations just on the display URL so you can see with absolute precision just how much any little change can exert any sort of effect.

Include Location In The Ad Text

In some cases, placing the city or state in the ad copy will increase click-throughs, especially on locally targeted campaigns. You can also experiment with the way the city or state is written, whether it is spelled out or abbreviated. Also experiment with the city and/or state in the display url, as seen in this ad that displays for “smith mountain lake va”:

AdSense Example 2

Use Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are ad-ons that make your ad more visible, increasing click-throughs. Google Adwords offers several ad extensions, including:

  • Location extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Social extensions
  • Product extensions
  • Seller ratings
  • Ad sitelinks

Try Varying Punctuation

What punctuation you use in your ad copy can subtly alter the tone of your ad into something that entices a user to click. Sometimes using an ellipsis can be more effective than using just a period because the ellipsis will pique a user’s interest and signal them to click to find out more. Quotation marks imply an endorsement or testimonial, which also helps in persuading the viewer to click on your ad.

Spy On Your Competitors

In addition, scan the competing ads in your niche. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You can see for yourself what the top ranked ads use to get where they are.

Just keep the above tips in mind when optimizing your ad copy for AdWords. There is no substitute for split testing and the willingness to experiment and keep an open mind.

Zach Thompson

Zach Thompson is a former partner and former Google Adwords manager at RYP Marketing, a conversion focused digital agency.


  1. george

    I also use microsoft adcenter in addition to adwords and it works great.

  2. Jay Navara

    An ad is as good as the headline. an attention grabbing title will work wonders.

Leave a comment