Online Marketing Blog

See How Easily You Can Increase Your Paid Search CTR

Do you want to increase your click through rate (CTR) on your paid search ads? Most advertisers do as long as they are targeted clicks and not as a result of some stupid gimmick or lie. CTR plays an ever more important role in PPC campaign management. With the introduction of quality score, relevancy checking and focus on the customer experience, CTR is a very important PPC metric to optimize. Raising your paid search ads CTR can be a lot easier than you think. We have developed a simple chart that makes creating text ads for PPC search engines using combinations of “strong words” and equally strong calls to action.

“Strong” Words Strong Calls to Action
NewBook Now
DiscoverSave Now
SaveDiscover Your
ProvenSign Up Today
SafeBuy Now
EasyPay Less
FreeOrder Now

Your call to action is probably the most important of your ad text. The calls to action in the above chart are based on recent research done by Microsoft. Another important reason to use a strong call to action in Google Ads is because Google tells us we should. We have also done some research that will be published shortly that not having a call to action in your ad text can cause your initial quality score to suffer.

Let’s take a closer look at the “Strong” words and see what sort of emotion they evoke and how you can generate a strong feeling to encourage a user to click your ad through to your site and how that feeling generated can ultimately effect your conversion rate.

1. New
Your potential customer either has your product or service already or doesn’t. If you have a new version, it’s bound to be better right? “A ’99 Audi A4”? , “Our Service”? or “The New Audi A4”? “Our New Service”? Which sounds stronger to you? Say it out loud. Hear the difference?

2. Guaranteed
In todays modern e-commerce world, everyone wants to make the right decision and minimize risk. Your potential customers want to be sure that what you offer will minimize their risk. Make sure that’s in the back of their mind BEFORE they come to your site.

3. Discover
The word “discover” evokes a feeling of being first to find something. With paid search, your potential customers want to feel like they are among the first to find your product or service.

4. Save
Most people want to save something. Save a life, save all the trouble, save MONEY. Your potential customers are no different. Let them know they are saving before they come to your site.

5. Proven
You wouldn’t want to be a guinea pig for a new pharmaceutical product would you? Your customers don’t want to be for your product either. Again, this word removes another element of risk.

6. Safe
Everyone needs to feel safe. Especially when purchasing online, giving out personal information or using a product or service (especially on their children). Your potential customers will want to feel safe with your product or service. Make sure they feel it before they get to your site.

7. Easy
Who doesn’t want their life made a little easier? Your potential customers want to know that buying from you will make their lives easier than if they buy from your competitor. Easy can be applied to many areas of your fulfillment. (Easy shipping, easy ordering, easy clean product, easy peasy!)

8. Free
Probably the most powerful of them all. Who doesn’t want a free lunch, a free wad of cash, free shipping, free anything. Everyone wants something for free. It’s in our blood. If you offer something for free, make sure people know about it. Use it as your unique selling proposition.

Now, using these “strong” words and the chart above, we can simply pick an appropriate word for our product on the left and pair it up with an appropriate strong call to action on the right to help us create a powerful ad. Let’s use an example of a product called the “IPOD Touch”.

“Strong” Words Strong Calls to Action
NewBook Now
DiscoverSave Now
SaveDiscover Your
ProvenSign Up Today
SafeBuy Now
EasyPay Less
FreeOrder Now

If we use the strong word “Guaranteed” along with our chosen call to action “Order Now” we can see from the actual example below how dramatically our CTR can increase:

Winning Ad

Apple Ipod Touch
The All New IPOD Touch. Guaranteed
Next Day Shipping. Order Now!

Your Winning Ad is Outperforming the Losing Ad

> 95%

Your Potential CTR Gain = 225%

Losing Ad

Apple Ipod Touch
Apple IPOD Touch in Stock Now Order Online Worldwide Shipping!


Try it yourself. Add your own strong emotional words and industry specific calls to action to your own chart and when creating your ads, simply match one column up with the other. The world of PPC marketing is no longer the plaything of the elite online marketing pioneers. You need to make your ad stand out and be clicked. Of course, you could always visit the Apple site direct.

  1. danielle Says:
    October 15th, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    great article, i’m definitely going to keep these strong and call to action word combinations in mind for one of my e-commerce sites. but just a side note, the punctuation in ad #2 isn’t correct (if that was the exact copy used) which could affect the ctr as well. anyhow, great article as always!

  2. Dave Davis Says:
    October 15th, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Danielle. I have been subscribed to your blog for a while (though still trying to figure out WHO you manage PPC for).

    You’re right about the punctuation. I’ll get on that when I get back in the morning :)

  3. danielle Says:
    October 17th, 2007 at 12:43 am

    I’m working in-house for a small firm in Los Angeles but I’m always searching for advice and more expert management perspectives. Feel free to contact me!

  4. Dave Davis Says:
    October 21st, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks Danielle, from the content on your blog, I think you will have a hard time coping with the head hunting :)

  5. Roger Says:
    May 14th, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Great details. The table is well organized and very clear. I also appreciated your example with the comparison ads. I am going to apply this technique right now to help increase my quality score and cut my adwords cost.
    Thanks much.


  6. Small Business Ireland Says:
    March 12th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Nothing wrong with this, at all, people should get it more.

  7. Article2Video Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    The problem is that we have very limited ad space on Adwords.

    Put your keyword “Strong” Words Strong Calls to Action and you will almost run out of available space when you add a couple of words.

  8. Ashi Says:
    June 11th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Greate article! it increased my knowledge on the complex topic of Adwords.


  9. Ejvind Says:
    May 25th, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Adwords is complex – no doubt about it. However, I have found that if you really do a lot of testing on all possible combinations with ad texts, then you will surely have better CTR. At least until the competition has studied your results, and start implementing their own strong words and call to action. Great article thanks.

  10. Raj Says:
    January 2nd, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks Dave. Your blogs are fantastic and I am reading a lot of them through this holiday period and is helping me refresh on a lot of the PPC topics. Hoping to apply some of your advice in our campaigns starting from the new year.

  11. Andy_Meckwan Says:
    March 16th, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Hi Dave,
    I am quite new bee to this marketing; This is just thought that I want to share!!
    Actionable Clicks means customer take some influence with like..They get free, guaranteed etc.. With them and when they are not able to get that in the form in which they think there is chance they may bounce and may not be happy.
    Simple Ads might have very less clicks but conversion rate may be high because as we have not ask them take action they took by them self so the chance of bounce back and de-satisfaction is not big in this.

    This all are my thought and I am not the big SEM marketing consultant, so maybe I am wrong 
    But great post and very well information too 

  12. James Says:
    July 29th, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Thanks Dave,

    Some useful information here. I like the idea of pairing up a word from each column of the table. Think I need to do some testing in my own Adwords account.

  13. Paleo meatloaf Says:
    February 16th, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    really useful info
    i’ll try that
    i have a few banners from commission junction on my site