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PPC 101: How to Write Compelling Ad Copy

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Cross-Channel Engagement Benchmarks for 2022

Writing compelling ad copy can be challenging. People spend an average of 3.4 seconds viewing the first five search results, so if you want to convert prospective customers with your pay-per-click ads, you’ll have to write exceptionally well to stand out.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can follow to write, and optimize engaging PPC ad copies that will attract your target audience and increase conversions. 

How to write great PPC ad copy

1. Conduct thorough research

Staying ahead of your competitors is vital to converting customers and growing your business. You must conduct thorough research to create effective search ads that keep you at the top of your game.

Search common keywords and phrases and see what comes up in the results. An organic search will highlight what your customers see, showing your competitors and their ad copy tactics e.g. if you sell task management software, you might search “what is task management.” 

You might be surprised by some of the results. For example, high-end brands like Burberry are constantly up against discount and knock-off websites, and sometimes it comes down to which companies’ marketing tactics are the strongest.

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Ask yourself questions such as:

  • How are they constructing ads?
  • What call-to-action (CTAs) are they using?
  • Are they offering discounts?

After seeing how to improve your ad copy, look at differentiating yourself. What unique selling points (USPs) make you stand out? Incorporate these into your ads to show customers why they should choose you over your competitors.

2. Be customer-focused

People buy products because they want or need them, so focus ads on how your products will improve the lives of your prospective customers. This is how you drive them to your website.

Reduce words like “we”, “I”, and “us”. Instead, use customer-oriented words such as “you,” “value,” “save,” “easy,” “fast,” “cheap,” etc. Tailor your phrases to show how your products solve the problems of your target audience. For example, “increase your productivity” instead of “we increase productivity.” 

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By being customer-focused and appealing to consumer needs, you encourage viewers to click through to your landing page. You can then talk about your company’s achievements and focus on increasing your AOV average order value.

3. Use attention-grabbing headlines

Your headline is the most prominent text in your ad and the first thing prospective customers see, so it needs to grab their attention. But how do you create a high-converting headline?

First, keep it brief. Headlines have character limits, so use short words and summarize points. Consider using questions to entice people to click.

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Second, include valuable and profitable keywords that will attract your target audiences, such as specific locations or USPs.

Third, use numbers. Percentages, prices, and statistics take up less space, promise something specific, and draw-in prospective customers.

Finally, use the “|” character to separate headlines, making them more digestible.

For example, if you want to promote a cloud-based contact center that tracks and monitors calls for $14.99, your headline might be: 

#1 Cloud contact center solution | Track, record & monitor calls | $14.99 a month

Good headlines pique interest and provide solutions. Writing effective headlines for your PPC ad copy is essential for conversion rate optimization.

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4. Keep it simple 

PPC ad copy has character limits, so keeping copy short, simple, and precise is imperative to get your message across to potential customers. Consider the Upwork PPC copy below.

PPC 101 How to Write Compelling Ad Copy

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You want to avoid vague descriptions, complicated phrases, and wordy sentences. Instead, use simple words, specific phrases, exact keywords, and an active voice. This will unclutter and improve the structure of your ad copy for your customers.

Give people simple facts and statements that grab their attention and make sure you understand your USPs. 

5. Include CTAs

No PPC ad is complete without a CTA. If you want to increase conversion rates, it’s vital to tell people what you want them to do and incentivize them to do it.

For example, using phrases like “get your tickets now”, “buy now”, or “sign up for free today” provides a sense of urgency and can trigger people to click. 

Use an actionable, specific, and short CTA for each ad to make visitors aware of what they should do and when they should do it.

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6. Put keywords in URLs

Keyword placement in your display URL can make your ad copy appear more relevant to search engines and your target audience. Furthermore, it’s useful if you’re running multiple PPC advertising campaigns as you’re providing your target audience with non-generic landing pages.

This gives potential customers confidence that they’re getting the information or offer they want, boosting your PPC marketing and leading to increased conversions.

For example, if your ad sends people to a page explaining how SIP protocol manages internet communication sessions, putting “SIP protocol” in the URL reassures searchers they’ve found the information they wanted.

7. Test your ads

Testing is how you understand if your ads will convert your target audience. It’s a critical part of creating compelling PPC ad copy. A/B testing is a common digital marketing technique used to assess the effectiveness of ads.

For example, if you have two PPC ads promoting high ticket affiliate programs to skyrocket income, you can pit them against each other and see which one drives the most conversions and should be scaled up.

But don’t stop there. By measuring key metrics like clicks or cost per attention using apps like Google Analytics, you can easily evaluate your ads and determine how to improve them.

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1647869172 160 PPC 101 How to Write Compelling Ad Copy

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Over time, you’ll develop different keywords, USPs, and offers to entice your target audience. Measuring ad performance and making incremental changes to your text description, headlines, or display URLs will boost your ad copy.

Remember, testing is a continuous process, so always look for ways you can improve.

Don’t let people scroll on by

One of the key drivers of good PPC ad copy is research. Finding effective keywords, determining what makes your text ads pop, and identifying your USPs should inform all of your copywriting decisions.

Use these tactics to build PPC ads structured around your customers, with attention-grabbing headlines and direct CTAs that drive conversions. Keep your message simple and ensure your clicks follow through on your promises to leave you with happy customers.
There are several PPC advertising strategies you can use depending on your business model, so don’t be afraid to try something different. Change is essential to refresh your copy and adapt to your customer’s needs. Continually test and update your ads to write compelling copy that converts.




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The 8 Absolute BEST Advertising Platforms for 2024

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The 8 Absolute BEST Advertising Platforms for 2024

Your business needs customers to survive, and that starts by getting eyes on your products or services. If you haven’t started with organic SEO practices already, that’s a great way to build a foundation of future success. But, while organic is great, it takes time to build momentum. This is where ads, and knowing the best advertising platforms, comes into play.

In this article, we’ll share the eight best advertising platforms and who should consider running ads on them.

The best online advertising platforms (+ who should use them)

No two advertising platforms are the same, just like no two businesses are the same. What works for one business may not work for you or your target audience. But it’s important to know the best, most popular online advertising platforms and how they might work for your business to figure out where to start.

Here are the best online advertising platforms for 2024:

  1. Google Ads
  2. Microsoft Advertising
  3. LinkedIn
  4. YouTube
  5. Facebook
  6. Instagram
  7. TikTok
  8. Snapchat

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, fear not—with a little knowledge of each advertising platform and some original ad ideas, you can start getting some traction ASAP.

1. Google Ads

When it comes to big fish in the search engine sea, Google is about as big as they get with 83% of the global market share. Through the Google Ads platform, you can run different types of ads, including search ads and display ads. Google uses a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning you pay only if someone clicks the ad.

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Google search ads arguably benefit the most from Google’s share. Search ads are the sponsored search results that often appear at the top of the results page whenever you search a term. These text-only ads give businesses a chance to say a bit about their business while blending in with organic search, as seen below.

google ads advertising platform example

Google display ads are shown via the Google Display Network (GDN). The GDN consists of more than 2 million websites across countless industries. These ads can vary, containing text and images, images only, or videos only.

Google display ads allow you to reach your audience in an organic browsing experience, as the ads will show up on various sites while the person is browsing. You can help determine where your ads show up by using keyword targeting, setting topic clusters, or even choosing specific sites. And make sure to catch up on how Google Gemini (formerly Bard) can help.

Who should run Google Ads?

Google’s massive market share makes it especially enticing, and it’s absolutely at the top of the best advertising platform pack for a reason. But the large market reach of Google does make it somewhat of a double-edged sword.

Yes, you can get your business in front of a lot of eyes using Google Ads, whether you’re using search ads or display ads or both. (You should really try both.) At the same time, the large reach of Google also means you’re often in a more competitive space, especially if you’re in an already crowded and competitive industry.

Still, Google ads are ideal for just about every business out there. Test the waters, set a small budget to start with, and monitor your ad performance closely. If you can hire an ad professional, it can be money well spent. Otherwise, use your best judgment, dig into average ad performance for your industry, and don’t be afraid to halt ads if you’re not happy with the results.

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🛑 Running Google Ads and not sure how they’re performing? Find out with a free, instant audit >> Free Google Ads Grader

2. Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising, formerly Bing ads, come in search and display varieties. Microsoft ads are shown on top of Bing search results, as well as along the sides of the results page. Microsoft ads are also shown within the Microsoft Audience Network, which contains a number of Microsoft-owned businesses as well as partners.

microsoft ads advertising platform examplemicrosoft ads advertising platform example

Microsoft ads don’t have quite the same reach as Google ads, but they do allow you to reach a different audience. This is largely thanks to the other networks your Microsoft ads can show up on, which includes:

Microsoft ads also benefit from Microsoft’s recent partnership with OpenAI, which has helped pave the way for AI-powered search. This allows users to ask questions on Bing and get served more results, which means more opportunities for your ads.

Who should run Microsoft ads?

Microsoft ads use a PPC model like Google and feature similar ad formats. So, who should use them?

In short: Microsoft ads are a suitable ad platform for most businesses. Many claim the cost-per-click (CPC) is lower with Microsoft than Google for many keywords, so Microsoft can even make for a great testing ground. If something is performing well on Microsoft, consider doubling down and bidding for the same terms on Google!

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🚨 Want to know good results for both Google Ads and Microsoft ads? Free download >> Search Ads Benchmarks for Your Industry

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn, the popular business social network and job platform, has more than 1 billion users. Unlike Microsoft and Google, LinkedIn provides the opportunity to focus solely on a business-oriented audience.

LinkedIn ads differ from Microsoft and Google, in that there are a ton of formats:

  • Carousel ads: Interactive ads with multiple slides users can click through
  • Conversation ads: Ads sent via LI messaging that provide users with multiple choices
  • Event ads: Ads formatted to promote events
  • Follower ads: Ads for promoting your LI business page to grow followers
  • Lead Gen Forms: Ads for lead gen that promote a pre-filled form for your content
  • Message ads: Ads containing a pre-written message, sent to users directly via LI messaging
  • Single image ads: A single image with light copy that appears on the LI feed
  • Single job ads: Ads for promoting job postings, targeting candidates
  • Spotlight ads: Ads that focus on a specific product or service of your choosing
  • Text ads: PPC ads that drive traffic to your site
  • Video ads: Video ads that appear alongside or in the feed of LI

If your head’s spinning after looking at that list, you’re not alone. But, one of the perks of LinkedIn’s many ad formats, is that you can tailor the ad experience to fit your needs. If you’re not looking to attract candidates or hosting any events, you can immediately cross a few of the above ads off your list and focus on other formats.

linkedin ads advertising platform examplelinkedin ads advertising platform example

Unlike other ad platforms, LinkedIn ads can also be targeted using industry and job title filters. This is especially helpful for B2B companies looking to sell to a particular industry. And for those with little-to-no ad experience, LinkedIn is testing a new campaign type, Accelerate, which will help you with targeting and automatically optimize performance over time.

Who should advertise on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn ads are ideal for anyone with a professional audience and those looking to find new talent for their company. If you’re in a B2B space, LinkedIn ads are especially great, as you can target by industry and job title.

LinkedIn also comes with the added bonus of allowing you to attach your business page or profile to everything. This is great for networking, which goes a long way when you’re a small business trying to grow.

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4. YouTube

When it comes to video, YouTube is at the top of the pile. In fact, there are more than 2.7 billion monthly users on YouTube. YouTube offers several types of ads:

  • Skippable in-stream: Video ads that are skippable after 5 seconds
  • Non-skippable in-stream: Thirty-second video ads that users can’t skip
  • Bumper: Video ads that are six seconds or less, shown before, during, or after video
  • In-feed: Video ads that appear on a user’s YouTube feed
  • Outstream: Mobile-only video ads shown on Google video partner sites

Along with a number of ad types, YouTube also offers two payment methods. The first is CPC, in which case you’re only charged when a user clicks on your video ad to go to your site. The other model is cost-per-view (CPV), which only charges you when someone watches your ad in its entirety.

youtube ads advertising platform exampleyoutube ads advertising platform example

YouTube is owned by Google and benefits from the same massive network, meaning outstream YouTube ads can show up on a large variety of websites and reach a wide audience.

Who should advertise on YouTube?

Much like Google ads, YouTube ads are ideal for most businesses because of their reach and wide-ranging audiences. But, YouTube ads do require more effort than typical display ads, as you have to make video. If you don’t have the budget or time for video ads at the moment, YouTube may not be the best option.

However, if you have the resources for videos, YouTube ads are a great way to reach your audience in a multimedia way. YouTube’s flexible payment types also add flexibility other platforms lack. If you’re looking to drive traffic to a particular page, the CPC model is ideal. If you want to build awareness and grow your audience, the CPV model is the ticket.

🌱 Finding the right advertising platform is only one component of a successful growth strategy. Download our free, editable growth strategy template for the full run-down.

5. Facebook

Meta, previously just Facebook, is home to nearly 4 billion monthly users. Meta ads run across Facebook, Instagram, and their Audience Network. You can set a budget and bid, much like Google ads and other advertising platforms. Then, you set whether you want to pay for impressions or conversions.

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It should come as little surprise that Meta ads are available in numerous formats:

  • Photo: Ads with an image and light text, along with a CTA
  • Video: Video ads that vary in length, from brief to six minutes
  • Messenger: Ads within the messenger app, focused on conversations
  • Stories: Full-screen video ads that appear on Facebook stories
  • Slideshow: An in-motion slideshow of images, sound, and text with CTA
  • Playables: Playable ads that give users a chance to demo an app
  • Collection: Showcase a collection of products in one ad, with purchasing links
  • Carousel: Display 10 or fewer images or videos, each with a unique CTA

Each of the above ad types can vary in effectiveness, depending on audience, industry, and campaign goals. For example, if you’re looking to promote a sale, a carousel of various services or products with discount info can perform far better than a single image ad.

facebook ads meta advertising platform examplefacebook ads meta advertising platform example

Who should run Facebook ads?

Ads across Meta are ideal for most businesses, largely because there’s such a huge audience and variety of ad types. The variety of ad types can also act as a curse, however, as there’s more testing required to figure out which ad type performs the best with your audience/for your use case.

No matter the case, consider testing out Meta ads for your business. Just make sure you take the time to track performance and experiment with other ad types.

6. Instagram

Instagram, the popular image and video social networking site, is home to more than 1.3 billion users. Not only is that a lot of cat and food photos, but it’s also a lot of opportunity to find an audience.

Although Instagram ads are run through Meta, we’ve broken it out as its own advertising platform to highlight some of the benefits and opportunities there.

Instagram ads are offered in numerous formats:

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  • Image ads: In-feed image posts with text and a CTA
  • Video ads: In-feed video ads that contain a CTA
  • Carousel ads: Multiple images or videos users can swipe through, with CTA
  • Story ads: Image or video ads that appear as users scroll through stories
  • Collection ads: Image ads that showcase multiple products beneath an image
  • Shopping ads: Ads that pull from your Instagram shopping catalog and send users to a product page
  • Explore ads: Ads that appear in the Explore section of Instagram
  • Reels ads: Short video ads that show while users scroll through Reels

Because Instagram is owned by Meta, many of the above ads can even show up on Facebook as well. This allows for an even greater reach, but keep in mind this will eat into your budget.

instagram ads meta advertising platform exampleinstagram ads meta advertising platform example

Speaking of budget, Instagram ads are priced by CPC model, or cost-per-impression. Pricing varies depending on the industry you’re in, the audience you’re going after, and so on.

Who should run Instagram ads?

Instagram ads aren’t quite as wide-reaching or general as Google, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. For small businesses and entrepreneurs, Instagram ads can come across as genuine and resonate with potential audiences. This is especially true if your audience skews slightly younger, as 61% of Instagram users are 18-34 years old.

Instagram ads are also a great idea if you have an ecommerce store, as the shopping ads can pull straight from your Instagram catalog and give people a quick way to purchase.

Lastly, keep in mind Instagram is primarily accessed via mobile devices. If you want to reach your audience on the go, this is a  prime way to do it. But, if you have an audience that’s not as mobile savvy, Instagram may not be the best way to go.

💡 Get Instagram and Facebook ideas for every month of the year >> The Mega Must-Have Marketing Calendar

7. TikTok

TikTok, the video-based social media platform sensation, has a large user base that’s estimated to be around 1.7 billion monthly active users. Home to videos of everything from cats to recipes to alien conspiracies, TikTok is also a powerful online advertising platform.

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tiktok ads advertising platform exampletiktok ads advertising platform example

TikTok is partnered with Shopify, Ecwid, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce, allowing for seamless integration of online purchasing directly into ads and your business profile.

For the ads themselves, you have a variety of formats to choose from:

  • In-feed: Video ads up to 60 seconds long, which show up as users swipe
  • TopView: Ads up to 60 seconds, shown at the top of the “For You” page when users open the app
  • Branded Effects: Branded filters created for users to make videos with
  • Branded Hashtag Challenge: A branded hashtag created with the intention of users sharing it
  • Brand Takeover: A full-page ad, either an image or three-second clip

While there are numerous formats, most of the above ads are geared toward video. Keep in mind TikTok is a video-heavy audience, so static images aren’t as expected on the platform.

Who should run TikTok ads?

TikTok’s integration with multiple ecommerce platforms makes it ideal for online B2C shops, as you can not only get eyes on your products, but also give people a quick way to purchase them.

TikTok features more than 100 templates for creators to help streamline the ad creation process. If you’re not familiar with video content or comfortable handling design, this could make TikTok ads especially enticing.

Snapchat

Snapchat has more than 750 million monthly active users, with 78% of users being Gen Z and Millennials.

As a social media platform, Snapchat primarily focuses on videos and images. While users can share private messages and videos, they can also scroll through story feeds.

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It’s in these feeds that brands can have their ads appear in several ways:

  • Single image or video ads: Image or video (3-180 seconds) featured via spotlight placement or between stories.
  • Collection ads: Collection of several products with purchase CTAs
  • Story ads: Images or videos that appear on the story feed, each with unique CTA.
  • AR ads: Branded Snapchat lenses users can engage and post with.

snapchat ads examplesnapchat ads example

For video ads, you can go up to three minutes in length. But, it’s generally advisable to keep videos much shorter, right around 10 seconds, as this is on par with many videos featured on Snapchat.

Who should run Snapchat ads?

Snapchat trends younger, with the bulk of users falling into the 15-35 age range. If your business has a younger audience, Snapchat offers a great way to reach your audience organically.

Snapchat also offers free business profiles. If you’re not interested in paying for ads at the moment, you can still create a business profile, feature your products and services, and start building a following ahead of any ad campaigns. But Snapchat ads are a great way to directly reach your audience and drive engagement.

Get started with the right advertising platforms for your business

Finding the best online advertising platform for your business won’t happen overnight, but the above suggestions will have you well on your way. Take your time, take note of what’s working and what’s not, and don’t be afraid to make some mistakes along the way.



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Google Releases New Local Services Ads Metrics to Measure Reach

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Google Releases New Local Services Ads Metrics to Measure Reach

Location matters when you’re searching online. Whether you’re searching for a plumber, repairman, or even a lawyer–we aren’t looking to connect with someone several states away. Optimizing your business to show for these local searches is critical–and since 2015, many advertisers have taken advantage of Google’s Local Services Ads as part of their strategy to be found by customers in their area.

However, Google previously offered little data or insight into how often Local Services Ads (LSAs) were shown on the SERP, and advertisers had very little opportunity to troubleshoot and optimize their LSAs. Thankfully, Google recently started sharing new ad impression and impression share metrics with advertisers which can help guide you to make the most of your Local Services Ads.

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What are Google Local Services Ads?

Google Local Services Ads are a simple (and safe!) way to connect local searchers to professionals in their area. This unique local ad format highlights locally screened professionals that are ready to take on their job at the very top of the SERP. Over the years, Google has opened these Local Services Ads to over 80 different local industries–from home services, car repair, pet care, accountants, lawyers, and more. Local Services Ads are available in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and several European countries.

Local Services Ads appear above the traditional paid search ads and organic listings–and advertisers can take advantage of running both LSAs and traditional PPC ads simultaneously, often showing up twice for the same search.

screenshot of google local services ads vs google ads

Unlike traditional paid search ads though–Local Services Ads have no keywords or negative keywords to manage. LSA advertisers simply select the types of jobs they want to show ads for, and Google matches your listing to relevant search terms. Additionally, Google Local Services Ads charges advertisers a fee for each lead (usually a call or message) from their ads, whereas traditional paid search campaigns charge advertisers for each ad click to their website’s landing page, regardless of whether they contact that business.

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🛑 Worried you’re wasting spend in Google Ads? Find out with a free, instant audit >> Google Ads Performance Grader

New Google Local Services Ads metrics

Previously, Local Services advertisers could review very limited data on their ads’ performance. You can view your leads and your total costs during any given time frame–but apart from that, very little else. Since November 2023, Google has been rolling out new impression and Impression rate metrics for your Local Services Ads. Advertisers can view these metrics under the “reports” tab in the left-hand menu of the Local Services Ads interface.

google local services ads dashboardgoogle local services ads dashboard

Local Services Ads now include metrics for your ad impressions, top impression rate on search, and absolute top impression rate on search.

🚨 What results can you expect from Google Ads? Download our latest Google Ads Benchmarks to find out!

Ad impressions

Simply put, ad impressions tell you how many times your LSAs were shown on the SERP. Getting seen on Google is important and your ad impressions is a metric to quantify your ads’ visibility.

But like other search ad formats–most people who see your ad won’t click or become a lead. That’s fine and expected–and you don’t pay Google every time your LSAs show, only when someone clicks and becomes a lead.

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Here are some ways to use the ad impressions metric.

Troubleshoot your LSAs

Previously, it could be tough for small businesses to know if their ads were even running if they weren’t getting leads. If you see zero ad impressions, that’s a sign that something with your profile isn’t set up correctly, or that your ads are paused.

Understand your reach

Lots of SMBs generally start their advertising campaigns small. That’s understandable, but oftentimes they reach a much smaller audience than they expected and get disappointed. This additional insight into the reach of your LSAs may encourage you to expand your targeted locations or include more job types in your listing.

Improve your LSA engagement

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Remember that the average search ad CTR is only 6%! And unlike search ads, Local Service Ads push searchers to call or message the provider directly. As a result, LSAs may have far less engagement than the links from your search campaigns. You may only see that 0.2% of your ad impressions turn into a lead!

You can use your leads/impressions ratio as a proxy metric for your LSA engagement. If you see that people are seeing your LSAs but not engaging, it may be a sign that your LSA profile could use a refresh. Simply updating your business bio with new, competitive offers or uploading a fresh high-quality photo or headshot can make a huge difference in improving your Local Service Ads.

⚡️ Is your Google Ads account set up for success? Download now >> The Last Guide to Google Ads Account Structure You’ll Ever Need

Top impression rate on search

Top impression rate on search tells you how often your LSAs show above the organic search results. The top impression rate on search is calculated as:

Search top impression rate = Impressions on top/Impressions

Local Services Ads nearly always appear above the organic results. In my experience, this metric has always been 100% for my advertisers–but it wouldn’t surprise me if Google was including this metric because it plans to start testing LSAs in different positions of the SERP or within its new Search Generative Experience.

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Bear in mind though–this metric is NOT the same as search impression share, which measures how frequently your ad showed for relevant searches. Just because your ad is showing at the top doesn’t mean that you aren’t missing potential ad impressions due to low budgets or poor ranking.

Absolute top impression rate on search

Absolute top impression rate on search tells you how often your LSAs show in the very first spot on the SERP.  Absolute top impression rate on search is calculated as:

Search absolute top impression rate = Impressions in the first spot /Impressions

Here are some ways you can use this metric.

See how competitively your LSAs are performing

Being in that very first spot will get you a lot of reach, attention, and engagement. But it can also be very expensive. If you see a low absolute top impression rate, it may be a sign to increase your bids. But if you see a higher top impression rate, be sure that you’re comfortable with your current cost per lead. There’s no shame in being in a lower position if you can afford more profitable leads.

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Guide your LSA budget decisions

Google allows businesses of all sizes and budgets to run LSAs–allowing them to set a weekly budget for their ads to run across the SERP. However, small businesses often fall into a trap–they’re overly excited about showing up in that absolute top position but also have a relatively small budget.

Consequently, they can only afford a few (very expensive) leads before they run out of budget. It’s much better to afford more leads in a lower position at a better cost per lead when managing an LSA on a smaller budget.

If you’re consistently spending your weekly LSA budget and also have a high absolute top impression rate on search, you’re likely missing out on a lot of opportunities for your ads to show. Consider either increasing your budget or decreasing your bids if you run into this dilemma.

To help benchmark what leads for your business cost on LSAs, consider using Google’s LSA budget estimator tool.

google local services ads budget estimatorgoogle local services ads budget estimator

👀 Want to learn more about search engine marketing on Google? Get the free guide >> PPC 101: Complete Guide to Google Ads

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Start using Google Local Services Ads new metrics

Google’s new impression and impression rate metrics for Local Services Ads can help provide helpful insight into managing these campaigns. Advertisers can see the costs and leads of their LSA campaigns and begin to understand how their LSAs reach searchers and how best to optimize them.

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3 A/B Testing Examples Every PPC Advertiser Should Try

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3 A/B Testing Examples Every PPC Advertiser Should Try

We hear it all the time as a tenant of paid media marketing: Always be testing. But it’s only helpful to “always be testing” when your tests are sure to contribute to more successful campaigns. 

I fall into the camp of “always be testing…when you have a good hypothesis.” If you see something can be improved and you have an idea for how to improve it, by all means, give it a shot. But don’t just throw things at the wall and hope something sticks. It’s important to have a thought-out approach to A/B testing so that if and when that needle moves, you know why and can test and iterate on it again and again.

In this post, I want to run through my best PPC A/B testing examples and share tips that will help you create the most meaningful and impactful A/B tests for your PPC campaigns.

Table of contents

❓ Not sure what you need to A/B test in your PPC accounts? Find opportunities for optimization fast with our free Google Ads Grader!

PPC A/B testing hypotheses examples (+tips)

Regardless of which A/B testing example you find inspires you to do your own test, be sure to focus on your hypothesis throughout your experimentation. Here’s what I mean:

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As I mentioned above, I believe you should always start any test with a hypothesis. What are you trying to test and why? But don’t just say “I think a new ad will perform better.” Try to articulate what you’re going for when running your A/B test. In my experience, when you’re more particular during the hypothesis creation, you’ll have a better test and more actionable and transferable results.

To help illustrate this point, here’s a typical A/B testing example hypothesis: “I want to test automated bidding to see if it works better.”

Sure, this might be a good test, but what does “work better” mean? A good, focused hypothesis almost always incorporates some level of detail. In the following steps, we’ll outline what the specifics are, but for this stage, think of it as a statement to the highest boss you have. They likely don’t know the nitty gritty numbers you’re looking at on a day-to-day basis, but they want to know what’s going on.

ppc ab testing examples - checklist of what to include in a ppc test hypothesis

This would be a better version:

Hypothesis: “Automated bidding will help us achieve lower CPAs on our main conversion action.”

To get you started, here are some A/B test hypotheses examples for a few different experiments you could run:

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  • “Using cost comparisons in ad copy will help us stand out from our competitors.”
  • “Expanding into a new state will expand our market share at the same cost as our current geotargeted locations.”
  • “A landing page with more supporting content will help create more engaged prospects and we’ll see a higher conversion rate.”

Bonus reading material to help you get started developing a hypothesis: should you use the 10% or 10x Philosophy?

Now that you have your hypothesis, let’s get down to actually making this test happen.

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3 A/B testing examples every advertiser should try

There are several ways you can test a hypothesis in paid media platforms, like Google Ads and Microsoft Ads. And, depending on what platform you use, there may be some A/B testing tools available to help.

There are no real “wrong” ways to test a hypothesis, but there are some pros and cons you should be aware of with each of the following PPC A/B testing examples. 

1. On/Off, sequential testing

This first A/B testing example is likely the easiest for most advertisers. Here you take note of the data from your existing setup, then make the changes that support your hypothesis, run the campaign that way for a while, then compare stats. Easy enough.

ab testing examples - screenshot of sequential ab testing formatab testing examples - screenshot of sequential ab testing format

It may look something like this. You have four weeks’ worth of data with your evergreen ad copy. You then pause those variants and launch cost-focused copy for four weeks then compare.

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This method of testing can be useful and can yield good results. It’s easy to implement and only requires you to monitor your campaign for large swings in performance.

The downside is that the variants never overlap with each other. Was there some seasonal effect that took place in the second 4 weeks? Were you short on budget for the month and needed to pull back on spending to hit your levels? Did a news story impact performance for worse (or better) during either period? Did any other aspects of the campaign change during the eight weeks the test was running?

It’s not perfect, but it can be useful to test sequentially to see results.

2. Geolocation testing

In a geolocation A/B testing example, you keep the existing campaign set up as it is, then create an experiment variant in a second location. This could be either to an expanded market or a portion of where you’re currently targeting (i.e., your campaign targets the entire United States, but for this test, you make the changes only effective in a handful of states).

ab testing examples - geolocation targeting ab test example screenshotab testing examples - geolocation targeting ab test example screenshot

To accomplish this, you need to make sure your control and experiment are mutually exclusive so there’s no overlap. This can be done by setting up new campaigns and excluding locations in your control campaign. 

Unlike the sequential A/B testing example, Geolocation testing can allow you to run your variants at the same time and compare results. Any head or tailwinds you feel during the run of the test should be equal for both locations.

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The downfalls come when you realize that no two regions are exactly alike. Who’s to say why a cost-focused message might work better in Oklahoma than in Nebraska? Or why the East Coast performs better with automated bidding than the Mountain time zone? 

3. A/B split testing

Split tests are likely the best example of A/B testing as it removes some of the cons we see in sequential and geolocation testing. The problem is that true A/B testing is also the hardest to come by.

ab testing examples - screenshot of google ads ad rotation optimization optionsab testing examples - screenshot of google ads ad rotation optimization options

Platforms like Google Ads and Meta Ads have long done away with rotating variables evenly. For example, both platforms have AI-powered machine learning that will pretty much always favor one ad variant over another based on the desired outcome of the campaign or ad set. The same is true for bid strategies. If you’re testing manual versus auto-bidding, or one CPA target versus another, those two campaigns are likely not going to enter the auction on the same foot. One will be prioritized over the other and you’ll have an unbalanced test.

ab testing examples - google ads experiment screenshotab testing examples - google ads experiment screenshot

This is where experiments in Google Ads and split testing in Facebook Ads can come in.

By using these tools, you can set up tests to focus on single (or multiple) variables and give them each a fair shot in the auction.

If you’re interested in learning more about these tools, here are a couple of videos that walk you through Google Ads Experiments and Facebook Ads A/B testing.

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Measuring success across different PPC A/B testing examples

Now that we know how we’re going to test, we need to get more specific on the PPC metrics we’re going to use to determine success. Unfortunately, I’m not willing to accept “perform better” as a good answer.

First, we have to decide what our main KPI is. Is it your Google Ads cost per lead? Conversion rate? Click-through rate? Impression share? This will rely entirely on your hypothesis and which A/B testing example you choose to implement. Pick the stat that will best reflect a success or failure for your test. (Don’t worry, this isn’t the only metric we’d focus on. More on that in a minute.)

Just like the functionality of the test, there are three common ways to approach this. Let’s say we’re trying to improve the CPA for an account. Here are some ways I could phrase my “success” metric:

  • Target performance: This test is a success if the experiment variable yields a $60 CPA.
  • Percentage improvement: This test is a success if the experiment variable has a 10% lower CPA than the control.
  • Statistical significance: This test is a success if the experiment variable has an 80% confidence level of performing better than the control.

All of these are valid ways of measurement. Choose the one that works best for your purposes.

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Set PPC A/B testing limitations and dealbreakers

Now let’s get into some of those other metrics I alluded to. While you might be working to optimize your cost per lead, that doesn’t mean that all other metrics are going to stay flat. In fact, I’d venture to bet that many of them will change quite a bit. It’s up to you to decide what is an acceptable level of change on other stats.

Maybe you don’t care if your click-through rate goes down 20% as long as cost per lead goes down to a profitable level. Maybe you don’t mind if you see a cost per click increase as long as revenue stays stable. But not everyone is alright with other stats moving too much.

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Here’s an A/B testing example including varying metrics: I have a client who wanted to decrease the cost per lead on his branded terms by 20%, but he wasn’t willing to let impression share dip below 80%. While we knew it was going to be tricky to thread the needle, we set up an A/B testing experiment for target CPA bidding to try and lower the CPA. As we got into it, we realized that to hit our CPA metric, Google only showed the ads for about 60% of the impressions we could have had. That was a dealbreaker for him, so we turned the test off and found another way.

ab testing examples - google ads experiment goals screenshotab testing examples - google ads experiment goals screenshot

When you set up experiments in Google, they even ask for two key metrics and what you plan to have happen. You should be doing this for yourself and asking, “Are there any potential deal breakers for metrics that would require me to stop this test before it’s finished?”

Consider your A/B testing timeline

Unfortunately, sometimes A/B tests have to come to an end without a clear winner. These tests can’t go on forever or else you’ll never test anything else.

But on the flip side, A/B tests need to run for long enough to make sure you have enough data to make decisions on. Only the very largest of accounts could potentially make a decision after a single week of testing, but even then, it would have to be night and day for me to be onboard.

I usually recommend a minimum of two weeks for a test to run and a maximum of two months. Anything beyond that can be unmanageable and gets into a place where other factors could be causing the test to be invalidated.

This means that, regardless of which A/B testing example you choose to run, be sure that within two months your test will have enough data to decide, with confidence, if your hypothesis was correct.

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Putting the right PPC A/B testing examples to work for your business

A/B testing is an invaluable tool that all marketers should likely be using in one way, shape, or form in their ad accounts. Be sure you have a clear head going into the test, including a hypothesis, plan of action, and potential deal breakers before you try any A/B testing example. That way, you’ll have set yourself up for success no matter what the outcome. If you want more A/B testing examples and ideas for your business, see how our solutions can help you maximize your A/B testing success! 

Here are the top three A/B testing examples to try in your PPC accounts:

  1. On/off, sequential testing
  2. Geolocation testing
  3. A/B split testing

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