If I told you that one of our recent challenger ads produced over 5 times the click through rate of the old champion, what would your first thought be?


Would you guess that the writer came up with a radically new approach?  Appealed to totally different emotions?  Amped up the keyword use?  Used a new guarantee or claim?


Well, there are many factors or changes you might guess to have made the difference, but if you’re like most people, there’s one rather counter-intuitive  factor you’d likely never think of:




But that’s exactly the case!  Take a look for yourself:




Notice the differences?


Really, there are only 5 words or symbols different between the two ads. Take out the word “Chic” in the headline, add the word “shoe” to “style” in the first line of body copy, and emphasize what the prospect “gets” by signing up.  That’s it.


And yet the challenger ad, penned by McDavis1982, produced over 5 times the click through rate!


How can that be?


The thing is, just how big are the cues we normally use to distinguish between sincerity and schmoozing, BS from truth?


On the whole, they’re small, too.  Did the eyes crinkle during the smile?  Did the person meet your eyes?  For how long?  How strained or natural was that person’s tone of voice?


You get the picture: small cues make big differences.  And so it is with this ad.


Designer Stilettos are enough to let searchers know what kind of shoes you have on offer — IF the shoes really are “designer.”  So adding “Chic” to the description doesn’t actually help at all.  Instead it just makes the ad look like it’s trying too hard.


Same thing with the difference between personalized style and personalized shoe style.  Personalized style doesn’t really mean much.  Personalized shoe style, probably means that you help pick out and showcase for me the kind of shoes I like.  One word, big difference.


Ad this is exactly what we hear from the McDavis1982 when we ask him about his writing strategy:


“In my ad I used the DKI to hone in on the search term “Designer Stilettos” because It immediately tells you what you are looking for in the title and does not disctract [or seem to desperate to please] with the unnecessary “Chic” in front of it.


In my ad, I also place the immediate attention to Personalized Shoe style.  Then I further go into that you get at least 1 pair of shoes per month and make the immediate call to action to sign up.


I use very minor tweaks on the original but they draw the consumer in much more from a marketing perspective than the first ad.”


So, yes, this ad was “only” tweaked, but those small credibility cues made one ad feel a lot better to searchers, and ended up scoring the client a 5X increase in click-through rate!