Tweaking often gets a bad rap when it comes to PPC Optimization. Especially when it’s paid or outsourced PPC optimization. And while this attitude is understandable, it’s also counterproductive.


It’s understandable because when you’re paying for better performing ads, you hope to see a fresh angle of approach, new appeals, and, well, stuff you wouldn’t have thought of yourself. What you don’t want to see are a bunch of minor changes that you believe you could have tested yourself.


Nor does it help to think of these minor changes as writers basically “throwing stuff against the (testing) wall to see what sticks.”


But my contention — based on significant experience in the field — is three-fold:


1) Most of the time, you WOULDN’T have thought up the alterations yourself, because they only seem obvious after the fact


2) Good copywriters tweak with specific strategies in mind, by employing proven tactics to sharpen an already-effective ad’s persuasive properties. It’s not a haphazard process, and it’s also a lot harder than just “throwing stuff against the wall.”


3) Small changes can create big results, so eliminating tweaking can undermine your PPC Success.


Want an example? Check out this recent win penned by veteran Booster, WordIsBorn:

Tweaking Strategies and Tactics on Disaplay


So what specific strategies and tactics did WordIsBorn use? I’m seeing the following tweaking methodologies at work:


    • If something works, tweak the ad to “frontload” or emphasize that element. “Official Site” is a known CTR booster. So making the “Official” part of it the first word of the headline should further emphasize this ad element.
    • Make Calls to Action Benefit-Oriented. Words like “Get” help you to phrase the action in terms of customer benefit. Similarly, you can tack the benefit onto the end of the action, as in, “Download Latest Version & Save 40%,” which makes the action much more compelling than a revers order.
    • Rely on sequencing to imply “internal logic” for greater credibility. Again, “Download Latest Version & Save 40%” makes it appear as if the savings are a result of the immediate download, vs. a generalized (i.e., fake) discount. This is much more persuasive than the reverse order of the losing ad.

So even though the winning ad was largely similar to the old champion, it still managed to boost CTR by 81%. That’s a sizable increase from some seemingly slight tweaks.


So if you’re currently against tweaking, think again. And if you’re idea of tweaking involves just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, try a more disciplined form of tweaking; try employing the kind of best practices we talk about in this column on a weekly basis — you’ll be glad you did : )