Which of the two ads below got a higher CTR? Make your decision and scroll down to discover the answer.

 

PPC Ad #1

Shakeology Ad #1
PPC Ad #2

Shakeology Ad #2

 

Today’s contest is interesting because it actually goes against two of the “rules” I use when spotting a winning ad or trying to beat one.

 

Go ahead and pick which ad won, and then I’ll explain what I mean…

 

In this case, the winner was ad number one. It was written by “ppcninja,” and it increased CTR by a 180%.

 

Here’s what I want you to notice: The losing ad includes the phrase “Official Site” in the title. This phrasing usually lifts CTR, but in this case it did not.

 

Furthermore, the losing ad uses punctuation at the end of line two, which generally bumps CTR. The winning ad did not use this technique, but still won.

 

This contest is yet another example that “rules” are really guidelines and can’t be relied upon 100% of the time to predict or produce winners.

 

So what else made the difference between these two ads? Let’s take a look…

 

1. The losing ad assumes too much. Nowhere does it explain what Shakeology actually is. The ad says it’s “the healthiest meal,” but I still don’t know what that looks like. The winning ad explains that Shakeology is a “Protein Shake,” thereby clearing up any confusion.

 

2. The title of the losing ad feels cramped and hard to read. There is no space between “Shakeology” and “Official” — only a registered symbol and a hyphen. This hurts readability and reduces CTR.

 

3. Instead positioning Shakeology as a healthy meal that simplifies nutrition, the winning ad spells out two clear benefits: Lose weight, gain health. By mentioning weight loss, the ad instantly appeals to more people.

 

4. The losing ad uses this structure: WHAT > CALL TO ACTION. What is it? Shakeology, the healthiest meal of the day. What’s the call to action? Simplify nutrition with Shakeology. This structure is logical, but is not as strong as the winning ad, which uses this structure: WHAT > BENEFIT > HOW > CALL TO ACTION. What is it? A protein shake. What’s the benefit? Lose weight and get healthy. How? With vitamins and superfoods. What’s the call to action? Buy now!

 

5. Last but not least, the winning ad tweaks the URL by putting a www. on the front of it. I’ve seen contests split fairly evenly on whether this boosts CTR or not, so it’s hard to say how big of a factor this was.

 

The bottom line: The new ad wins because it explains what the product is, the benefits you’ll receive from it, how the product works… and… gives a succinct call to action. By using the right words, the winning ad is able to say more in less space.

 

What’s your takeaway from this contest? How will you apply what you learned to the next PPC ad you write? Leave a comment and let me know.

 

By the way…

 

BoostCTR writers are chomping at the bit to improve your pay-per-click ads on both Google and Facebook. It’s what they do. Sign up today and put them to work.

 

ryan-healy About the Author: Ryan Healy is a direct response copywriter and BoostCTR writer. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Alex Mandossian, Terry Dean, and Pulte Homes. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business, and is the creator of the world’s first trust seal for affiliate programs.