A mentor of mine likes to point out that everyone wants to be normal but no one wants to be average.


Think about that: by definition, the two words are nearly synonymous, but the connotations are dramatically different. The opposite of normal is abnormal, or strange, which no one wants to be. But the opposite of average is exceptional, which we certainly don’t mind being, right?


The point to all this is that PPC Ad Writing involves at least as much, if not a great deal more, psychological insight than wordsmithing skill. And that’s exactly the lesson taught to us by this week’s featured Booster, jbaum71. But first let’s look at the ad contest in question:



Can you guess which one was the winner?


It’s the ad that uses the “Show off how special the Coast Guard is” language. And here’s how jbaum71 came up with that wording:


When developing this ad I concluded that:


  1. People interested in this particular product category are patriotic in nature.
  2. Those interested have/had a specific connection to the Coast Guard. (The person might currently be serving or served in the Coast Guard, or has family/ friends serving)
  3. Those interested have a deeper understanding of the Coast Guards capabilities and unique insight into their daily operations than the general public.


When crafting the ad I wanted generate a specific emotion. I felt the word ‘pride’ is general and did not strike a chord with the customer base I was trying to target.


I felt that those who know how special the Coast Guard is are the same people who would jump at the opportunity to show off their Coast Guard affiliation through CafePress merchandise.


Finally, the control ad did not have a strong call to action. The ‘Buy Now’ call would tell the customer what was expected of them when they landed on the page. Not only did this help CTR but probably deterred casual browsers from clicking the ad.


Do you see how the psychology behind the words proved far more important than clever wordsmithing? Do you see how there’s a lot more to successful PPC Ad Testing than just throwing stuff against the wall?


If you’re not putting this level of thought and strategy into your PPC Ads and Ad Testing, perhaps you might want to give one of our Boosters a shot at it…