“Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement.” — Samuel Johnson


That quote is really all you need to know about this week’s contest, as the winning ad is the one which follows Samuel Johnson’s advice. See if the winning ad doesn’t jump right out at you:


OK, so if you didn’t guess Ad A, you should probably leave the PPC Ad Writing to someone else. The give away should have been the “Let us help you reclaim millions.” That, my friends, is large promise.


But even apart from that last stunning line, you’ll notice that Ad A is more direct and imaginable in all of its language. Here’s a line-by-line rundown:


The headline: What’s easier to picture, a “Tax Advisor,” or a “Tax Credit Specialist”? Which is easier to read and understand? “Tax Advisor” wins on both counts.


1st Line of Copy: What’s more positive and energizing: “Claim Your Development Tax Credits.” or “Minimise your tax and maximise your” Again, the winning ad starts with a more powerful and easy to read/imagine verb. The losing ad’s first line of copy doesn’t complete it’s thought until the second line, and starts with a hard-to-visualize verb that focuses on loss prevention rather than gain. Another win for Ad A


2nd Line of Copy Here’s where Ad A seals the win, with the brilliant, can’t-help-but-imagine-it line of “Let us Help You Reclaim Millions!” A short, direct, easy-to-understand promise that also doubles as a call-to-action. Brilliant. Compare that to “claim with the tax credit experts.” First it’s not a complete thought on its own, only the completion of the previous line. Second, there’s no visualizable promise. Yes, it boasts the benefit of minimizing tax and maximizing your claim, but is that really visualizable? Does it carry any kind of emotional charge. One ad ends with a finale of fireworks, the other just limps and whimpers to an end.


Other Differences:

  • Title Caps — You’ll probably notice that the winning ad uses title caps and the losing ad does not. Title caps usually boost CTR over normal capitalization.
  • First Line Punctuation — When the first line of copy ends in punctuation an ends up placed atop of the organic ads, then the first line gets displayed as an extension of the headline, and in the headlines bolded and underlined blue font, to boot. This is a good thing, and the winning ad makes use of it, while the losing ad does not.


And so how much of a boost do all these factors add up to? Would you believe 205% That’s more than TRIPLE the Click-Through Rate of the initial ad.


And TRIPLING the CTR is indeed a large promise for those who’ll take the time to optimize their ad copy : )