Colors aren’t absolute; how you see them is profoundly affected by the other colors around them. Take a look at this picture:

See how markedly different squares A and B look? Well, they’re the same shade of gray. They only look different because they are surrounded by different shades of gray themselves and one of the shades appears “In the shadow” of the green cylinder. Here’s proof:

This matters because words are just as affected by their surroundings as colors. When you are writing PPC Ads, the words you use in the title will “color” the way the readers will “see” your first line of body copy, which will, in turn, affect how the last line of body copy is interpreted. This is one reason why split tests can show inordinately large performance differences between ads that contain the same information and phrases in only slightly different order.

Today’s Win of the Week is a perfect example of that:

So which ad has the right ordering of phrases to create the right word images and colors for maximum conversion?

As it turns out, Ad A, penned by booster mcdavis1982, won by producing a more-than-respectable 141% increase in CTR. Let’s take a look at why on a line-by-line run down.


If a searcher is looking for dating sites for middle-aged singles, she is most likely thinking about it in exactly that order — dating site (1st) for middle aged singles (2nd). Which headline follows that order? The winning ad’s headline, which establishes dating, and then introduces the idea of (40+) to indicate age compatibility. Perfect.

The losing ad blows it by rushing to put (40+) first, which comes off as incongruous.

1st Line of Body Copy

The winning ad’s phrase, “Local Affluent Singles Looking to,” establishes a much more attractive image in the mind of the searcher than the ad’s copy. Specifically it creates the image of a group or community of single men and women who are looking to meet and date. Other potential dates are using this service to find someone who is a suitable match for them in terms of age, background and desires. It’s a nice image that casts a very beneficial halo around the rest of the ad copy.

Compare this to the losing ad’s first line of copy: “Private ‘Compatibility Matching.'” Ugh. It makes it sound as if some borg-like computer algorithm is going to see if you measure up and them try to play “matchmaker” with heaven only knows who. It’s an image that leaves the searcher feeling as if she will be giving up control and maybe even made to feel as if she doesn’t measure up. Not so good.

2nd Line of Copy

The winning ad’s 2nd line of copy reads: “Meet & Date. Only Serious Singles!” Awesome. Even though the “Meet & Date” part is an enjambment from the previous line, continuing that first thought of “Local Affluent Singles Looking to Meet & Date,” it is also understood in terms of the 2nd line of copy itself. And that second line — meet & date only serious singles — is rather attractive, both on its own and as colored by the previous line. A big win.

The losing ad, on the other hand, says: “Meet & Date Affluent Local Singles!” And while the line itself might not be so bad, it is colored by the image created by the previous line. So the person worried about having some algorithm take their “measure” is now confronted with the “Affluent Local Singles” bit and maybe wondering whether she’s “affluent” enough to measure up. Not such a great feeling, is it?


After looking at all that, is it any wonder that the winning ad more than doubled click-through rates? Of course not. And that’s the point. When writing PPC Ads, you have to be aware of how all the elements of the ad influence each other. You have to look at the total effect.