Anyone familiar with any form of direct response advertising has heard the oft-proclaimed advice to include a Call to Action within the ad.


And generally speaking, it’s good advice. If your aim is to get prospective customers to act, it’s usually best to tell those interested customers exactly what to do in order to buy. Hence the “call now” of infomercials and the “buy now” or “shop our selection” or “download your whitepaper” of online ads.


The only direct response advice given nearly so often has to do with risk reversals — guarantees, in other words. Stuff of the “send no money now” or “or your money back” variety, to lapse again into infomercial speak. Free shipping and other “deal sweeteners” can also be seen as a close cousins of the risk reversal, and are also often featured in online ads.


But are there times when these ever-present guidelines can and should be brushed aside?


Well, yes, actually. A fact that was demonstrated in the Weekly Win posted on May 19th. Here’s a win boasting an astounding 250% increase in click-through-rate where the winning ad actually dropped the Call to Action and Risk Reversing Guarantee of the previous champion. Take a look for yourself:


PPC Ad #1

PPC Ad #1 - Bridesmaid Gifts
PPC Ad #2

PPC Ad #2 - Bridesmaid Gifts

And because of this unique situation, we thought it would work best to interview the ad writer first hand, to find out exactly his thoughts and strategies that he used while actually writing the ad. Here’s what our Booster, who writes under the odd name of c720492, had to tell us:


Although I’m aware of the standard “benefits over features” and calls to action, it seemed like the combination of Google Searchers and the idea of Bridesmaids gifts, the CTA was pretty much assumed. I mean, any bride Googling the search term was obviously expecting to click on a relevant ad/search result, and it’s not like she’d put the purchase off, as the wedding date is set and they need those gifts. So it’s pretty safe to assume that those brides are going to shop if they feel that the store has what they’re looking for.


The money back guarantee is cool, but kind of felt like it was putting the cart before the horse: like, first the bride wants to know if there’s anything at the website worth ordering in the first place, and then she’d want to know about guarantees and shipping and all that.


And so I wondered what we could say that would convince them the store has what they are looking for. If you think about it, a bride can buy bridesmaid gifts in tons of places. So the main concern isn’t just to “get them something,” but to get something that the bridesmaids would actually appreciate. That was the psychology I wanted to hit…


And it was important to phrase it right. I always try to write like I talk, as in, “what would you say if you were trying to explain to a friend why they should go check out the Website. And that kind of means figuring out why they wouldn‘t want to go to the site.


For me, I thought the main fear was that the site might end up just having garbage promo items. Cheap plastic stuff with Wedding imprints that are kind of tacky and sometimes given out for crappy bridesmaid gifts. That’s when the ‘gifts they’ll actually like’ phrase came to me.


Finally, after ditching the guarantee and the ‘Since 1992,’ which I thought was just wasted, I wanted to make sure there was adequate keyword usage within the ad, not only to make sure there was good match up psychology, but in terms of quality/Google rankings as well. And that’s basically how I ended up with the ad.”


And that’s the scoop, straight from the writer’s pen!

As you can see, there are indeed times when best practice advice has to be applied with care or even disregarded altogether when the psychology of the shopper dictates. And that’s where the difference between a mediocre and talented Ad Writer really comes into play. It’s also where testing becomes indispensable. So if you either don’t have access to a talented ad writer or the time to conduct as much ad testing as you should, perhaps you’d like to give one of our Boosters a chance at improving your CTR and Conversion Rates…