Best practices for managing paid search campaigns are full of commonly held assumptions, many of which are more myth than fact—especially when it comes to SEM ad copy. This Myth Busters series tackles these misconceptions one blog post at a time. In this installment, we dispel the myth that creative is not critical to conversion rate optimization.


The myth

If you want to improve your SEM conversion rate, you should optimize your landing pages. Ad creative impacts only the CTR, so creative testing won’t help.


The reality

If ad creative doesn’t impact conversion rates, why do marketers commonly see different conversion rates among ads in the same ad groups? These differences can only be explained by the copy itself; the ads are otherwise served within the same region and time period, paired with the same bids and keywords. Data doesn’t lie. Let’s explore a few reasons why ad creative does impact the conversion rate:


  • Creative qualifies customers. To sell moisturizer, you could say “Pamper yourself with luxurious night créme,” or, “Save 60% on nighttime cream.” Each ad will appeal to very different customers. Ad creative impacts the conversion rate because it attracts different individual customers who convert at different rates.
  • SEM ad creative sets expectations. “Compare rates” and “Apply online today” are two calls-to-action for an insurance ad. The former sets the expectation that your site is a concierge of information to facilitate decision-making. The latter sets a tone of immediate action. Either CTA might be appropriate depending on the customer’s stage in the buyer journey. Both set expectations up front and influence the customer’s intent and propensity to convert when visiting the site.
  • Creative optimization resets the baseline. Every time you run a creative test and find a winner, you pause the losing ad and the winner becomes your new “evergreen” ad against which future ads must win. This means baseline KPI’s like the conversion rate is continually improving through creative testing.


The opportunity

Conversion rate optimization doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Maximizing the conversion rate means optimizing keywords, creative, and landing pages. Imagine the performance lift you could realize if your ads qualified the right customers and primed them with the expectation of action before they even clicked to your conversion optimized site? Ad creative testing levels-up your baseline KPI’s.


Where to go from here

SEM ad creative testing is one of several avenues for conversion rate optimization. Test new ads that inspire ideal customers to click while buffering against clicks from unqualified users. Evaluate winning ads based on conversions-per-impression and revenue-per-impression to measure click quality in addition to CTR. Set customer expectations up front with appropriate value propositions in ads following through with aligned calls-to-action on landing pages.



 About Boost Media

Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale.

The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.