Our friends over at Pardot have produced a pretty cool video (and free e-book) that gives a quick and dirty overview of 5 psychological triggers that can increase conversions. And we thought it would be worthwhile to look at each trigger in terms of PPC Ads:

1. Social Proof

There are few ways to use social proof in your PPC ads. The most literal method is to connect your ad to your company’s Google+ account and allow people to endorse or “+1″ your ad/company and have that show up in the PPC Ad.

But you can also reference social proof within the ad copy. This contest is a pretty good example of that:

Notice how the ad that referenced the fact that the t-shirts were user designed and user-selected boosted clicks. Similar “social proof” language examples include references to:

  • “Highest reviewed” or “5-Star Reviewed
  • “Best-selling” or “Customer favorites”
  • “Made w/ Customer Input” or by “Popular Demand”

2. Loss Aversion

You PPC Ad copy can leverage the power of loss aversion by indicating what’s at stake if the searcher doesn’t solve her problem, and by using scarcity or limited-time offers. This varies by industry to industry but it’s always worth testing gain vs. loss variations on wording. We’ve seen cases where loss-based wording such as “Don’t pay too much for your Rental Car” boosted CTR far above savings-based wording.

3. Anchoring

What’s the reference point for comparison and decision making? The psychological reference point is the anchor, and smart marketers make sure to choose an anchor that works in their favor. Is a Hyundai Genesis more money than a Toyota Avalon, or is it “just as nice as a Lexus at (almost) half the cost?” The anchor you choose has a huge impact on how you think about the car and it’s price.

PPC Ad copy has to make these same choices. What psychological anchor are you using? What other anchors could you use or test?

4. Foot In the Door

The Foot In the Door principle is a mainstay of PPC Ad copy and it boils down to this: GTC — Get The Click. Don’t worry if you can’t substantiate all your claims within the PPC Ad, make the claims and substantiate them post-click. Because if you don’t “get your foot in the door” and get that click, you’re sunk. And if you don’t make a claim because you can’t fully substantiate it, you won’t get that click.

This principle also comes into play when PPC Ads offer free quotes or free reports. They’re offering something up for free to get their foot in the door, hoping to convert after you click-through to get your free offer.

5. Authority

In PPC Ad copy, authority comes from Trade Mark symbols and “Official Site,” or “Authorized Dealer” type phrases. Through these you are drawing attention to the fact that the advertiser has authority in a given field or to stock certain brands. And these things work great, in fact including them is considered a “best practice” for optimizing Web Copy. It’s not fool proof and it does need to be tested, but it proves a CTR booster often enough to have become a good rule of thumb amongst professional PPC Ad Writers.

And there you have it folks: 5 Psychological Triggers and how to use them in your PPC copy. For more information on how to improve post-click conversions using these triggers, make sure to watch Pardo’s video and to download their free e-book.