Many of these columns focus in on what I might call the non-obvious factors that affect ad performance, mostly because one can only cover the obvious factors so much before boring the pants off of both writer and reader.


But that doesn’t mean the fundamentals are any less fundamental, and the astounding performance of this winning ad serves to drive that point home with a passion:


Would you believe that the winning ad increased CTR by 355%?


You would if you understood the fundamentals of good PPC Ad writing! And what fundamental principle is at work in this contest?


Use of credible, factual claims outperform vague, unverified statements.


Look at the losing ad. What should strike you immediately is that “High Quality” and “Affordable Prices” are both qualitative, unfalsifiable statements.


Affordable is in the eye of the beholder, what is affordable to one person could be exorbitant to another. In other words, it means nothing and will be assumed as deceptive by a skeptical reader.


High Quality also “means” nothing. What makes them high quality? To what level of quality are you comparing them?


Contrast this with the terminology used in the winning ad: “Dozens” and “$16.99”


When the ad promises dozens of superhero baby costumes, the ad is making a falsifiable claim. They either have more than 12 such costumes to chose from or the don’t. As a result, we believe them.


As importantly, dozens of costumes can be imagined. We have an instant picture regarding the size of their selection. And the reader may even infer that a store with dozens of costumes in a very narrowly defined niche, probably has scores or hundreds of other baby costumes.


So not only is the claim of “dozens” believed on a literal level, it engenders positive associations in the mind of the prospect as well. That’s a very good thing.


And then there’s $16.99. They don’t have to say affordable, they just give you a price, and then YOU think “That’s really affordable” in your mind — meaning that you actually believe it because the judgement came from you and not the advertiser.


Bottom Line: use factual, verifiable claims rather than vague adjectives. It aint sexy or sophisticated, but it works.