With apologies to Kenny Rogers, as a Google AdWords ad writer, you’ve gotta know when to merely tweak an already optimized ad, and when to try a complete rewrite instead. When to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, so to speak.


And you also have to keep in mind that the tweaks can often provide as big or bigger results than the rewrites. You don’t need big changes to get big results.


The following ad contest for CafePress, with the winning challenger written by McDavis1982, makes an excellent case study for tweaking:



Slight differences, but big results with a 150% increase in Clickthrough Rate.


So what was the tweaking strategy McDavis1982 used? Here it is in his own words:


“When writing the Basketball T-Shirts ad for CafePress, I took a good headline that in this case was already the control headline and used it. But even if it hadn’t been the [control headline], I still would have used it as the headline in my ad because of it’s keyword use. You want the headline to bold the keyword Basketball when searchers scan through their search results. This in my experience increases click through rates greatly.


Going into the body of the ad, I took Basketball out of the first line of copy and eliminated the “Order Now” call to action. Instead I placed basketball on the second line, which still allows Google to bold the term when searched for but since the headline has Basketball T-Shirts in it, the first line was used to draw the viewer’s attention to the vast number of designs offered. Since the person is already looking for some type of Basketball t-shirt, hoodie, etc. (and since the headline confirms that the ad has a good match-up with that keyword) there was no need to have it repeated on both the first and second lines of body copy in this ad.


Finally by taking out the more direct call to action and replacing it with the number of designs and ending the ad with “…for basketball lovers,” I was able to create an implied call to action that would be appealing to both those searching for themselves and those looking for gifts. This is important for gift shoppers who may not respond well to a “hard sale”-style CTA, so to speak.


So my challenger ad was designed to tell the person in the headline what is being offered and then go on to back up the offer and provide a good reason to click by telling them of the numerous products they can find at Cafe Press which are perfect for lovers of basketball. This creates a “softer” call to action that is more appealing to earlier-stage buyers who are still “browsing.” The ad that I crafted was simple tweaks, but changes were very strategic, all intended to give the viewer a greater chance of clicking and buying the product.”


And with that, perhaps we can say that mCdavis1982 goes a little past Kenny Rogers to not only know WHEN to tweak them, but HOW to tweak ’em as well.


Do your ad writers know when (and how) to tweak ’em?