One thing I love about writing the Win of the Week column is that I get to see what ads are working RIGHT NOW in the REAL WORLD.


The more ad contests I study, the easier it becomes to spot winners. The principles of good ad writing never change. And yet every week I see a contest that provides a new ad copy lesson! This week is no exception.


Now, the winner of this week’s contest increased CTR more than any other ad ever featured in the Win of the Week. Take a look at the ads below and see if you can pick the winner.


PPC Ad #1

Gold Buying - Ad #1
PPC Ad #2

Gold Buying - Ad #2


There is a subtle but profound difference between these two ads. Can you spot it? Make your choice and keep reading…


In this case, the winner was Ad #2. It was written by “mcdavis1982,” and it increased CTR by an incredible 415% — more than quadruple the original CTR. As I mentioned above, this is the biggest difference in CTR ever to be featured in the Win of the Week. (I checked.)


So why did Ad #2 win? And why did it win by so much? Let’s take a look at the differences…


1. It all starts with the title copy. The original ad uses DKI with the alternate text “Buy Gold the Smart Way.” Since searchers may be typing in phrases like “buy gold” or “how to buy gold,” the title immediately frames the context in terms of “buying.” But when people are searching, they’re often looking for information — especially when it comes to something complicated like investing. Since they may not be ready to buy yet, they may never get past the title copy.


2. Rather than using the title to say something about the product (gold), the winning ad uses the space to talk about the searcher (the first-time gold buyer!). In many cases, DKI is a smart thing to do because it mirrors back what the searcher types in. But the gold market is seeing a massive influx of new investors, so most searchers are likely to be first-time buyers. The new ad capitalizes on this trend and flags down the searcher by letting them self-select… “Yes, I am a first-time gold buyer.”


3. The losing ad starts the body copy by encouraging searchers to, “Join The Gold Rush!” Maybe I’m an anomaly, but I was always taught that the Gold Rush bankrupted a lot of people. Today, most people have heard that those who got rich were the merchants selling picks and shovels — not the prospectors who were mining for gold. For this reason, I don’t think it’s a good idea to piggy-back on the Gold Rush. Too many bad connotations.


4. The winning ad, on the other hand, uses the first line of copy to reiterate the title copy in the form of a question. “A Buyer of Gold the First Time?” allows the searcher to answer positively and keep reading the ad.


5. Both ads use the second line of copy to say essentially the same thing — but the winning ad does it more succinctly with the phrasing, “Get Our Pro Tips on Buying Gold!” The winning ad is “selling” information. Nowhere does it give the command to “buy gold” or anything like that. It’s a simple appeal: Are you a first-time gold buyer? Then get our tips on buying gold. That is a very easy premise to go along with. Click.


6. Because the winning ad uses punctuation at the end of the first line of body copy, it may also benefit from Google’s longer title text format. The losing ad does not have this advantage since the second sentence is divided between the first and second line.


The bottom line: The new ad wins because it flags down searchers more effectively by allowing them to self-identify; it promises information instead of asking for an immediate sale; and it is structured better for prominent display on Google.


And in case you missed it, DKI is not always a “shoe-in” to win. So if you’re testing ad copy, try one ad with DKI and one ad without. You may be surprised by the outcome.


One last thing…


BoostCTR writers are standing at the ready to improve your pay-per-click ads on both Google and Facebook. Sign up today and put them to work. You could quickly see significant increases in CTR.


ryan-healy About the Author: Ryan Healy is a direct response copywriter and BoostCTR writer. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Alex Mandossian, Terry Dean, and Pulte Homes. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business, and is the creator of the Paid On Time affiliate program directory.