How to make your AdWords headlines really count

8th June, 2015

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Writing an effective headline for your AdWords ad is like creating a killer haiku.

You are bound by a tight, formal structure that compels creativity. You have just 25 characters to grab attention, create interest and inspire action.

Of course you have the other two lines of your ad to work their magic, but, as copywriters have argued for years 8 out of 10 of us never get beyond the headline.

Don’t believe them?

Then check out this eye tracking study from Moz.

Those eyes cling to the headlines as if their life depended on it.

Here are 6 ways you can make your headlines count.

Because your ROI really does depend on it.

1. The old ones are the best

Dynamic Keyword Insertion is nothing new: but it does still work.

Here’s a test we carried out using it against a keyword rich static headline.  

If you are not using it you can learn all about it in less than a minute or so by following Google’s advice here. It will show you how to place the search term that triggered your ad into the headline.

2. Dare to be different

Don’t stop reading. Dynamic Keyword Insertion is not a fix-all cure.

If everyone is holding their hand up and saying “I am Spartacus” then Spartacus becomes invisible rather than revealed.

These smart cookies have all used the same feature in their headlines for a search of ‘last minute holidays’.

Who stands out? No-one!

You could easily rule this ad space by not using Dynamic Keyword Insertion so here are some tricks you can try.

3. Ask a question

We are always told that adverts should provide answers. Sometimes this is true, though it is just as effective to ask a question.

  • Looking For a Handy Man?
  • Need a Local Gardener?
  • Problems With Maths?

Think it might work?

4. Offer solutions

The best ads don’t sell they solve. They address the needs and desires that lie behind the search intent.

Don’t sell the mattress: sell the good night’s sleep.

But to solve a problem you have to identify it and then resolve it. And your headline has just 25 characters.

You are going to need to get creative.

Let’s continue with the mattress.

How about:

  • Bad back? Problem solved.
  • Sleep well with Doze®
  • Sleep secrets revealed

5. Use numbers

Numbers convince.

They are seen as facts rather than opinions.

Use them and your headline carries the ring of truth.

Check out Aviva’s ad below. 

It is somehow more believable or more real than NFU’s. That is the power of numbers.

(And, even if the body copy tells us only 10% of customers get car insurance for as little as this, thanks to the headline many will have already clicked through.)

6. Put it in quote marks

This one requires little more than sleight of hand.

Take your headline. Now put it in quotation marks.

Now watch your clickthrough rate rise.

In part it works because your ad stands out: no other headlines use quotation marks. But it also works on a psychological level in the same way that social proof does: it looks like an endorsement.

  • A great night’s sleep
  • “A great night’s sleep”

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