Whether you're focusing your digital advertising efforts on Google Display Network or on more unique platforms, there are many decisions to make. Multiple text options, wording choices, design and layout factors are all creative ad variations which can earn clicks and sales for your ad campaign. Small changes to your ads can result in significant improvements in those outcomes – for example, simply changing the wording on the second line of text can boost a CTR by a full two percent, but the results for each brand will be different – making it important to continuously test new variations of each ad element.
Text & Word Choice
The wording is one of the most obvious ways to vary your creative in order to optimize ad campaigns. The following are some of the newer and less common text variations that you should be testing.
Brand Name in Second Headline
Another relatively simple headline test may not only drive a greater click-through rate for your ad but also help to build brand recognition over time. Even for brands that aren't household names, using your brand name in the second headline can bring additional authority and trust to your ad campaigns. As part of a larger strategy, its inclusion in your advertising can help you develop a stronger brand presence.
Specific Values as Proof Points
While any business can claim to be the best or most popular, most consumers have learned to see beyond these seemingly impressive yet vague and unproven boasts. By contrast, specific numbers have more meaning when it comes to selling potential customers on your product or service. Consider highlighting the number of sales or customers or success percentages for your clients to prove your brand's value. You can also test number format, comparing your results with abbreviated numbers to written out values.
Creative Language (or Spelling)
The language you use in your ads will depend greatly on your brand identity – which should be based on your audience. Within those guidelines, however, there is a great deal of space for being creative, especially if your brand has more of a unique personality and voice. Experimenting with more casual language and spelling for your headlines and calls to action can give your ads a human touch that brings more sales, as long as you understand the language that will resonate with your customers.
Format & Design
The structure and visual design of your ads can also be a key element of not only your ad's ranking in AdWords or other ad auctions, but also in the amount of attention it receives from your ideal leads. You should test the small look and layout changes below to see what performs best for your audience.
You've probably become used to writing your first and second ad headlines in a particular format. For example, you may put the description of your business or offer in the first line, then its primary benefit in the second. Simply running a test that switches your first and second headlines can yield surprising results, as leading with the benefit may better persuade leads of the value at a quick glance.
There are no set requirements, outside of length limitations, on the different text sections of an ad. As a result, your call to action doesn't have to be in a specific location – and you may find that you get better results by putting your call to action in the first or second headline instead of at the end of the description.
For AdWords in general, ad extensions of any type provide on average 10 percent to 15 percent increase in click-through rate in ads that are otherwise identical. Promotion extensions have joined call extensions, price extensions and location extensions as one of the most recent options you can include in your ad campaign in AdWords. By highlighting current sales and special events, these extensions will help you stand out and increase the incentive to click through to your landing or product page.
Especially in branding and advertising, color has a powerful psychological influence. Different colors have varied meanings that are sometimes universal. As such, they can stir up a variety of emotions, even unconsciously. Understanding the influence of colors and properly incorporating them into your ads can make a large difference in your click-through rate and sales.
The right image can draw the attention of your ideal customers and produce better results, especially if it supports the text content. However, not every image works for every size ad. Google AdWords has more than 20 different ad sizes, including square/rectangle, skyscraper, leaderboard, and mobile formats. Because different sites use different sizes, for the best results you need to design for each of these sizes. Google allows you to preview how your ad will display in different sizes so you can choose the image or size that works best.
Once you've decided on the variations you're going to test, there are several options for identifying the variations that are most effective. In AdWords, the built-in Campaign Drafts and Experiments feature helps you begin creating new ads based on your current campaigns. It may take some time to get the combination of features that make your best-performing creative, but the benefits are great once you do.