Writing effective ad copy for selling subscriptions through PPC

The search landscape today is busier than ever, therefore writing effective PPC ads which stand out from the crowd is extremely important. Your ultimate goal should always be to use ad copy which delivers the best conversion rate % (and the highest number of paid subscriptions), within your target cost per acquisition.

Understanding what motivates people and attracts their attention is therefore key, and this blog aims to give you some tips to help you write compelling ads, and also shows you how to analyse their performance.


1. Know your customer

First understand the profile of your new potential subscribers - and what motivates them.

  • What do they want?
  • What interests them?
  • What kind of language would they use? e.g. should you use ‘Check out our amazing deals’ or ‘View our great offers’ in your ads?
  • What sort of punctuation would appeal? Exclamation marks, or not!? Should you use capital letters to help give IMPACT, or not?


2. Grab their attention

The opening headline is the first thing the reader of your ad will look at, and you’ve only got a short space to get their attention. So make sure your headline and copy is enticing and that your ad stands out from all the others on the search landscape.


There’s general agreement that a headline should grab a reader emotionally and compel them to immediately read on into the rest of the ad copy. But there’s a lot of disagreement as to whether a long or short headline works better. Only by testing will you know what generates the best result for your brand.


3. Highlight your USPs

Grab your potential subscriber’s attention and ensure that they click on your ad (as opposed to your competitors) by mentioning what makes your brand special.


Does your magazine have a particular tagline you can use, has it won awards, or is the leading magazine in its area? If so, then test including these in your ad copy.


In terms of your subscription offer:

  • Do you give away a free gift with your subscription you could highlight?
  • Do you have an introductory trial offer, with a low £/$ price?
  • Is your % saving off the newsstand very high?
  • Do you offer free digital access?


4. Sell the benefits of your brand

This is particularly important when running ads for non-brand keywords. Make sure you explain how your magazine is going to benefit the customer personally.


There are generally two things that motivate people: the promise of gain, or the fear of loss. Of the two, the fear of loss is the stronger motivator. So consider how you could appeal to people’s fear of loss, or their desire to know secrets about something e.g. test using text such as ‘Learn how to’, ‘Don’t miss out’, and ‘Find out’ in your ad copy.


5. Seed the ‘keyword’ for relevancy

Your ad copy is the start of a user’s journey towards signing up as a subscriber. You need to ensure that you are conveying an appropriate message, which reflects the user’s original search.


The ad groups you construct should therefore bear this in mind. The ad copy you use should directly correlate to the specific seed keyword the user entered when first searching. And this in turn should correlate to a relevant landing page with the seed keyword included in the headline of the page.


Tailoring your messaging this way avoids any wastage and expensive, irrelevant clicks. It’s tempting to use the same ad copy across lots of ad groups and just change the headline, but try to resist. It’s important to try to make the ad unique to an ad group and be as targeted as possible.


There’s also the additional benefit that Google will reward you for keyword relevancy by highlighting in bold the words included in your ad copy which correlate to the original keyword.


6. Use the display URL to your advantage

This is an area of ad copy testing which is often under used but is important as the display URL can be used in the headline of your ad. As long as the domain in the display URL is the same as the destination URL then you can test lots of different things as a prefix or suffix. For example you can use:

  • The seed keyword as a suffix e.g. if the seed keyword is ‘beauty tips’ you could use www.magazine123.com/beautytips
  • Capitalisation to make the display URL stand out e.g. www.Magazine123.com/BeautyTips
  • Different prefixes e.g. info.magazine123.com or trial.magazine123.com
  • The offer as a suffix e.g.www.magazine123.com/trial or www.magazine123.com/4freeissues


7. Always include a CTA (Call To Action)

As you want some to take an action after reading your ad, you must be clear, precise and directive in the copy you use. For offer related ads, use action words such as ‘buy’, ‘try’, ‘claim’ and ‘get’ e.g. ‘Special Offer - 3 Issues for £1’ does not include a CTA, so simply change to ‘ Special Offer – get 3 issues for £1 today’.

Also consider injecting scarcity e.g. using words such as ‘today’, ‘limited’ and ‘now’.


8. Check grammar and punctuation

Check your grammar. Check your spelling. Don’t use a mix of upper and lower case, gimmicky punctuation, text speak or excessive use of capitals or symbols. Google will penalise you. And you can’t use superlatives which aren’t independently verified. e.g. ‘cheapest, or trademarked terms, or ‘click here’.


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How does Jellyfish CoNNect assess effective ad copy?

Some agencies measure an effective ad copy against the click-through-rate (CTR) to the web page. The higher the CTR, the more successful the ad.


Correct? Well, not always!


Jellyfish CoNNect works on a Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) model and we regard ad copy success as a balance between a combination of:

  • CTR
  • Conversion Rate
  • Overall CPA


When we launch a new campaign or ad group, we generally test a qualified ad copy against a non-qualified ad copy to see which results in the highest volume of conversions and the lowest CPA.

  • A qualified ad may see a lower CTR and Quality Score (QS) and higher Cost per Clicks (CPCs), but may result in the highest conversion rate % and the lowest CPA.
  • A non-qualified ad may result in a higher CTR and QS and lower CPCs, but high click volumes may not convert and will increase the overall CPA.


So always make sure you test!

And when testing, it’s important to:

  • Set clear objectives
  • Run your test for a set period of time (don’t forget about it indefinitely as you could be losing potential subs or spending too much money)
  • When measuring your results, if you’re just comparing one ad against another, it can be difficult to analyse which has ‘won’. Therefore it’s important to analyse the data and work out how the ad would have performed if had been the only ad running by extrapolating how many clicks and conversions you would have generated, and how much revenue.


For more information about our approach to PPC and how we successfully engage prospects and convert them into subscribers, please email us at hello@jellyfishconnect.com or call us on 01737 749640.



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