Should You Rewrite Your Ad Copy?

Paid search advertising can be quite the challenge. You have campaigns, keywords and bids to optimize and rewriting ad copy takes time—is changing your ad copy worth the effort?

Honestly, amongst all the other moving pieces in your paid search campaigns, it can be easy to neglect your ad copy. However, your ad copy really does affect your campaigns in a big way.

You can have the perfect keywords, bids and campaign structure, but if you’re showing the right audience the wrong ad copy, do you think you’ll get many clicks?

The right ad copy allows you to make the most of all your other paid search optimizations and can significantly improve your click-through rates, conversion rates and cost-per-conversion.

Case in Point

For example, we recently started managing a client’s AdWords account. Prior to starting with us, they had been getting okay results, but they wanted to increase the profitability of their campaigns.

Their account was actually set up fairly well—with the exception of their ad copy. The had the essential keywords and other targeting elements in place, but their ad copy left much to be desired.

We started optimizing their ad copy. We improved their CTAs, added some special characters and capitalization and updated their landing pages to match the messaging of our new ad copy.

That was all.

We left their keywords, bids and other campaign setting alone. All we changed was their ad copy. Now, this might seem like a simple change, but the results were truly impressive:

Bar chart in showing why ad copy matters

Which ads do you think we rewrote?

The rewritten ads performed so much better that the conversion rate (not just click-through rate) increased 400% and cost-per-conversion decreased by 97%!

Now, simply rewriting your ad copy won’t produce these sorts of results every time, but clearly an ad copy rewrite can make a big difference for your business.

Tips for Rewriting Ad Copy

So, if rewriting ad copy can do such great things for your paid search campaigns, the question is, what is the best way to approach rewriting your ads?

There are a lot of different ways to approach ad copy, but they all basically come down to the following 3 ideas:

1. Make an Emotional Appeal

90% of the decision-making process happens subconsciously. In other words, if you want people to click and convert, you need to make an emotional appeal that resonates with your audience.

As you think about the best ways to try and evoke emotion in your target audience, remember, people search online for a reason. They have a pain point and they want it fixed. Your ads should reflect that pain point.

To show you how this works, let’s take a look at the paid search ads you’ll find if you type “renew passport” into Google:

Google search engine results for renew passport

Most of the time, if you’re searching online for information about renewing your passport, you either want to avoid the line at the passport office or you have a trip coming up soon…and you don’t have a current passport.

Both of these ads do a great job of addressing these pain points.

Once you’ve made people feel like you understand their real problem, you can then talk about how you fix that problem. If people feel like your business will make their pain go away, they’re much more likely to click.

2. Make a Logical Appeal

Even though emotion is the dominant factor in the decision-making process, people still like to feel like they are making a rational decision.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to use numbers and statistics in your copy. People love stats and numbers. After all, numbers are concrete, right?

For example, take a look at the ads that show up if you search for “project management software”:

Google search engine results for project management software

Based on these ads, do you think price or user base matters more to these companies’ target audience?

Zoho says they’re preferred by 1.5 million users. Workzone points out that they have been around for 15+ years. Smartsheet talks about how over 7,000,000 people have tried them out.

Do you see any mention of pricing? Me either.

Given the content in these ads, it looks like most people want to know that their project management software has been used by a lot of people. They don’t want buggy startup software.

To address this concern, these companies have all included data about their user base to assure their potential customers that, yes, their software has a proven track record of reliability.

If you want people to feel like you’ve satisfied their logical sniff test, try to find ways to include numbers or statistics in your copy. You might have to try a few different figures before you find the right number, but adding numbers can do wonders for your click-through rate!

3. Include Your Target Keywords

Have you ever bought something you thought was new and unique, only to discover that everyone suddenly seems to have one?

It’s not just you. And, no, you aren’t crazy (or a trendsetter). Psychologists actually have a term for this sort of phenomenon—they call it “selective attention.“

Essentially, selective attention is the brain’s way of coping with all of the different stimuli out there. We can only pay attention to so many things, so our brains get very good at filtering out the stuff that doesn’t really pertain to us.

As a result, you don’t think about the color, make and model of every car on the freeway. But, if you’ve just bought a white Audi TT, that particular car becomes important and you start noticing it everywhere.

While this might undermine your sense of individuality, it’s actually a very handy phenomenon for paid search advertisers.

When someone types something in on Google, that search becomes important to their brain. Now, the internet is full of distractions, so to sort through all that mess, the brain uses selective attention to look for the keywords it just typed in.

After all, if those keywords show up again, it must be a relevant search, right?

Now, search engines get how important selective perception is. In fact, Google reinforces selective perception by bolding the keywords you use in their search results. That way, you can quickly find a relevant search result (which is how Google remains in business).

Take a look. Here are the search results for “travel to india”:

Google search engine results for the keyword travel to India

Look at how obvious those keywords are—these ads practically scream, “I’m the answer you’re looking for!”

With Google-assisted selective perception in play, your text ads need to include your target keywords. Yes, writing different ad copy for your keywords will take some extra work, but do you want selective perception to work for you…or against you?


Although rewriting your ad copy can be a pain, it’s a critically important part of any good paid search optimization effort. Sometimes, simply rewriting your ad copy can deliver incredible results.

The best ad copy appeals to your audience’s emotional and logical sides while using selective perception to maximize ad visibility. Succeed on these three fronts and you’re well on your way to writing truly compelling ad copy.

How do you approach ad copy? Do you think it’s worth it to continually try new copy out? Any recommendations you’d add to this list?

This guest post comes from the SpyFu community. Jacob is a passionate entrepreneur on a mission to help businesses achieve online marketing success. As the Founder & CEO of Disruptive Advertising, Jacob has created an award-winning, world-class organization that has helped hundreds of businesses grow using pay-per-click advertising and conversion rate optimization.

  • Discuss Much

    Great article. Re-affirmed a lot of what I have been doing, AND I learned some NEW stuff also. Keep up the good work, you ragamuffins!

    • AgentSidra

      This is my new favorite line of encouragement. Ragamuffins, onward!

      And yes, keep up the good work of what’s working for you. Rock on!