The CTR Conundrum

New users of pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns likely get caught up in the click-through rate game. This little statistic often becomes the only measure of success for a given keyword. Google re-enforces this thinking by automatically deactivating keywords if they fall below a certain CTR threshold.

The problem with getting wrapped up in with the CTR-game is that too high a CTR can be indicative of an overly expensive campaign. The problem with a high CTR is that the ad is likely drawing in people that aren't going to convert. Perhaps because the copy promises something too good for people to pass up.

The solution to this problem is improving the ad title and description. Both elements need to appeal to searchers, be relevant to their search, and pre-qualify prospects in subtle ways. The first two items in the list are relatively easy to achieve. If the keywords you're bidding on are related to the content of your ad, you're most of the way there in terms of appeal and relevance. Much harder to is the pre-qualifying.

By pre-qualifying I mean providing hints in the copy to steer away certain people while attracting others. For example, if you're selling items in large quantities, you want to keep individual consumers from clicking on your ad. You could do this by using words like commercial or industrial. You can also make sure your product references are pluralized or even drop in a comment that you sell things in lots. All of these phrases will have the effect of chasing away anyone looking to buy just a single item

As another example, assume you're selling luxury items. In such cases you know that bargain-hunters aren't going to convert in to buyers, but they may click on your ad looking for a deal. Now you might be inclined to include prices in your add to scare away certain folks, but you run the risk of scaring your customers away too. Sometimes mentioning a price before establishing a relationship is to jarring. What you can do is sprinkle certain phrases in to your copy such as discerning buyer and sophisticated consumer.

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