Creating Ads people want to clickGet your ads noticed with these simple tips! Consumers have been conditioned by a flood of spammy banner ads to distrust and ignore online advertisements, which makes your job as a legitimate advertiser more difficult. Using your allotted space, you have a tiny window of opportunity to catch the viewer’s eye, and more importantly, overcome their misgivings and entice them to click through. These simple tips will help you win over potential customers and make your advertising dollars more effective.

1. Keep your ad specific

You might be tempted to generalize to reach a broader audience, but you need to accept that you won’t reach everyone with a single ad. If you sell outdoor gear, for example, don’t expect users to click on some vague ad about camping in search of something that might be useful to them. Instead, create individual ads for hot items in your inventory: hiking boots, tents, utility knives, whatever, so that someone interested in buying a utility knife can get right to it. Anything you can do to shorten the distance between clicking your ad and making a purchase is worth the effort.

2. Pay attention to keywords

Because the average consumer is unlikely to give your ad more than a glance, using keywords that spark their interest is more likely to get their attention than elegant prose. Creativity is essential to a good ad, but don’t neglect to include the specific words a potential customer is looking for. Google automatically bolds any words or phrases in your ad that were included in the user’s search–so the more of these keywords you include, the more your ad stands out. It’s the same principle as item 1–don’t make the customer do your job for you. Ads that succeed offer exactly what the customer is looking for, in the clearest language possible.

3. Invite the user to act

This is more than inviting them to “find out” or “learn more” about your product. An effective ad might say, “Book your hotel today for 15% off”, or “Get a free quote in five minutes”. The idea is that nobody wants to “learn more” about hotels or insurance–they want to get a quote, book a room, and get on with their lives. The customer should know exactly what’s in it for them–why they want to click your ad.

4. Be (slightly) different from your competitors

The limitations of specificity and including keywords may limit your creativity a little bit, but strive to make your ad stand out by incorporating a small twist. Ads for most common services stick tight to formula, so when you Google “flash games” you get three or four nearly identical ads, which is great news for the one advertiser who shakes it up–for example, you might offer “quick flash games” or “shooter flash games”. If their ads are vague and yours are specific, you give customers a reason to click, while your competitors’ ads look like background noise.

5. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and style

A well-written ad isn’t guaranteed to succeed, but a poorly-written one is almost guaranteed to fail. Your ad doesn’t have to be poetry, but nothing raises red flags for a consumer (and Google) quicker than poorly-written copy. Overseas spam farms have trained savvy consumers to immediately associate incorrect English with scams and malware; so unless you want your ad to look like it was written by a deposed Nigerian prince, write carefully.

6. Keep an eye on your analytics

The previous five have been general rules, but your advertising model will have its own quirks that can’t be summed up so neatly. Over time, you can learn everything you need to know just by seeing what works. It’s easy to figure out how much you’re paying for each sale that comes through your ads, so set a threshold (“Each sale shouldn’t cost me more than X amount, or X percent of the sale price), and set a time limit to pull the plug on underperforming ads. When you decide to modify your ad, make only one tweak at a time, so you can isolate which factors are working and which aren’t.