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Pay Per Click Advertising Tip #7 - Ad Headline Basics

By jameszol
Published on November 16, 2007

You know it, you’ve heard it before, and the number always changes:

You have 3 to 7 seconds to capture the attention of your potential prospect and get them to click on your ad.

What are they doing in that 3 to 7 seconds? They’re scanning headlines, blue links, and possibly domains…if you want them to read more, you have to have a relevant, compelling headline.

I used the search query “HP Printers” for the following opinions. :)

Bad Headline

Sometimes, a bad headline can be self explanatory. I was looking for the generally specific item “hp printers”…not home and business gifts! Lucky advertiser because they don’t have to pay for impressions. Not so lucky advertiser because they probably get a lot of clicks from people that realize it wasn’t what they were looking for.

Good Headline

This headline is very relevant to my search query. I was looking for “HP Printers” and that is exactly what I got. The simple fact that I was already intent on looking for HP Printers makes it easy to create a good headline for me. All you have to do is make the headline the same as my search query and chances are high that I’ll click on your ad and like what I see…and I might even buy something, that is what you want - right? :)

Great Headlines

Almost every ad had the bold headline “HP Printers” so there was not any headline differentiation for that search query. Here are a few headlines I would test to see if I can pull clicks and conversions away from my competition:

New HP Printers

Quality HP Printers

Buy HP Printers

Order HP Printers

HP Printers On Sale

Quality HP Printers

Take Action

Learn these basic principles for writing headlines and you can improve your click through rate - and your conversion rate:

1. Give the user what they want - make it easy for them to visit your landing page by specifically including your targeted keyword or words in the headline.

2. Be a unique competitor by adding a descriptive word, emotional word, or call to action in your headline.

3. Don’t forget rules 1 and 2. :)

More Resources

Copyblogger’s Headline Category - A lot of great blog posts about writing headlines.

Headline Analyzer - Advanced Marketing Institute created this fun tool for analyzing headlines (not specific to ads).

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