Seasons Change, Ads Get Borked

(If this is your first time reading a search post from me: DSW are a very business-related keyword which unfortunately this blog manages to rank higher than my business on.  Apologies for the obfuscation: D01ch S1ght W0rds.  In queries and ad text its always spelled out normally.)

Well, the upcoming return of teachers to school has apparently massively shifted the number (waaaaaaaaay up) and the behavior of people searching for my search terms, and my previously decently performing ads have sunk to about 10% CR (Yahoo has also sunk, although the magnitude was a lot less).  I’m trying a couple of things to get them back up:

1)  My most common search term is a variation on “DSW list”.  I always hit that person with DSW bingo instead, which gets about a 1.5%ish CTR and formerly had a pretty decent conversion.  I decided to test actually giving them the lists, since I have them on my website and the page they are on tries to “upsell” people to the free demo about every other word.  The only problem is that for any of these search queries the #1 organic result is just as good as my site (although slightly less navigable).  So I decided to make my add stand out in the crowd:

DSW Lists
Free lists.
No kidding. 

Given that almost everybody is using the full character allotment in every line, the white space immediately catches the eye.  That plus the fact that this very closely matches their query has caused the CTR rate on the ad to jump to about 6%ish (triple to quadruple my best previous performer for this ad group), and (this was the major shocker) the conversion rate is higher, too!  Its a shade below 20% after two days (umm, boo) but given that the rest of my ads have been at 5-15% for a week I’m considering keeping it (this means my CPA has shot past 60 cents — egads!  Call the medics!).

Also, I noticed that every single ad on Google AdWords is the same: “We sell X.  Come get it!”.  Boo for lack of creativity.  I know the character limit is a little constraining but surely there is a way to get meaningful copy in four lines — the Japanese have been writing sub-17 letter poems from what is effectively a 200 word vocabulary for 500 years and they haven’t gotten bored of them yet.   (This is even more impressive if you understand how they are constrained in subjects — autumn, for example, “leaves” you with radiant colors, dragonflies, and thats about it.)

So anyhow, with poetry as my inspiration and an appreciation for the corny-goofballness that a lot of elementary school teachers appreciate:

DSW Bingo
Roses are red, violets are blue,
Bingo makes students love you.

The early results suggest that I am a better programmer than a poet.

Explore posts in the same categories: advertising, AdWords, Yahoo, YSM

6 Comments on “Seasons Change, Ads Get Borked”

  1. Nick Hebb Says:

    Two comments:

    1) From my childrens’ school we got several lists of sight words. one was Dolch’s and the other was Fry’s. Have you tried that list too?

    2) A few good PPC ad copy sites:

  2. Patrick Says:

    Fry word lists? Years teaching English and I never heard of them. I guess thats what I get for scorning professional development courses 🙂 Thanks for the tip, I’ll see what I can do later.

  3. Nick Hebb Says:

    Just in case you think I’m pulling this out of my you know what, here’s a link:

    Based on the number of searchs for it, you could gain 10% market increase:

    — vs. —

    (You’d need to try all the different combos of fry|dolch+word|words+sight+list to get a better estimate of the comparative search counts.)

    Good luck.

  4. Patrick Says:

    Hehe, don’t worry, I trust you.

  5. Bobbie Says:

    I can’t find anywhere that clearly states why I would use Dolch vs. Fry and vice/versa. Is there a benefit to either list?

  6. Patrick Says:

    Speaking as an ex-English teacher, its largely what is traditional in your area. Pedologically they are all but identical.

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