What Is The Most Important Part Of An Advertisment?

Traditional direct marketing theory and testing shows that inquiry returns are often highest when an advertisement has a catchy headline. This is also useful theory to apply to online marketing, when, often, all you’ve got to grab peoples’ attention is a short phrase and/or description.

One book I keep coming back to is “Tested Advertising Methods”, by John Caples. While some of the theory and examples are getting long in the tooth, the underlying theory of appealing to self-interest is sound and as relevant today as it ever was.

Luckily, with PPC, we’re got an excellent environment in which to test ads against one another, and quickly determine the results.

So, what makes for a catchy headline?

1. Self Interest – great headlines appeal to the readers self-interest. What is in it for me? For example: “Make $1000 a day on Google alone”.

2. News – Give news. For example, “Search Marketing Industry Collapses”.

3. Curiosity – Arouse curiosity in the reader. Questions are good. “Are You Using These Top Ten Blackhat Techniques?”

Of the three, it has been found that #1 – Self Interest is by far the most powerful. Curiosity is the weakest, although it very much depends on the context and the audience.

If you’re tweaking an Adwords campaign, try these long-established direct marketing tactics:

  • appeal to self interest
  • suggest the quick and easy over the time consuming and difficult
  • if you’ve got a new product or service, make sure people know it is “NEW!”
  1. vistadivine.comvistadivine.com11-06-2006

    Hey Peter,

    Do you have any idea what heading I can use for a directory on Adwords.


  2. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo11-06-2006

    I recommend you grab a copy of that book. One thing they advocate is a lot of split/run testing. Go with what works, drop the losers.

  3. vistadivine.comvistadivine.com11-07-2006

    Where can I buy that book!


  4. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo11-07-2006

    Amazon has it.


    I’d agree with the sentiments stated in the reviews…

  5. King CobraKing Cobra09-01-2008

    With PPC you want to tend to go the other way. You only want to catch the big fish meaning the ones likely to convert and by catching the more marginal fish with better copy this will drive down profitability.

    King Cobra Poker

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