How To Write a Great Ad on Google Adwords

A question was posed on the Google Adwords forums by a mortgage broker regarding his Adwords quality score:

“Hey guys,

I have a campaign for my mortgage business. I’m starting small to get the hang of things. 2 ad groups, each ad group has 2 ads.

Keywords are VERY targeted and ads carefully written following best practices. Landing page is very relevant.

I’m happy with the CTR around 4% for each ad. But QS for most keywords is around 3/10 even for what I consider to be the most relevant, profitable, and well performing keywords.

Is this a result of Google looking into their database for this industry and basically giving an intrinsically low QS to these types of keywords/ads or could I actually expect to raise the QS to 7,8. or 9 out of 10? (e.g. mortgage/loan type keywords)”

Here is my reply to his question, as posted on this Google Adwords forum thread.

Dan: “You’re already doing the tactical stuff well. Let’s go up a level or two and get strategic.

Try thinking about the problem in a different way, and from a higher level.

In this case, I would go back to basics and focus on research.

Let’s use a strategy that focuses on an in-depth research process to produce a better ad.

In my opinion, all mortgage brokers are the same, and the only difference is chemistry with the client – in other words, who one would like to work with more.

All mortgage brokers are going to claim generic stuff such as great rates and great service.

You have to get more specific than that, otherwise you won’t stand out.

At this moment, you might not know the exact hot button words that will trigger people to call or click.

The reason is because you have no research method, and haven’t conducted research beyond your own experience. Don’t let that hinder you.

Here is what I recommend.

Use this 3 step research process. Write a better ad. It may improve your quality scores. If not, at least you’ll have an ad that performs better for your business goals (to make the phone ring more often with high quality prospects).

Step 1: go through hundreds of customer reviews about mortgage brokers.

Collect any words or phrases that seem to be repeated in a spreadsheet. These become your general ‘themes’. Feel free to copy and paste single words, or even entire reviews into your themes spreadsheet. You can even bold individual words in these reviews as well.

Also collect some unconventional words or phrases from the reviews you read (e.g. had the cutest little dog in his office). You never know what unexpected triggers might move people.

By collecting and codifying these words you will gradually learn what people want in a mortgage broker. You’ll have much more information than your competitors, and we all know that knowledge is power.

I would imagine few, if any, of your competitors will use this amount of rigor in their ad research.

Step 2: List your trigger words in order of priority.

Once you list out these words, the ads will nearly write themselves, because you’ll know the top 3 trigger words (aka benefits) that people want in a mortgage broker.

Step 3. Follow this ad template exactly

(Call Extension Goes Here)
Word 1 & Word 2.
Word 3. Call Now!
Display URL
Learn About Us – See Our Services – Check Our Prices – Contact Us Today

Here’s how your ad would look, assuming that your research process produced the following 3 words as the most common and compelling ‘themes’:

Word 1: Fast
Word 2: Friendly
Word 3: Great Rates

Vancouver, BC (604)-999-8888
Fast & Friendly. Great Rates.
Call Now To Learn More!
www . mortgage broker in vancouver .com
Learn About Us – See Our Services – Check Our Prices – Call Mark Today

Use capital letters at the beginning of all words. This makes the whole ad look like a headline. Also, you are allowed to use a single exclamation mark in your ad, so use it at the end of your call-to-action.

Also, ensure you use sitelink extensions, and that you use 3+ words in each sitelink instead of one (e.g. Call Mark Today vs. contact). If you show up in the top 1-2 spots these longer sitelinks will stack 2 vertically, in 2 columns – thus making your ad longer vertically. An ad that takes up more screen real estate will take up more awareness above the fold.

Do you see how the above ad works? By focusing on 3 separate 1-2 word phrases you pack a lot into the first line (benefits). The second line is the call to action.

Would you complain if people called you without clicking? That’s called a free lead in my world. Call extensions are such an amazing marketing tool. Use them – your CTR may go up (mine did) because your ad gets bigger, and it looks more legitimate.

Use all of the sitelink extentions that you can (location extension, call extension, callout extension, etc) because it will make your ad look ‘beefier’.

If you want to chat further about this research method or writing high-performing Adwords ads for your mortgage business feel free to visit my website to get my contact information – would be glad to speak further!

Let’s chat further.


P.S. I would imagine few, if any, of your competitors will use this amount of rigor in their ad research, so you’ll run a better ad, and chances are they won’t copy your exact trigger words because they want to run something different, so you’ll own those words!

My Highest-Performing Adwords Campaign To Date (Plus the Surprisingly Effective Way I Organize My Ad Groups)

Here are the results from my all-time best Adwords campaign:

Campaign Report - From Adwords Account

Or, if you prefer, here is a screenshot of the data in Excel:

Campaign Report - Excel - Screenshot

If you would prefer to play in Excel then download the spreadsheet by clicking this link:

The Surprisingly Effective Way I Organize My Adwords Campaigns

Instead of using one campaign for everything I prefer to have 19 separate campaigns for all possible campaign types, ad types and targeting types.

See the above screenshots for proof that I am actually running 19 separate campaigns inside this particular Adwords account.

Using proper campaign names is the easiest way to organize your ad groups.

I prefer to include the campaign type, ad type and targeting type directly in the name of the campaign. This enables me to effectively move between campaigns without wondering what their settings are.

The Exact Naming Method I Use For My 19 Different Adwords Campaigns

Here is the naming method I use for each of my campaigns:

Campaign type (search or display) – ad type (banner or text) – targeting type (keyword, topic, interest)

Here is an example:

Display – Banner – Keywords

You can see more examples for campaign names by looking at the screenshots or spreadsheet above.

What This Means

The business owners and agencies who are able make Adwords work are the ones who run the tightest ship.

Each ad is designed to repel unqualified prospects, and attract only the most qualified prospects in a tightly defined geographic area.

Using this method, every campaign will use a single network type (e.g. search vs. display), targeting method (keywords vs. topics vs. interests) and ad type (banner vs. text) to enable complete control of the budget for all campaigns throughout the day.

Adwords is built for razor-sharp targeting.

If you can learn how to ‘play the game the Adwords way’ you can harness its potential to grow your business by increasing: attention, awareness, interest, desire and action – AAIDA – for your target customer base.

Don’t give up on Adwords as a marketing tool until you’ve worked with someone good who understands how to properly plan, organize and execute highly targeted campaigns that produce results.

Adwords can sometimes have secondary effects that are worth paying for e.g. increasing referrals from existing customers because they see your ad, so be patient and invest for the long term!

The “Eager To Pay” Test

Customers in both B2B and B2C are eager to pay for certain things.

For other things you almost have to pull their teeth out to get them to pay.

An easy way to analyze whether people want to pay for something or not is something I call the “Eager To Pay Test”.

The Eager To Pay Test

The fact that your target customers are able and willing to pay for your offerings is implied.

If people aren’t able and/or willing to pay for your products or services then your offer isn’t providing enough of the right type of value (monetary or otherwise).

If they are able and willing to pay then it all comes down to how eager they are to pay.

Are They Fired Up?

If they’re fired up about your offer and thinking: “yeah, let’s do this” with their credit card in hand then you may have a winner.

Is It Something Legal That Will Make Them Money in the Short Term?

If your offer isn’t immediately perceived to be something that will make them money in the short term then you’ll have to work 2-3X as hard on your sales and marketing sequences to convince people to pay.

Most people have their defenses up against most offers most of the time. To break through that wall you have make a really great offer that will benefit them – ideally in the short term.

B2B is easier in some ways than B2C. If you can make a strong business case that you’ll make someone lots of money in the short term you’ll almost always find someone who will listen to your pitch either online and offline.

Great businesses are built by making strong offers to targeted customers who are able, willing, and eager to pay.

If your customers are not able, willing and eager to pay then try formulating a new offer that benefits them in the short term money-wise.

If you can make people eager to pay for your offerings then the sales and cashflow will eventually come.