Branded copy has a positive impact on ad performance: NetElixer

Branded copy has a positive impact on ad performance: NetElixer

Examining over 60,000 Google AdWords Expanded Text Ads, NetElixir's 'Ad Copy Championship' looks at the choices that drove the highest conversion.

The ability for a copywriter to evoke emotions and actions remains critical to the success of an advertising campaign, with digital analytics providing additional insight into the words that result in the greatest clickthroughs and conversions.

The first Ad Copy Championship report by NetElixir offers an insight into the copy levers that drive clicks and conversions across over 60,000 Google AdWords.

Spanning between February and September 2017, the research examines a range of ad copy choices within search marketing for nine verticals, segmenting copy performance between clicks and conversions.

In terms of generating clicks, the top-performing ad copy choices were

1. 'Shop Now'

With the exception of home furnishings and food, "Shop Now" as an ad copy choice outperformed "Buy Now". The report notes that food is an impulse category and the search is based on immediate intent, with the goal of completing an instant purchase. The word "shop" doesn’t communicate the same sense of speed or urgency as "buy" does.

As for the high performance of "buy" for home furnishings, the report hints at the customer journey having decided on the brand through social platforms, initiating a search based on purchase intent and not browsing intent.

2. 'Fast Shipping'

The race between 'fast shipping' and 'free shipping' was a tie in terms of click effectiveness. The report found that the searchers want speed or savings for the stationery category, switching preferences for home furnishings and clothing.

3. 'High Quality'

Clothing as a product category and campaigns around promotions performed better when quality was the main focus of the ad copy versus "wide variety". Conversions were also higher.

4. 'Now'

In the battle between 'now' and 'today', only one evoked a sense of speed, with 'now' winning as the most clicked word choice in ad copy for animal products, clothing, food, hobbies, home furnishings, and stationery. The data echo the insights stated above. Clicks will be higher for products that are based on impulse buys, repeat habitual purchases and categories where search represents the conversion side of the customer journey.


It’s important to reiterate the staple of digital marketing advice: there is no one size fits all approach. The best approach will always be to test multiple copy choice and iterate around conversion optimization.

The report recommends advertisers and agencies experiment with Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI), an advanced feature in Google AdWords that changes ad copy to match the query to the user.

Marketers with access to paid tools for customer journey mapping should be able to adjust ad copy depending on which part of the buyer decision cycle search plays a role. If it’s the conversion side of the journey, the above keywords should make up the majority of the A/B tests. 

But if search represents the awareness or consideration stage of the journey, the report says, marketers should rely on DKI, branded keywords, and the inclusion of trademark symbols to speed along the path to trust and purchase.

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