26/04/21 Tom Berridge

Utilising creativity within PPC


Whether you’re new to online marketing or a seasoned veteran, anyone can appreciate how important creativity is in the development and support of a successful campaign. Yet this principle can often be overlooked or misunderstood when it comes to pay-per-click advertising. This blog is dedicated to turning that notion around by exploring the fundamentals of creativity; why it influences our activities and how we can use it to enhance our PPC strategy to better reach our targets.

Why Does Creativity Win?

Why wouldn't it? The past few months alone have shown us that you can quickly take hold of the public's attention with creativity - whether it’s with a chocolate caterpillar or an IKEA chair, people are desperate for new “outside the box” content. Take a seat and read on for an insight into ways we do it.

Aldi Cuthbert

It’s Not Just About Data

Creativity within PPC is at the heart of its success and allows you to stand out in, let’s face it, a pretty big crowd. I’m not talking from just an ad copy point of view either. Sure, a few killer headlines and descriptions will keep your boss happy and make a “nice to read” ad, but to truly stand out as a PPC machine you need to be creative in your entire approach.

The engine of PPC is a relatively simple set of tools and processes that is constantly evolving. It allows advertisers to serve increasingly appealing ads to consumers across multiple channels whilst giving back a granular dataset so they can rinse and repeat their success or learn from their failure. Easy, right?

Well, that part is. That’s why the PPC arena is so saturated and why you need to frequently step away from the data and step into creative thinking. If you want to be a creative PPC-er, you have to look at things from a different angle.

The Importance of Strategy in PPC

Strategy is a hugely important aspect of PPC. Your planned approach will determine how well you resonate with your audience. Trying different tones, different words or different messages can help you find what hits home best, but the first step is coming up with an engaging strategy for both your client and audience.

For example, imagine you’re working on a new account build for an eCommerce client. Let’s say they make personalised face masks and their brief is to drive more people to their site via Paid Search. What’s your strategy? You could easily jot down a quick combination of campaigns that cover all the bases of what ‘Corona Persona’ offer, but why not get creative at this stage?

Why don’t we look at a full-funnel approach targeting users throughout the purchase cycle to educate, influence and capture user intent. As a foundation, it may look like:

  • Top Funnel - Covid News/Vaccinations/Travel
  • High Funnel - Transmission rates, Covid rules and protection effectiveness
  • Medium Funnel - Generic face mask searches
  • Low Funnel - Personalised face masks
  • Bottom Funnel - Branded search

Couple this with a portfolio bidding strategy and shared budget for each funnel then break these campaigns out into as many ad groups as your keyword research, specific targeting and website structure demands. A single ad group might have a naming convention like:

Medium Funnel > Search > Reusable Masks > Novelty > Pop Culture Graphics > Film & TV

This enables you to tailor your messaging to different keyword themes and different audiences across all funnels. You can also adjust bidding at a more granular level and push and pull budgets to high performing areas.

Home alone mask

You now have everything you need to report to your client on how you boosted sales of their Macaulay Culkin, Home Alone mask by tailoring messaging to x demographic, in x location, with x bidding strategy, via x … and so on.

Granular. From Start to FInish

Although operating at a high level of granularity can mean more work initially when building a campaign or account, it opens up several other avenues to be creative down the line. One of which is utilising Dynamic Keyword Insertion. With a smaller keyword set per ad group you can use DKI to full effect across your ads to both boost performance and showcase your creative skill.

PPC: Advert Example

And depending on who or what you’re working on, you can bolster DKI further with dedicated landing pages like Unbounce, enabling you to plant your keywords across the entire user journey with Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR).

We do this effectively with Connexin by incorporating our keywords into search ads with DKI and tailoring the landing page using DTR. Keyword insertion means a user's search term is in our ad, right in front of them and text replacement ensures the copy on the landing page is relevant to the triggered keyword. Simple and effective - but it's only that way because of the work we put in from day one.

Example PPC Ad
Example Landing Page

Copy That Cuts Through The Noise

Creative copywriters mix information with inspiration and spin it into a sales message that will drive higher click-through rates and ultimately conversions. With this kind of writing, the focus will be on driving those clicks and converting visitors into customers.

Why do we want to drive higher click through rates? Well, exceeding expected CTRs drives higher quality scores and ultimately cheaper clicks or higher positioning in search results. By utilising the techniques we’ve already covered (and many others) you’ll also know that these increased clicks are higher quality traffic that’s more likely to convert.

We do this by creating engaging content that neatly blends copywriting with these techniques. The goal here is relevancy and everything we’ve gone through so far underpins this. Here’s a few pointers to help you on your way:

Question your audience to identify their problem followed by your solution

PPC: Question your audience

Use empathetic language to resonate with your target audiences problems

PPC: empathetic language

Experiment with creative call to actions to entice your audience

PPC: Experiment with creative call to actions

Find creative ways to blend keywords into copy for an 'organic' feel

PPC: Creative ways to blend keywords

Data & Strategy work. Creativity Makes Them Stick.

Combine creativity with strategy and the science of data to drive results. Your ads are targeted at people who are already looking for your products or services, so instead of depending on a mass audience to see your ads, you can promote to only the customers who are most likely to convert.

After all, knowing and therefore relating with your customers is the single most important advantage you can have in driving results.

Tom Berridge

A biddable devotee here to implement, optimise and manage PPC campaigns for a variety of clients.