Google AdWords Case Study: Individual Words

Have you ever thought about the individual words used often in PPC ads and their impact on your conversions?

I recently performed a statistical analysis on several hundred Google AdWords ads while paying attention to individual words and their impact on clickthrough/conversion rates.

The first task was to determine the success of each ad being analyzed. The next task was to simply look for the occurrence of a list of words in each ad while noting whether the ad was successful or not. The results were compiled and a lot of words were removed from the list due to a lack of sufficient data needed to come up with a statistically significant result.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the details and I’ll get to the point. Here is a list of some of the words found much more often in profitable ads than in ads that didn’t produce a profit (at least for the industry that I used in my study, but the results are general enough that they *should* be applicable to all organizations):

accessories, an, best, buy, by, causes, cheap, discount, discover, easily, fast, find, guaranteed, has, improve, increase, lower, more, nationwide, near, need, of, on, one, order, payments, powered, pricing, rates, reduce, stop, superb, the, view, what, with

Here is a list of the words found much more often in ads that were NOT profitable:

affordable, after, and, as, at, before, better, help, here, how, else, excellent, experience, for, led, method, money, naturally, now, options, photos, search, secret, secrets, sell, step, to, try, unlimited, us, who, you, your

Keep in mind that correlation does not prove causality. I’m not saying that all ads that use the word “excellent” are doomed to being unprofitable. However, the study does suggest that a statistically significant percentage of ads that use the word “cheap” are profitable and a majority of those that use the word “affordable” are not profitable.

If your ads currently use the word “affordable” (a word from the “bad” list above) and you change that word to “cheap” (a word from the “good” list above), will your profitability increase? There are no guarantees. An unlimited number of factors are involved that could impact that result. Not ALL ads that use the word “cheap” were profitable. Not ALL ads that use the word “affordable” were unprofitable. However, the use of the word “cheap” instead of “affordable” is more likely to improve your profitability.

Split testing is still necessary to discover what ads truly outperform others, but why not start out with the words that are most likely to be profitable in your ad copy?

Take a look at your current ad copy (not just for Google AdWords as I did, for any ad campaigns you’re currently running) and see if you can find any of the words in the “bad” list that can be replaced by words in the “good” list. Run a split test and see if your profitability increases. It can’t hurt to put some time and effort into increasing conversions, the worst that could happen is you’ll learn something new. And if you keep at it, you may come away with some ads that perform better than you even imagined. Just by changing a few individual words.

*note – this article is actually part of another test, the results of which will be posted at a later date


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