PPC Ad Tips: Using Motivation to Make Users Click

Take a look at a pretty typical looking Google search-engine page:

We’re sure you’re familiar with it, but do you see what we see? Those two ads atop the page, as well as the five organic results beneath them, are all vying for attention. They’re fighting to be the ones who get clicked on.

How can you make sure that your ads are the ones getting clicked? What you’re actually asking yourself is:

How can I create PPC ads for lawyers or other professionals that motivates my audiences to click?

While we slave over endless reams of data to help us answer this question when we offer PPC management services to clients, sometimes the answer isn’t found in cold-hard numbers (imagine that!). Sometimes, we have to accept the fact that humans (i.e. our prospects) don’t always act rationally.

Our prospective customers often make snap judgments, and there’s logic behind why. We’d be exhausted if we applied our full critical thought process to every decision that comes our way. Of course, the type of product or service you offer will impact the level of rationale your prospects apply.

Someone, for example, choosing a retirement fund will apply far more effort to this decision than someone deciding which florist to choose.

But, regardless, it’s important to note that we don’t always use rationale when making online decisions; how then can we make sure that our PPC ads motivate our prospects to click?

Here are three tips to help you improve your ad performance:

1. Motivate you audiences with incentives

Virtually every action we take as humans can be tied into incentives. We go to work, choose restaurants, and download apps because of incentives. These incentives usually come in one of two forms:

  • Extrinsic incentives: Incentives tied to factors outside of the self. For example, you go to work because you need a paycheck in order to live.
  • Intrinsic incentives: Incentives tied to the self. These are often more powerful than extrinsic incentives. Examples include going to work because you find purpose and meaning in your work.

The quicker your ad can display its incentive, the better performing that will be. Often times, the line between extrinsic and intrinsic incentives are blurred.

The intrinsic incentives include “End Childhood Cancer” and “Help People Affected by Disasters.” However, it’s important to note that these feel-good incentives aren’t enough to push many folks to conversion. That’s why you’ll see, for example, text like “100% Tax-Deductible” in St. Jude’s ad copy. St. Jude’s clearly understands that making a donation to a charitable cause is complicated – it requires motivating people on two levels.

With more commercial-based searches, however, the distinction is far clearer.

These ads play to extrinsic incentives. “Save”. “Free shipping.” None of the ads above attempt to appeal to any intrinsic incentive, but they should. Consumers demand more from products than just “latest styles” or “largest selection.” They want to believe they’re buying into some sort of greater good. Text like “organically made” or “fair trade” are key terms that help complement the existing extrinsic value of the average commercial-based PPC ad.

2. Herding to motivate clicks

Humans are wired to be motivated by the behaviors of others. Actually, that can be said for any animal. One animal in a herd will make a decision and the rest of the group will follow suit.

You can leverage this behavior in your ad copy, particularly if you’re promoting a brand that people aren’t familiar with.

Remember this tip: reviews matter. If you have reviews at your disposal, use them in your ads by using all available ad extensions. This is a great marketing strategy for PPC campaigns.

We can see this approach at work if we google “White Sox Tickets”:

Not only are there reviews and ratings for each ad, but you can even see quoted testimonials (in the StubHub entry). People are rightly hesitant to buy tickets online without some type of confirmation of quality. These reviews give them the peace of mind they need to convert.

3. Availability bias

Availability bias is when we lean on past experiences and knowledge to help us reach decisions. It’s referred to as a bias because it often leads us to make irrational choices based on the first relevant piece of information we think of.

Here’s an interesting little piece of trivia worth knowing – it’s believed that when it comes to availability bias, we tend to recall the information we heard first and last (referred to as primacy and recency), but rarely the information that comes to us in between.

There are a few ways you can leverage availability bias to your advantage.

For starters, make decisions as easy as possible for your customers. Do this by demonstrating, for example, how close your store is to their current location, or how simple your shipping process is.

Also, as crazy at it may sound, but because of primacy and recency, you may want to consider whether ranking first in PPC and first in SEO makes the most sense and delivers the best ROI. You may discover that ranking in the fourth position in PPC and first for SEO delivers more overall clicks at less cost.

You may also want to tap into the scarcity effect – we can call this fear of missing out. Including limited time offers inside your ads may add a sense of urgency to a buyer’s journey.

And, by featuring an overt offer (like $50 off), you may help searchers snap out of their unconscious surfing and get them to realize they better act now to enjoy these unique savings.

Tying it all together

At the top of this article, we included a screen shot of a “typical” Google search engine results pages.

But now that we’ve gone over how to motivate users to click, perhaps you’ll see a lot more than meets the eye the next time you look at a results page.

But more importantly, perhaps you’ll use these tips above to help craft PPC ads for universities, law firms, healthcare practices, and other industries that are designed to motivate your prospects to click and convert.

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