Boston-based search marketing company WordStream has published an analysis of what they believe to be 612 of the best AdWords ads in order to try to determine what it is that makes a text ad successful.
Researchers used data from the top 15% of ads graded between 1 August 2016 and 30 April 2017 using WordStream’s AdWords Performance Grader tool.
Some interesting findings:
- Words appearing most often in high-performing, non-branded text ads:
- Calls to action appearing most often in the best non-branded text ads:
- Positive vs. negative sentiment (based on Vader sentiment analysis tool - link below)
- 45% positive
- 53% neutral
- 2% negative
- Word diversity (think keyword stuffing): Best ads tended to repeat just one word one time.
The Words and Calls to Action they found appearing most often shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's familiar with classic analyses of direct-response advertising like those by Victor Shwab (How to Write a Good Advertisement, 1962) or John Caples (How to Make Your Advertising Make Money, 1983). You/your, now, free have always worked. But surprised not to see "how to" in the most-frequent words list.
And although the folks at WordStream are skeptical about the ineffectiveness of negative ads - noting that "Causing a prospect to experience sadness or fear or a sardonic giggle with your ad copy is better than going unnoticed" - that's consistent with my recent experience. Today positive ads test better than negative almost every time. I think that perhaps since 2001 Americans don't want to be subjected to threatening ads.
Good to see an update on what makes a good ad, especially when based on so many recent digital data.