Brad Geddes / PPC Geek
Official Google Ads Seminar Leader.
Author of Advanced Google AdWords.
Co-Founder, Adalysis.
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Brad Geddes's Theories on Marketing You Really Can Write Better Ads than your ‘Big Boy’...

You Really Can Write Better Ads than your ‘Big Boy’ Competition

When writing ads, take a look at the competition.

This is a search for ‘plasma tv’ which is not a cheap click. However, you can write better ads and crush the competition for this highly searched – could be profitable – term. (You can click to expand the screenshot)

plasma tv - Google Search_1236012591833

Over half the ads can’t write the word TV properly (poorly executed dynamic insertion?). TV is an acronym and should not include lower case letters.

One ad is using half its space on a phone number (don’t do it).

Not sure what nextag is doing with Plasma+tv in the ad copy, but doesn’t look professional. I’m guessing that’s a large keyword list and they’re letting Google pick the combination to show for their dynamic insertion ad.

Tiger direct is advertising for LCD TVs (and yes, they do sell Plasma’s).

Amazon’s ad isn’t terrible; however, it is for a specific TV type and this was a more general query. Always consider where a searcher is in the buying cycle when creating ads and choosing where to send them on your website.

I haven’t seen T.V. written this way in many years. Maybe they did a test of T.V. vs TV and choose a winner.

Everyone who reads this blog should be able to do better than the ads on this page.

Don’t be lazy and just use dynamic keyword insertion. It can be great when used properly.

Don’t be scared to go against the ‘big boys’, in this case – they really do deserve to lose.

No Comments

  1. Ben
    March 2, 2009 at 12:20 pm · Reply

    Hi Brad,

    Interesting observation – I came across this on the other day myself while researching Plasma screen hire for exhibitions for a client. Looks like quite a bit of ‘lazy’ keyword substitution – as you say these clicks aren’t cheap and they should really be doing better!

  2. Kim
    March 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm · Reply

    same in Germany. only 2-3 ads with correct keyword insertion.

  3. Stelios
    March 3, 2009 at 10:06 am · Reply

    Hi Brad, this is a great example, maybe you should include an example on what you would write.

    Also with the “big boy competition” I am sure that anyone can use better landing pages I have seen so many bad landing ages on wrong pages/out of stock etc.

  4. Nick
    March 6, 2009 at 10:15 am · Reply

    As someone who spends alot of time doing “Big Boy”-type stuff, a comment that might be encouraging to those who wish to compete with the Big Boys: In order to keep profit high, the big boys run hundreds of thousands of ads simultaneously, way beyond too many tinker with individually. The only option is to optimize, not individual ads, but statistics across groups of ads. There is a balance between quality and quantity that needs to be a achieved for optimum profits, and that balance falls far enough on the side of quantity that automatic ad-making algos are more or less required to really rake it in.

    Consequently, the Big Boys don’t care that they lose out for this particular keyword, as long as they can make their statistics work out. They’re playing a different game, which means small players can play their own game without interference.

  5. Brad Geddes aka eWhisper
    March 7, 2009 at 1:18 pm · Reply


    This is where I have to disagree.

    I’ve worked on accounts with millions of keywords, tens of thousands of ad copies, etc — and the ads looked better than this.

    It’s a matter of laying out the organization, ad group names, campaign names, keywords, ads, etc beforehand and then doing some testing on the final layout.

    While I agree with your comments about scale, you can achieve scale and quality together with good planning and management.

  6. Nick
    March 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm · Reply

    I don’t mean to imply that errors such as these *shouldn’t* concern advertisers with large accounts, but rather that such errors often *don’t* concern them – because they can still get their account-wide statistics to meet their targets without bothering to correct errors like this. they decide that the opportunity cost of improving quality beyond that is too high to bother with, and spend their time working on other things.

    I’m not advocating the behavior and in fact I don’t like it, because a searcher who sees too many of these is likely to start associating text ads in general with spam, and then ignore them generally. So somebody else’s bad copy can affect the way that searchers as a group respond to others’ good copy. Ick.

    The other thing is, a sophisticated programmer can in fact write ad-making code that avoids the vast majority of errors like this, and so have the best of both worlds. But there aren’t that many people who do ppc for a living who rise to this level of sophistication. Not sure why.

  7. Brad Geddes aka eWhisper
    March 8, 2009 at 11:44 am · Reply


    I’d totally agree with your assessment.

    Many larger companies view the big picture of PPC returns. However, in many cases they can raise their returns much higher by digging into ad groups, ad copy, etc where they have higher spend, lower returns, etc. This is where they fail.

    It’s one thing to be OK with your returns. It’s another to be better than OK and slowly maximize things throughout your account.

    Selectively drilling down into ad groups, and then writing ad copy, refining keywords, and testing only takes a small amount of time per ad group. In some cases, it’s that they don’t know where to start (a process/workflow issue). It’s when you rely on bid management, and never dig into quality score, differences between ads profit, etc – that you end up with ads like this.

  8. Eamon Hoolihan
    July 17, 2009 at 10:56 am · Reply

    You would think that even with automated bid management tools, applying the 80:20 rule and checking ads just on the most popular keywords would be a logical place to start.

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