James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

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How to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Google Ads by 96%

James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

Full Profile »

A landing page is rarely a potential customer’s first experience with your company. After all, they had to find your website somehow: referral from a friend, mention in an article, or an advertisement might be their initial touchpoint. You don’t have much control over those first two examples, but chances are you’re overlooking just how much control you have over your own ads.

Enter: ad creative optimization. While everyone else is focusing on getting the perfect landing page details to increase their conversion rate, we spoke with Jason Puckett, founder and CEO of AdBasis, about why you should really be looking to the creative elements of your online ads instead.

Here is what he shared about optimizing your ad creative.

What is Ad Creative Optimization?

Ads are made up of several important variables.

You most likely are comfortable with how to optimize certain elements like audience demographics and keywords; however, the parts you are most likely missing are the creative elements: the button colors, fonts, calls-to-action, website links, etc.

Basically, the smaller details that make your ads attractive to potential buyers.

Creative optimization is about figuring out which creative elements positively influence the metrics you care about most – like clickthrough and conversion rates..

Tiny adjustments can give your ad effectiveness a giant boost. For instance, according to a test on a quarter of a million ads on Google search by AdBasis, putting a registered trademark symbol in the headline of your ad increases the clickthrough rate by 24%.

We’ve got more tips like this below, but first, let’s look at how you can optimize your ad creatives.

So, How do You Optimize Your Ad Creative?

The short answer to how to optimize your ad creative is A/B testing, and lots of it.

Doing this effectively requires first knowing your ideal customer profile and using A/B testing to find which ads resonate with them.

The first step is to imagine several “purchase scenarios.” This means starting with the audience first. Who do you want to draw most to your landing page?

This will depend on your products or services. If you have ten products available, you probably have ten different buyer personas. These categories could overlap, but it’s a good idea to look at each one individually.

You also want to consider how things look based on whether or not this is a customer’s first time to your site or encountering your ad. Are you looking to attract brand new customers, remarket to old or existing clients, or get that repeat site visitor to finally convert?

Knowing the end goal of the ad is important, too. What’s your finish line? Are you going for an email sign up, a meeting, an immediate sale?

If you run an apartment listing website that helps people find available housing and helps leasing offices find new tenants, your end goal might be getting a site visitor to sign up for email notifications of new properties that match their search criteria.

On the other hand, if you’re an online retailer, the goal is getting the site visitor to make a purchase during that visit.

You could just focus those goals on your landing page, but it is much more effective to begin the process with your ads. Potential customers are already forming opinions of you based on what they see before clicking through to your site.

Knowing your end goal also helps in the testing process, because sometimes a small change can increase one metric while decreasing another.

In the AdBasis test, using a percentage sign (%) anywhere in the ad decreased the clickthrough rate by 29%. However, it increased the conversion rate by 15%.

This is probably a result of cutting down on the number of fluffy clicks that wouldn’t lead to conversions anyway. Your business needs will determine whether you’re more worried about the number and rate of conversions or the number of clicks.

Either way, you have to start with hammering out your goals, so you can test for them appropriately.

What Should You Test For?

There are different types of ads based on if you focus your marketing on social media, buy space on blog sites, or utilize Google AdWords or other search platforms.

Let’s focus on one of the most popular: Google search ads.

There are four variables to this: headline, display URL, and two description lines.

You might be protesting, “But, you said that creatives are about how an ad looks, like color and fonts and such. Google search ads are just words!”

True, but there’s still a lot of room for visual improvement here.

For instance, take a number; it can be written as 4 or four. They say the same thing, but they don’t look the same, and people don’t react to them the same way. According to the test by AdBasis, using a numeric value (4) instead of the long form (four) improves clickthrough rates by 18%.Using a numeric value in your Google description improves clickthrough rates by 18%.


By changing the look of the number, you haven’t changed its content or meaning, but you have changed the way it appears to the viewer.

Similarly, the test showed that by adding “www” to the beginning of your URL display (like “www.sweetfishmedia.com” instead of “sweetfishmedia.com”) clickthrough rates increase by 54%. That’s quite a jump for just four extra characters.

Minute details like these are the things that you want to test for when constructing your ads.

A/B testing lets you check the effectiveness of visual cues that viewers aren’t even aware they care about. Your message remains the same, but the results will vary.


Your landing page is important for converting site visitors, whether that means making a purchase, signing up for an email list, or otherwise entering the sales funnel.

However, your ads on social media, blogs, and search engines are even more important. Those ads are the best way you have of controlling how a potential customer finds you and what mindset they are in when they do.

So how do you plan to optimize your ad creative?

This article is based on an interview with Jason Puckett, founder and CEO of AdBasis. You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to the B2B Growth Show on iTunes. If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode by clicking here.