So you might remember that about a week ago I tried to have some fun with two AdWords ads.  We’ll call them “white space” and “poetry” for short.

Dolch Sight Word Lists

Free lists.

No kidding.

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Dolch Sight Word Bingo

Roses are red, violets are blue,

Bingo makes students love you.

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White space is an experiment in two ways: it sends people to a landing page which does not flog bingo, but rather just provides a resource to teachers (Dolch sight word lists) and then asks if they’d like to get started playing bingo with the lists they just grabbed.  It also, obviously, sticks out against six other ads which use every one of the characters they are alloted.

Poetry was an experiment to see if AdWords rewards being clever.  So many of the ads are, well, blah.  Here’s my product, here’s 5 words of description, here’s my call to action.  Blah blah blah.  Marketing should be more fun than that.  So I went with some intentionally campy poetry.  And, hey, if it didn’t work I can always kill it in a week and not lose more than a cup of cocoa.

I’m not going to kill either of these ads, because the are actually pretty solid for being so new.

For comparison, here’s a fairly typical ad I have using the same keywords.  Its been through a solid month of optimization of everything: the landing page, the title, the text.  I was happy with this ad and wanted to make more of my ads like it:

Sight Words Bingo

Don’t prep for an hour. Be ready

in minutes with our software.

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Lets call that control.  Control has about a 1.1% CTR for the same keywords as the other ads.  It has a 22% conversion rate, for a CPA of about 32 cents.  All in all, this ad is doing pretty well.  (Note: all of these ads are in the same AdGroup and use the same keywords).

Lets compare that to poetry.  Poetry uses the same landing page and the same keywords.   It has 2.13% CTR, and 19% conversion, for a CPA of about 31 cents.  So, essentially, it performs just as well as the control ad in terms of cost performance, but brings in twice the amount of clicks in the same time period.  This is great news for me, as it lets me get up to my target $3 a day advertising spend without shooting myself in the foot by investing money in non-performing keywords for the sake of investing money.

But I’m really pleasantly suprised with white space.  I expected white space’s conversion to be thirty-one flavors of terrible.  The hook in the ad isn’t bingo cards, its a free resource which is vastly more popular than using bingo to teach with.  And the landing page was an afterthought I cooked up in about 10 minutes one day to generate backlinks — surely it isn’t going to convert people that well?  Well, it does… 14%, which is neither fantastic nor terrible.  This leads to a CPA of 43 cents, which is well below my campaign average at the moment (although still above my target of 30 cents).

But whats the real nice pleasant suprise for white space?  The click through rate.  Something about the combination of “free stuff you can use” with the eyecatching nature of the ad draws in teachers like moths to the flame.  The CTR is about 5.8%, which is just jawdropping for an ad averaging in the 3rd position.  My best ad ever, which pitches my software to people who are searching for software with exactly my feature set, only has an 8% CTR.

And how much money did finding out these insights cost me?  At last count, $4.61.

Oh yeah, how much money did these ads make me over the week?  A little digging in Google analytics says… a hair under $48.

The next step is… improve the ads and experiment some more!  Ah, I love being a small businessman.  This is so much fun.