Xenia Volynchuk

Ad Copywriting: Winning Techniques From Australia's Top Online Retailers

The competition in online retail is tough, but these 20 companies from Smart Company’s list stand out among the crowd. We have analyzed the cream of the Australian-owned e-commerce business to understand which techniques these successful companies use to create effective ad copies that convert strangers into customers. These top 20 represent different industries, so the ad copy examples you’ll see in this article cover a wide variety of messages, products, and services. Keep reading to learn which strategies they leverage to make people click on their ads, have a look at their real-life ad copies and target URLs and steal their best practices!

For this research we used SEMrush data for google.com.au SERPs, collected during the month of April 2017.

Copywriting for Google AdWords: Best Practices

We analyzed the ad copies created by Australia’s top 20 online retailers and summarized their best copywriting techniques for you.

1. Fend Off the Competition

Well, this can be a tricky thing to do and it requires some courage, but being straightforward about your benefits really pays off! Booktopia is an Australian online bookseller, founded 10 years later than its main competitor, Amazon. Despite sharing the market with such a giant, this nimble company runs a thriving business, and it definitely has something to offer to Australian bibliophiles. Look how artfully Booktopia refers to Amazon in its ads! The copy you see below is number three of their top five traffic-driving ads.

When using this technique, keep a close eye on the bounce rate of your destination URLs. When people are searching for goods from a particular vendor, they probably expect to be directed to this vendor’s website. So, when they see your ad displayed for your competitor’s branded search term, they may unintentionally click on it and then leave your website as soon as they realize their mistake. At the same time, if your offer is a lot better than your rival’s, you have nothing to worry about. The ‘fend off the competition’ technique can be a great way to bring in the traffic you need.

Another good example of undercutting the competition is this ad by Pet Circle. They aim to entice brick-and-mortar store devotees by saying ‘we are cheaper’. Telling people they can save money, and backing it p on landing pages, is a strategy that works. 

2. Inspire and Encourage: Become an Ambassador For a New Lifestyle

We are all striving to become a better version of ourselves, so why not apply to this your ads? Lorna Jane’s ad copy makes us want to believe in ourselves and to get us active and moving. So, if your business philosophy has even the tiniest touch of “Eat. Pray. Love.”, try creating some ads similar to these:

And this ad by Vinomofo reminds us to enjoy the life to the fullest and promotes ‘The time is now!’ motto:

3. Know Your Audience — Be Edgy and Spice Things Up, If Needed

Sometimes harsh words can ruin everything, but if you speak the language your audience speaks, being harsh can be a winning technique. Take a look at these ad copies created by Showpo, who is totally nailing the “AF” trend. Their texts, offering ‘hot AF swimwear’ immediately sound very native to the young and fashionable audience that they target:

Although phrases like ‘Enter a world of assassination’ and ‘Blood, sex and fashion’ may offend some prudes and may be inappropriate in most cases, for JB Hi-Fi they work perfectly fine, converting passers-by into customers:

4. Personalize

Personalization is a very powerful technique — it makes people feel very special, and it also builds trust. This article about using emotional triggers in marketing states that the most effective emotions to evoke are trust, belonging, and guilt. This ad by Red Balloon sounds as if it were addressed only to the reader as if the person who wrote it knows them very well:

Take a look at the ad copy below by Shoes of Prey. To us, it definitely triggers a sense of belonging to the designer’s community, plus it invites a person to make their dreams come true.

5. Forestall Any Objections or Questions

You may not have a second chance to interact with the people that see your ads, so obviously you want to make sure they click on your ads. Before purchasing, people ask themselves dozens of questions, so why not make their lives easier and dispel their apprehensions? For example, the marketers at Lorna Jane point out that your new sports clothing won’t lose shape after your first gym session — what a relief! The Kogan team reassures users that they can not only expect a good price on TV wall mounts, but also a huge selection and an Australian warranty (meaning you will have a service provider if needed).

As with every marketing activity, your ads can catch users at different stages of their buyer’s journey. Some users are determined to buy a certain product, but others may still be investigating possible solutions to their problem, and the only thing that stops them from making a choice is their lingering doubts. Here is an example of how to prompt buyers in the ‘consideration stage’ to convert to the ‘decision stage’:

6. Sell Solutions, Not Products

This is a pretty obvious technique, but it is a smart tactic for significantly increasing your average purchase value. Although Dan Murphy’s is a liquor store, they don’t limit their ads to offers on a particular spirit or type of wine for home parties. What they do is target the B2B segment and address their specific challenges, such as organizing a corporate event or shopping for Christmas gifts, which we all know can be stressful. After the problem is defined, they offer both the solution and first-class B2B service:

7. Beat Rivals With Your Service

When you sell the same goods as your rivals at approximately the same prices, the only way to stand out is to offer high-end service. For retail, this can include an extended warranty, home delivery, free shipping, express delivery, an extended refund period, free returns within a year of purchase (wow!), secure payment — these are just examples. This technique can be especially beneficial for small businesses, competing against giants; boutique service can beat the wider product range and builds customer loyalty. Have a look at how the top companies utilize this opportunity to differ:

This ad by Adorebeauty really draws you in! I mean, who would refuse to buy now and pay later?! Although the price range isn’t indicated, this Afterpay offer, together with the free shipping, same day dispatch, and free samples give users enough reasons to click this particular ad and neglect all others.

To elevate your paid ads game make sure to use the AdWords ad extensions. You could use them to show off the benefits of your product or the additional services that you provide; try callout extensions, review extensions and structured snippet extensions (with the predefined header ‘Services’).

8. Make Your Visitors Return to Your Website

If you specify in your ad, that some new stock is delivered every day, or that you offer new deals daily, it will entice people to return to your site even after they make a purchase. To take this further, you can specify exactly how many new products or deals people can expect:

9. Claim Your Supremacy  

Life is not only too short to drink bad wine but also to be shy. A website’s reputation is one of the top e-commerce considerations of online shoppers, so if you have great products or are the best at what you do, let people know about it.

10. Embrace the 4 U's Rule

Most of the top 20 companies follow the 4 U’s rule and make sure their selling proposition is urgent, unique, ultra-specific and useful. This rule is probably one of the most obvious, popular and fundamental techniques one should use for copywriting. Let’s have a look at some ads that check all four U-boxes.

To emphasize the uniqueness of your product or service, you could use the following words: hand-picked, exclusive, one-of-a-kind, etc. Here is how market leaders do this:

To communicate urgency, advertisers tend to use phrases like ‘Limited stock,’ ‘Sale ends in 3 hours,’ ‘Hot deal,’ and ‘Offer expires soon.’ All stores use them, top-triggered ads contain them, and they work for any most products. Check out these examples:

People can’t stay focused for very long these days, so you literally have a split second to impress your potential customers. That is why being ultra-specific is ultra-important. Until you push the right button (i.e., address the very specific issue the user is experiencing), there is no chance you’ll get their attention. These ads are targeted at a very narrow audience, and although they won’t be relevant to everyone, for the right targeted audience they will be perfect: 

Specify the price or discount size — people like to know that the deal is right at the moment they first see an ad.

Your ads must be useful. It doesn’t matter how awesome your products are, what really matters is how to make your users’/customers’ lives better, i.e. help them solve their problems. When writing a new ad copy, keep this ‘how’ question in mind.

How to Automate Ad Copy Creation (Without Losing Quality)

Launching a new AdWords campaign is a challenging job, and it takes time. If you take a smart approach to automation, you can save this precious resource without losing quality. Let us introduce you to the SEMrush Ads Builder — a tool that helps you conduct research on your competitors’ ads, use the ones you like as templates and create a set of new ad copies from scratch in the snap of a finger.

The new Ads Builder allows you to conduct competitor research thoughtfully, yet easily — it automatically generates a list of competitors to investigate, and you can edit it manually if needed.

Under the ‘Ads Research’ tab, you will find ads created by your competitors, or, ads containing your target keywords. In one click you can turn any ad you like into a template with pre-filled fields. If you decide to go for the target keyword option, check out this guide on how to build a powerful keyword list.

SEMrush won’t let you exceed the AdWords character limits for your ads title, display URL and ad text, and a tracking code with the UTM parameters will be generated automatically.

Ideally, your ad should mirror the user’s search query. To help you do this, Google Adwords offers the Dynamic Keyword Insertion functionality, and so does our Ads Builder. It automatically updates your ad with the keywords from your ad group or offers default text when automatic insertion is not possible. Offering users exactly what they are looking for drastically increases your probability of getting clicks.

Any ad can be cloned and added to a selected ad group or multiple groups at once. If you use the standard ad creation scheme, this functionality is your savior because you don’t need to create a typical ad from scratch every time. For extra ease, the required tracking parameters for a new ad are overwritten automatically.

Once you are finished with the copywriting part, you can easily export your ads and keywords into .csv format, which is ready for immediate upload to your AdWords account. Your AdWords routine has just become a lot easier.

The Ads Builder is the cherry on top of the cake: it covers the last step of the PPC workflow, and it is integrated with the other SEMrush tools for the most relevant results and improved performance.

Have any other ad copywriting techniques grabbed your attention lately? Share them in the comments below!

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Here is an infographic recapping all of the techniques we described above: 

Thanks Xenia For Your article
Thanks Xenia for your informative article.
Jason Scannel
Thanks for the feedback, Jason! Glad that you found the post useful.
Thanks, Ahmed!