The Awesome Power of an Advertising Headline

Posted by Phil Murray 10 May 2019 10:07 AM

You’ll hear it said that no one will ever be as interested in your product or service than you.

Well, that is true… until it isn’t.

Have you gone mad? I hear you shout.

No one should KNOW more about what you provide than you but your clients should display an overabundance of:

  • Interest
  • Excitement
  • Passion

Your aim is to write copy that has your potential clients falling over themselves to get their hands on what you have to offer.

As a quick exercise, select a few people that you know quite well and tell them about what it is that you have to offer. Gauge their reaction.

It’s a useful exercise because people’s favourite topic is normally themselves, which means that is what they will want to talk about. They will mainly be interested in what you say in so much as it spikes an emotive reaction in them.

Make sure what you say makes them lean forward and take an active interest. Be honest with yourself. If they are being polite and looking more like they are contemplating what to have for tea whilst you speak, then you know you need to re-evaluate your pitch.

Doing this also gets you into the very useful habit of communicating in your ‘client’s language.’ Once you have done this then you can concentrate on the written word.

Aliens took Elvis

Your Headline

It’s the first thing that people see when they look at your ad, so needs to be good.

If the title does not match what it is that they are looking for then they won’t click on the site. Or even worse if the title matches their intention but the site does not satisfy their need then they’ll simply click off the site very quickly without making a purchase (That is what’s meant by the ‘Bounce Rate’). This could result in your ad not showing up for these search phrases or your cost per click raising significantly.

In short – Be Clear, simple and relevant!

That’s all very well, I hear you say but what do I actually write?

Think of a newspaper headline:

It’s the fist thing you read and it’s a split-second decision as to whether the headline captivated enough of your attention to make you want to read the sub heading. If the subheading continued to grab your interest then you’ll want to read the main story (In this case, being the web page that they click through to).

From our previous blog (link) you will already have a concise list of targeted keywords for your niche and you know how your customer speaks.

You already have a huge advantage over many of your competitors.

Now include a the most relevant choice keywords into your title. Something that is simple and WILL make your customers want to read the subheading.

Try, if you can, in your title to solve a problem or answer a question for which your customer has been searching.


Let’s take an example:

I want some gluten free food delivered, which is a niche market and as far as the advertiser is concerned is excluding people that do NOT want gluten free food. If I come across a company that does this, then their specialism already makes me look at them as an expert.

So, I Type into Google:

Gluten free food delivery in Newcastle.

Two adverts appear right at the top of Google with the following titles:

  1. The UK's #1 Recipe Box | £20 Off Your First Two Boxes‎


  1. Oakhouse Foods | View Our Gluten Free Range |‎


Both Headings have their advantages and provide a solution to a problem that anyone who is on a gluten free diet often encounters.

Ad 1 recognises that people on a gluten free diet spend more money for the privilege, so a financial incentive is always a bonus. The web address suggests a company that is caring and knows what they are doing.

If I had to be super critical however - I’d stay away from calling yourself number 1 or the best or the greatest unless you can quantify it. Consumers are used to just about every company proclaiming that they are in that famed top spot.


It’s so common now that it doesn’t stand out, and is almost a waste of the 30 characters you are permitted for the ad title.

Ad 2 Plays on repetition. Oakhouse Foods is mentioned three times in two lines (If you include the web address). It’s a well-used psychological sales tactic. Radio advertisers use it too to help commit the information to memory. You’ll find many radio commercials mention the company name (Or other pertinent information) three times in a thirty second commercial. 

The name ‘Oakhouse’ is rather clever too. The nostalgic imagery it conjures up in our minds is one of a countryside home or farm with my grandma in the kitchen, lovingly crafting delicious meals that will be treasured for many years to come (I’m assuming everyone thinks of my grandma in that situation. She did make the tastiest food in Newcastle).

‘View our Gluten Free Range’ is both an invitation and an instruction. It tells me (The reader) that they have a wide range of gluten free foods and I should look at them.

Knowing gluten free diners as I do, one of their pain points is that there is next to no range and eating this type of food is very restrictive. This very simple sentence dispels that belief and inspires me to read on.

Before we go on to the main body of the ad, we need to look at how Google will treat the ad title if you are using this as a search term.

You have more control over this than you think:

In our previous blog we talked about keywords and you ended up with a comprehensive list of your most profitable keywords. In this blog you have turned some of those into a title.

Now what?


You have to choose the setting that is right for you:

  1. Broad Match.

This is the default and coincidentally the reason many people lose money with very little to show for it.

Broad match means that Google has identified your keywords and will put them in any order it deems relevant for the consumer search.

For example:

Your company sells chocolate bars in Newcastle, so you select as a search term:

Chocolate bars

Seems harmless enough, well until you have your ad showing up on the page for searches like:

  • What are chocolate bars?
  • What are the healthiest chocolate bars?
  • Where can I buy vegetarian chocolate bars?
  • Do Asda sell chocolate bars?
  • Do chocolate bars contain a lot of calories?

Those searches will cost a lot of money and will not result in a sale for your chocolate bar company. On top of this you will have a low click through rate and because of Googles quality score you will probably end up paying more for your campaign.


Don’t fret – Punctuation is your friend.

  1. Exact Match

If you place a square bracket around your search phrase then Google will only show results for that phrase in exactly the way you have spelled it:

[Buy chocolate bars]

This means that provided your keywords are well chosen then your clickthrough rate will be dramatically increased and you’ll have a greater return on investment.

There is one downside however - The exact match does not allow for any extra words.

Let’s take the above example. You would not show up for the following queries:

  • Buy chocolate bars
  • Chocolate bars delivery
  • (Company name) chocolate bars
  • Where can I buy chocolate bars?
  • Chocolate bar delivery in Newcastle.
  • Purchase chocolate bars

 Foreknowledge of your client’s colloquialisms can help tremendously here (The way they speak) but can still exclude, as you have seen, some common searches.

Which leads us quite nicely to…

  1. Phrase Match

Placing quotation marks around your key phrase will tell Google that you want to show up for that exact phrase but will allow words before and after it so…

“buy chocolate bars”

Will mean your website will be displayed for the first four search terms listed above.  

Then there’s…

  1. Modified Broad Match.

This is rather like Broad Match (Number 1 above) but not quite as useless. It offers the best combination of broad match and phrase match.

By placing a plus symbol (+) before your key word, Google knows that that keyword has to be there but it also reads the intent of your phrase and comes up with relevant suggestions:

+Buy chocolate bars

Google knows what ‘buy’ means and knows you want the phrase chocolate bar/s in there too. It might display you for the following search terms:

  • Purchase delicious chocolate bars online
  • Buy gluten free chocolate bars
  • Chocolate bars delivered

We tackled negative keywords in our last blog (Words to would like to exclude from your search). If in this instance you didn’t cater for our ever-growing gluten free audience then you wouldn’t want to appear on pages for people searching for that option. In this case simply enter ‘Gluten Free’ into your negative keyword list and Google will know to leave that alone (improving your CTR).

I hope this has helped. Comments and questions welcome as always.

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Till next time.

Topics: E-Commerce