Optimizing PPC Ad Copy: Consumer Mindsets & Personalities

There are many levels to optimizing your PPC ad copy. This post is intended to offer a snapshot of the psychology behind consumer searching as they go from “surfing” (research mode), to buying – and how you can target these mindsets by identifying and matching their personalities with your ads.

This level of targeting is particularly useful during split-testing, because it gives the advertiser insight into who is clicking on their ads, and allows for further landing page and optimization as the campaign evolves.

Search Engine Buyer Mindsets

There are 3 basic “Modes” search engine users exhibit depending on their current phase of the buying process:

  • Surfing Mode – Researching, and looking for an answer to a problem. The keywords in this phase are typically generic or question based. Solution driven search results usually yield the highest CTR and lowest bounce rates.
  • Comparison/Review Mode – Knows what they want, but still unsure of the BEST solution. These searches typically contain review or ratings based qualifiers attached to their keywords. Ratings and review based search results will almost always beat others in clicks/conversions.
  • Buying Mode – Ready to make a purchase, at this point looking for the solution that makes the most sense. These are solution-focused keyword searches, such as exact names for products or services. The closest matching search results with the “best” offer win the day.

Your keywords are the best way to identify the mindsets of your targeted search users, which PPC advertisers can handle at the ad group level when segmenting their keywords.

Consumer Personalities

I’m not going to try and cover this completely because there are smarter guys than me covering it in length, namely Bryan Eisenberg (author of the awesome book “Call to Action”) and other sales professionals. I will list off the 4 “classic” types of buyer personalities:

  • Methodical – Skeptical of typical Internet marketing gimmicks like “FREE TRIAL”, contests, and outrageous guarantees. Wants comparisons down to the smallest detail. Think NewEgg customers who are looking for detailed product comparisons.
  • Spontaneous – Responds to perks, discounts, freebies, limited time offers, and scarcity marketing. Aggregate Review Scores, instant gratification, and personalized experiences yield the best conversions. Think Zappos customers who watch the videos of someone trying on the shoe
  • Humanistic – Loves to refer to solutions, and can be expected to read testimonials and full reviews. Testimonials, real reviews, and human contact are the top factors in converting this personality. Think Amazon or Ebay as the perfect examples of community, customer service, and human touch websites.
  • Competitive – Wants to have the newest, hottest thing. Usually plugged into RSS feeds or social networks looking to be the first to Tweet or comment. Think Amazon or App Store TOP 10 lists.

No person fits into a single category, and no offer is restricted to only 1 personality type. Identifying and targeting the correct blend of personalities is the marketer’s top priority.

Optimizing PPC Ads

Now that we’ve covered the mindsets and personalities, it’s time to optimize our ads. As I mentioned earlier, the first step I take is to segment my ad groups by mindset related search keywords.

Next, I build an ad for each personality. I’ll run the ads evenly while I split test, and once we see which personality is strongest for the offer, start to phase the other ads out.

Here’s a visual representation of my PPC Ad Matrix to help you see how ad copy can be optimized across the consumers’ mindset process.

Optimizing PPC AD Matrix

Matrix idea created by Eskil Nordhaug



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