In Defense Of The Lowly Display URL.
You want a higher click through rate?
You want a lower cost per click as a result of your higher quality score?
Then you should take advantage of every single avenue that is available to optimize your campaign. This includes crafting relevant and compelling ad extensions, headlines that match the search query as closely as possible and description lines that include a strong call to action.
PPC is a zero sum game and if your competitor gets the click, that means you didn’t.
You know this, and if you perform PPC you are in a constant fight with your competitors like Zoolander vs. Hansel in a walk off.
I see it time and again as internet marketers overlook the display URL. It is understandable – while we are creating search lists for remarketing ads, PPC campaigns across networks, and trying to figure out why Facebook once again disapproved our ads it can be easy to overlook some of the small wins.
But, small wins are sometimes the very thing that your account needs. This article will help you understand what the display URL is, give you 4 techniques to test and teach you step-by-step how to change the display URL in your account.
The one thing that trips marketers up is that the display URL is not a real website. It is NOT where you send visitors when they click on your ad. It IS only what the user sees when they view your ad.
While it doesn’t need to be a real website – it does have two rules:
As long as you follow those two rules, you are free to use your imagination and skills to optimize, but I have included 4 examples below just in case you need some inspiration.
Here are 4 techniques to test for your display URL. With each one I have included an example from a live search engine results page.
One of the best ways to increase the relevancy of your ads is to include words from the search query in your ads. Google bolds this text when it matches in the display URL.
See the example below to see how about.com took advantage of this technique to increase their relevance in the search engine results page for the search query FDCPA Harassment.
A strong call to action drives users to perform the conversion action by explicitly telling the user what you would like them to do after clicking the ad. If your display URL includes a call to action, make sure that it matches the call to action on the landing page.
Check out the Hyatt example below how they use the call to action “Book now” in their display URL.
Since your display URL has to look like a functioning URL it can not use spaces. This can lead to all of the words mashing together and make it nearly impossible for the user to decipher what you are trying to communicate.
The best way to draw the eye and make it as easy as possible for the user to easily understand your marketing message is to use camel case (which is when WordsLookLikeThis by using a capital letter for the beginning of each word) or by utilizing dashes between the words.
See below for the example of camel case in the Smart Fares ad and dashes in the Cheapo Air ad to see how they are instantly readable.
In addition to utilizing the path name (the part after the slash) you can also utilize the subdomain (the part before domain usually www.). Since almost every other ad on the search engine results page either has no subdomain or the subdomain of www, putting text in the subdomain differentiates your ad.
For an example see the below Autosite ad where they utilize the subdomain as a call to action as well as Car.com where they utilize their subdomain to reinforce their current promotion.
One of the best things about changing the display URL is how simple it is. Here is how to accomplish.
Take a moment to look at the above examples and think about how you plan to optimize your display URL. Like any other aspect of AdWords this is not set it and forget it as you want to test your new display URL against your current ads to see which performs better based on real data.
A new screen will appear – create an ad with a new display URL to test vs. the currently rotating ad.
Split test your ad with new display URL against the ad currently running, and see if it improves your key performance indicators.
What are the best uses of the display URL that you have seen?
Adam Lundquist, is a Harvard-educated agency owner and former radio shock jock from Santa Barbara radio. When Adam published one of his interviews on a newly-formed platform called YouTube, it became one of the first viral videos, sparking his initial interest in the power of the internet, as well as internet marketing. Adam has been featured on traditional media like MTV, VH1, and the Best Damn Sports Show. He’s taken his knowledge of traditional media translated it successfully into new media as a featured author in Search Engine Journal, PPC Hero, and WordStream, amongst others.
We utilize an advanced ROI driven marketing methodology developed at Harvard and put it to work for you to generate more customers on a consistent basis in a cost effective way.