Rachel Chambers - MSFT
Posted on 02/17/14

MSC13_ChrisA_03 (2)We’ve all clicked on an online ad only to end up somewhere unexpected or unwanted. These journeys are frustrating and, in some cases, leave you feeling tricked. As in life, in search engine marketing you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure you get it right with clear, accurate messaging.

Transparency is the best policy when it comes to your campaigns, but those brief lines of text can quickly get murky. Inaccurate ads are sometimes simply the result of poor wording or unfamiliarity with SEM techniques, but they can also be a sign of advertising that is intended to mislead our users. We do our best to prevent misleading ads and work with advertisers to improve the quality of their messaging. For best practices on creating better ads, familiarize yourself with our User Safety and Privacy guidelines.

Determining the clarity of an ad comes down to whether it sets the right expectations for the user once they click through. Your ads and landing page should accurately represent your business, your brand, and what you offer. Besides avoiding confusion, higher quality ads lead to improved relevancy that, in turn, promotes more positive user experiences and increases ROI– good news for both you and your potential customers!

Wondering if your campaigns fit the bill? Ask yourself these questions:

Is it easy to complete the expected transaction after clicking my ad?

o Is it is clear what product or service is being offered on the landing page?

o Is the offer available on the site when the user triggers the ad?

  • If offers are available for a limited time, schedule your campaigns or ad groups accordingly.
  • No one likes a “catch.” Don’t promote deals or discounts that aren’t applicable and include any special conditions up front.

Is there any reason the user would be surprised or confused to find my landing page?

o Does the ad title, text and display URL convey what sort of site to expect?

o Am I misleading my audience into thinking that I offer products or services that I can’t?

  • Providing government documents or the retrieval of secure, confidential information are examples of services that can only be performed by authorized entities.

o Are brand names in my ad copy implying an affiliation where none exists? Does the use of trademarked brands or logos on my landing page create brand owner confusion?

Misleading advertising isn’t just a headache for users, it affects your bottom line. So, make good business sense and please your customers: if an ad is clear and speaks honestly, it will draw clicks and hit your target audience. Then, when people do continue to your site, they will stay because the landing page is what they expect. It’s a win-win: you’ll only pay for the clicks you want and give customers a great experience that keeps them coming back for more.

Tags: ads, Editorial, Featured, featured posts
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