PPC and creativity: do they go together?

By Stan Welman-Williams
January 26, 2022
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This week I’m going to talk about PPC, as usual, and about creativity. Specifically, do PPC (Paid Search mainly) and creativity go together?

Now, if you work in PPC you’ll likely know the answer to this is a pretty resounding yes but from an outside perspective, it can look like PPC is a lot of data, analytics and behind the scenes tweaks, then slapping a few low word count ad copy out and hoping the clicks come in.

We aren’t like the content writers or the digital PR teams in our agency who are overflowing with creative ideas and ways to engage people and reach out to others. Rarely do we get to throw our work out to the wider world and show how amazing we are like they do, and our content and PR teams at Evergreen are pretty amazing as I’m sure you’ve seen.

We are covert creatives, using little tricks and tips to sneak creativity into the work that we do. We aren’t particularly flashy in how we are creative but the right side of our brain (the creative side, and no I didn’t have to Google which side was which) works almost as hard as our left side.

So enough praising other teams and all that nice stuff, let’s get down to it and discuss PPC and creativity: do they go together…?

Yes.

Ok, you probably want more than that, I get it. It wouldn’t prove my point to leave it there either really.

So first, and a relatively quick one, are display and retargeting ads. You have the creation of these (which I don’t do here as we have an amazing creative team) which requires a keen eye and ability to design. As mentioned, we have a team to make them here at The Evergreen Agency but I have had to make them in the past and it definitely requires creativity.

More than this though, you have to think creatively about the audiences, interests, topics and placements of these. It’s all well and good just popping the obvious ones in there but if you think slightly outside the box, you can get some really good results from less obvious targeting. If you can make connections between your typical targeting and other more subtle ones it can really help.

In a similar vein, you have keywords. Of course, first and foremost, you want to have relevant keywords that show great intent to drive the best traffic to your website. This is the primary focus of PPC campaigns but with automation and more focus across all the funnel, we are seeing ourselves have to become a bit more creative in our thinking.

This isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon either as Snickers once did a campaign targeting miss-spelt words with their “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign, which was a great creative way of using Google Ads. Even coming up with a good-sized keyword list requires creativity and a brain swimming with the possibilities of how and why people are searching these keywords.

Looking at data can also incorporate creativity into the logical, analytical side of things. If you are able to think creatively and in an abstract way, sometimes you’re able to make connections that you wouldn’t make just by looking at the data in an objective way. Of course, I’m not saying throw the analytical side out of the window. That would be crazy and at the end of the day, the data and objective facts are the most important thing, but there should always be room to let creativity slip in and allow yourself some space to trial things.

The final thing I’ll cover (although not the final part of creativity in PPC) is ad copy. You may think that ad copy doesn’t require too much creativity, after all, it’s 30 characters for headlines and 90 characters for descriptions. You can’t get much in there so you probably don’t have to think too much. Stick the business name, a few USPs and some calls to action. You’d be wrong about that. Why?

First, good ad copy is going to be what draws people to click your ads and it needs to be engaging, so a measure of creativity is required there.

Second, and very important, is that trying to fit information into those character limits can be an absolute nightmare. Never have I been more creative than trying to reword a headline so that instead of 31 characters long it’s 30, and have it still make sense and is engaging.

Now, as I said above, there are many other parts to not only incorporating creativity into your PPC but how creativity is an essential part of a PPC professional’s arsenal. If I got into all of them here, we’d probably run even longer than I already have but YouTube, extensions, audiences, shopping, Gmail all require creativity to work properly.

So, if we revisit the question of PPC and creativity: do they go together? The answer remains the same… Yes, they do.

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