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As a PPC specialist my eyes naturally gravitate over to the ads now.  I think it’s because I am looking for a good chuckle, looking to learn something, or seeing if Google changed anything without announcing said changes.  After a while of “accidentally analyzing” ads, I have noticed some trends.  The easiest and most obvious trends are that certain companies have a either a poor PPC management team or are using a third party that is in over their heads.  Since it seems to have rained for the last forty days and forty nights here in the Northeast, I’m feeling pretty deprived.  So I figure I will dedicate a blog to pointing out the failings of others to make myself feel better.

Target and its Version of PPC Ads

Bad ad copyLet’s begin (and end) with Target.  First, the number of keywords Target shows ads for is simply astounding.  It’s as astounding as it is perplexing.  Just about every commercial item I searched for Target had an ad displaying for it.  They even came up in random searches like warm baby, patio sets on fire, and frozen hand!  Their ad copy would indicate that they sell warm babies, are happy to set your patio afire, or sell you a frozen hand.  Either scenario probably wouldn’t play out well in public opinion.

Other ads exist where a good laugh is appropriate too, maybe not so much for the average user, but definitely to PPC people.  These ads make us laugh because we know the mistake that lead to the amusement.  I am not sure why it makes it funnier, but something abot knowing how to fix a mistake that the world is seeing is gratifying.  Take the following for example:






Poor ad copyBoth of these ads fall way short of the bare minimums essential for a successful ad.  The first ad uses 39 characters which is just over half of the characters they could have used to make a strong call to action, announce an initiative, or give a price point.  They just wasted 31 characters by not doing so.  The second ad is actually in position number 2 and it seems there is no actual ad copy and that some one placed “Step 2” where it does not belong.  That’s 70 characters of advertising that was just flushed down the toilet.  The only thing funnier than wasting ad space with no ad copy is wasting ad space with nonsensical ad copy.  Nonsensical ad copy usually comes from improper use of dynamic keyword insertion.  At least regular users aren’t aware of ad space and not using it, but when its used incorrectly, it makes the company look foolish.


Poor Ad CopyThe first line of this ad is misleading at best, and not cogent at its worst.  What does “Free Shipping $50” mean exactly?  I know and you know, but I am willing to bet most users don’t know what this means.  If the general mass of users don’t understand the shorthand, then it should be replaced by a line that is more understandable.


Poor Ad CopyThis ad reflects more improper use of dynamic keyword insertion.  Obviously the ad copy should read “winter gloves” not “gloves winter.”  When this error occurs the company looks like they don’t care if the user has a pleasant experience and it can damage a good reputation when the user chalks the error up to laziness.  If a company is lazy in advertising, the user will view the company  as a lazy in customer service as well.  This is a good example of when a competitor with a better looking ad gets the business.


All in all most of Target’s ads are right on, I am just picking on them.  If who ever is running their PPC ads would get a lesson in dynamic keyword insertion 90% of their ad copy issues would solve themselves.  I picked these ads because they all lack attention in one way or another and that lack of attention is making a company I respect look like they are foreign to the concept of cogent advertising.   I hope they fix it soon.  What do you think the over/under is on fixing it before Christmas?