• Using industry lingo & acronyms in your PPC ad copy

    by  • October 8, 2007 • Keywords, Pay Per Click • 3 Comments

    So, the majority of people who read my blog (if not all of them) know that the PPC in the title means Pay Per Click. But have you considered the use of acronyms, abbreviations and industry lingo in your own PPC campaigns?

    SEO? ROI? NHL? PDA? RPG? B2B? Yes, we all use shorthand abbreviations when writing IMs today, but I have definitely noticed it creeping into YSM (yes, that is Yahoo Search Marketing) & AdWords campaigns quite frequently. But should you let it encroach on yours? While using acronyms and industry jargon can be perfectly acceptable in some situations, in other cases all you will achieve is confusing your potential visitor and handing them over to your competitor on a silver platter. So here are some things to keep in mind when using industry jargon and acronyms in your pay per click campaigns.

    Why bother using acronyms?

    Think about the average pay per click ad… you don’t really get that many characters to work with to try and squeeze all the information in. And when you can swap three character-rich keywords (such as Search Engine Optimization) into a tiny three character acronym, that is 23 more characters you have to work with. And that can add up when you only have a 25 character title, plus two lines of 35 characters of which to squeeze your entire marketing message into.

    How main stream is the acronym?

    If someone is searching for a Vancouver Canucks jersey, using NHL in the ad copy is perfectly fine if someone knows enough to be searching for a Canucks jersey, chances are pretty good they know what NHL stands for, and if not, the “Vancouver Canucks jersey” in the title and/or description should be a clear tip-off.

    Others are perfectly fine. If someone is either geotargeted within Washington State, or they have searched for something specific within Washington state, using WA is fine as well.

    How savvy is the customer that will see the ad?

    Take the term PPC for example. If you are experienced in PPC, you know what it means. So if you have a product marketed to an advanced PPC user – such as click fraud detection or a new conversion tracking software – using PPC in the ad copy is perfectly acceptable.

    However, what if your target customer is that brand new webmaster who has had their new business website online for a week and remembers reading somewhere that Google or Yahoo sells ads for ten cents a click? Chances are pretty slim they know what PPC stands for. So if you ad was targeting that user and you used PPC in the title and ad copy, that new webmaster will go off to your competitor whose ad says “Learn how to advertise your business online” rather than “Learn PPC for your online business”.

    What are they searching for?

    A good clue is to serve up different ads based on the search terms used. If the visitor used the acronym in their search, serve them up the acronym happy version of your ad. If not, give those potential visitors a bit more to work with, especially when there could be a learning curve with those visitors.

    Don’t lose the keyword bolding

    Another reason why it makes sense to include the keyword phrase or the acronym that the user searched for is because you don’t want to lose the bolding effect. When the keyword(s) that the user searched for appears in your ad copy in AdWords, Google will bold those words for you. So if someone searched for “pay per click” yet you used PPC in your ad copy, you have just lost an important way to draw attention to your ad over your competitors, especially for those whose ads aren’t appearing in at the top. This is another good reason why making individual ads based on the acronym versus non-acronym search makes sense

    Include the full keyword phrase in URL when using acronym in ad copy

    Another trick you can use if you are dead set on using the acronym in the ad copy because of space constraints, use the full version in the URL. For example, you could use PPC in the ad copy, while the display URL is example.com/pay-per-click/ or pay-per-click.example.com. And yes, the pay per click part of the URL will be bolded if those were the keywords used in the search. Do be aware that you are limited to 35 characters in the display URL, so you may not have room depending on the length of your base URL. And also keep in mind that the entire display URL might not display in some ad unit sizes on the content network.

    Is it allowed?

    PPC providers have their own little set of rules regarding acronyms and shorthand so you will also need to double check and make sure what you want to use is allowed. That said, if your ad gets turned down for using a very common acronym like NHL (yes, it does happen), you definitely have a case for appealing the rejection.

    Some of the rejections are automatic, especially for ones that might be exclusive to your industry and not common to the general public. Simply have it reviewed and there shouldn’t be a problem.

    So what is best for you?

    You should definitely use acronyms, abbreviations and jargon where it is appropriate in your ad copy, particularly when you do have serious space constraints and when you are fairly certain that those searchers will know what your shorthand means. However, do be cautious about when and where you use them, especially when you could potentially lose visitors because the jargon or abbreviations confused them and left them uncertain if you did offer what they were looking for.


    Jennifer Slegg is a longtime member of the SEO community and is an expert on social media, content marketing, Google AdSense and search engines.

    3 Responses to Using industry lingo & acronyms in your PPC ad copy

    1. Tim
      November 2, 2007 at 6:35 pm

      This is a good reminder. A friend of mine recently read my blog and thought it was pretty cool… then asked me what PPC and SEM are?

      It’s so easy to take your everyday jargon and assume people know what you’re talking about.

    2. November 7, 2007 at 2:27 pm

      I think as people in the industry we forget about the acronyms we use because the are second nature. Good article.

    3. Pingback: 5 Star Affiliate Marketing Forums

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *