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Copywriting matters


Everyone agrees, copywriting matters. So if copywriting matters then copywriters must matter. After all, this is the case in every advertising medium known to marketing man

Er…except one, it seems, which just so happens to be the most powerful, direct response, pure copywriting medium there’s ever been – paid search, which is dominated by Google Adwords. How can this make sense?

Who should write Google AdWords ads?

The fact is the vast majority of AdWords ads written for major brands are written by media agencies (who don’t have copywriters) and not by creative agencies (that do)? If I were a brand manager spending millions on Google AdWords – and many brands do - I’d want to know why copywriters have been effectively shut out of the process and who by. Especially when you also realise that Google AdWords is unique in being the only advertising medium that actually rewards better copywriting with financial rebates.

Agencies benefit, not clients

The answer – or problem depending on which way you look at it - is how the market for paid search has been carved up by the big international agency groups. Creative agencies know they can’t get their copywriters interested in writing paid search ads. Let’s be honest here, they feel it’s beneath them. For one thing there aren’t any awards in it. Another reason is that paid search is a highly technical advertising medium unlike any other and creative agency copywriters would have to be retrained. You can’t just pick it up and run with it. What’s more, copywriters in creative agencies are simply too expensive for the medium. The average creative team in a big brand agency is charged out at £2,000+ a day. This makes creative agency copywriters, who should be writing the paid search ads, prohibitively expensive. But there’s money to be made from paid search by international agency groups so what do they do? They make paid search a media only product, which it is primarily, but as we know copywriting still plays a significant role. This means that the media agency, or PPC account manager, now has to write the copy as well. Problem is, of course, people in media agencies have no knowledge and experience of direct response copywriting, nor do they have the experience to know how to write ads that convey the right tone of voice and brand values. Both of which are just as important to a brand in paid search as they are in any other advertising medium.

A question for Media Agency CEOs?

So if creative agency copywriters won’t write the ads because they’re not interested and too expensive, and media buyers have to write them despite the fact they’re not copywriters, where does that leave the client? Not in a good place because they have no alternative. It seems, whether they like it or not, they have to put up with this cosy status quo that actually serves the interests of the big international agency groups rather than those of paid search advertisers. If I’m wrong here, I cordially invite any CEO of any creative or media agency to explain to me why excluding experienced copywriters from paid search is in the best interests of their clients? And to make it simple for them I define copywriters as people who specialise in writing copy, i.e. it’s their day job. Any takers

A question for CMOs and Brand Managers

What’s required is a new breed of copywriter. Copywriters that are experienced, direct response copywriters so they can exploit all the ROI advantages of the medium, who know how to convey brand values, who have been trained in the technical aspects of writing for paid search, and are affordable. The good news is they are out there. It’s a small specialist sector but it’s growing as more brands wake up to value of specialist copywriting for paid search.

Earlier I asked the CEOs of creative and media agencies a question. Now it’s the turn of CMOs and brand managers. Say you’re spending in excess of £1 million a year on paid search. You know that the more effective your ads the better the results and the less you’ll pay for them. So, who would you rather have writing your ads – a busy PPC account manager in a media agency or an experienced copywriter trained in paid search? Because now that choice exists.

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