PPC Calls-to-Action: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


Without compelling PPC calls-to-action (CTA), you’re missing out on more traffic and clicks than you’d care to imagine. A really great CTA is often what takes a visitor to the last stage of your funnel. Without that step, you aren’t getting the sales, clicks, or other conversions you need for success.

PPC Calls-to-Action: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

But when it comes to writing calls-to-action, what separates the best from the rest? Some CTAs capture your visitors’ interest right away, while others aren’t worth a second glance. 

Today, we’re going to break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of PPC calls-to-action to get you the clicks you’ve been waiting for. 

Types of PPC calls-to-action

First, let’s talk about the most common calls-to-action you see with PPC campaigns. 

Usually, they fall into one of these three categories: user engagement, lead generation, and direct response calls-to-action. 

New to PPC? Click here to learn about these campaigns and what platform to choose for paid search marketing works.

User engagement CTAs

User engagement isn’t necessarily calling for your audience to do anything but ENGAGE with your content. 

Maybe you have a food blog and you want more visitors to browse multiple pages in one visit. Or maybe you’re hoping visitors increase their time on your page. Or you just want them to explore and learn more about what you have to offer. 

User engagement PPC calls-to-action often include words like:

  • Discover
  • Visit
  • Learn more
  • Explore

Lead generation CTAs

Lead generations CTAs are used to move visitors further down the funnel, but they’re not your final CTA. 

Once your audience is aware of your brand–they’ve explored, visited, or clicked–it’s time to take the next step. With a lead generation CTA, you’ll often capture data, including newsletter signups. 

These CTAs might include words like:

  • Contact
  • Request
  • Enroll 
  • Verify

Direct response CTAs

Finally, a direct response calls for quick action. They’re often the last stage of your sales funnel: these PPC campaigns are asking your audience to take action or respond quickly.

Here are some examples of the copy you’ll see in direct response CTAs:

  • Buy now
  • Sign up
  • Call now
  • Shop
  • Register

CTAs for pay-per-click campaigns

Laptop and a Phone

Here’s the thing: there’s no one right answer to that the best CTA looks like. Ultimately, it will depend on things like your audience and the ultimate goal of your campaign. 

That being said, there are common themes within good, bad, and ugly CTAs. 

Strong calls-to-action

So, if you want to write compelling CTAs (of course you do!), these are some of the things it will include:

Active language

These words call your audience to act! For example, rather than plain old “Submit,” a great CTA might read: Get your free copy TODAY!

Other examples of active language to use in CTAs include words like: 

  • Start
  • Now 
  • Add (As in “Add to your cart today”)
  • Join 
  • Get
  • Reserve

The good thing about using active language in PPC calls-to-action is a lot of it comes down to common sense. Doesn’t “Join Now!” sound better than, “Enter your email?”

Second person language

When it comes to CTAs, second-person language is usually best. This means using “you” language as opposed to I or we. 

In fact, this is the most common language used throughout various marketing channels. It helps you–the customer–feel more connected to the brand because they feel as though they’re interacting directly with them. 

In action, this could be opting for “Get Your Free Shirt” vs. “Get a Free Shirt.” 

Clear language

A call-to-action should clearly explain what that action you’re calling for entails. 

You’ll often see buttons that are meant to be CTAs that read something like, “Okay.” But what does that communicate to the audience? 

Rather, you’ll want something clear AND compelling, that explains exactly what they get or what happens by clicking on your CTA.

Working on your PPC landing pages? Here are 8 PPC Landing Page Dos And Don’ts You Can’t Miss.

Search console

Avoid these PPC calls-to-action tactics

Now that we’ve covered some of the best CTA tactics, let’s talk about the bad and ugly when it comes to calls-to-action. But, if you follow the guidelines we’ve shared for writing effective CTAs, you’re already well on your way to avoiding these call-to-action no-nos.

There are plenty of reasons your CTAs might not be performing.

One of the biggest calls-to-action failures we see has to do with asking too much from them in a single CTA.

It’s usually best to stick to one outcome or objective from your CTAs. Otherwise, your audience gets confused and distracted and might click away from your PPC ad altogether. 

For example, a CTA like this isn’t likely to perform well, “Enter your email and visit our website and join our list.”

Each of those is a reasonable goal, but they should each have their own ad if you really want to accomplish them.

You could take that one, long, confusing CTA, and turn it into these three, shorter and more effective options:

  • Sign Up & Receive Your $10 Coupon
  • Learn to ______ Today
  • Join Our List for Exclusive Updates

Help with PPC advertising and PPC calls-to-action

Crafting your PPC advertising strategy, PPC calls-to-action, and everything else that goes along with digital marketing takes time and a lot of work. Let us put our expertise to work for you! Contact Blue Water Marketing in Florida today to find out how we can help.

Learn more about our pay-per-click advertising services here. 


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