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Cashvertising By Drew Whitman

“People buy because of emotion and justify with logic. Force an emotional response by touching on a basic want or need”
– The Young & Rubicam Traveling Creative Workshop

We all have ‘go-to’ books for inspiration.

When I’m writing PPC ads, mine is ‘Cashvertising’ by Drew Whitman.

It’s a very accessible, yet comprehensive, book about consumer psychology.

And it’s message is simple…

To develop effective adverts, you need to understand why people buy.

To understand why people buy, you need to have a keen sense of human nature.


Life Force 8


Whitman builds on evolutionary theory to develop model he calls ‘Life Force 8’ (LF8).

LF8 is a set of 8 principles based on core foundational desires all humans yearn for.

We can’t fight them, they are hard-wired into us. Biologically programmed to satisfy them.

They are…

1. Survival, life extension
2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
3. Freedom from fear, pain and danger
4. Sexual companionship
5. Comfortable living conditions
6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses.
7. Care and protection of loved ones
8. Social approval

When you create advertising centred around these concepts, you tap into the power of Mother Nature herself. And that drives action.

Think about it…

Can you suppress your will to survive? (LF8 #1).

Can you fight the need to eat or drink? (LF8 #2)

Can you ignore your child’s persistent cough? (LF8 #7)

If your advertising message does not appeal to at least one of the LF8, you have wasted your money.


Lessons From A Master Bookseller


Mail-order guru, Haldeman-Julius conducted a ground breaking experiment in the 1920’s.

During that time he sold more than 200 million books in nearly 2000 different titles.

The books he sold were simple, and cost only 5 cents each. To advertise, he placed ads consisting of only the books’ title.

If a book didn’t sell well, he’d change the ad copy, but not in the way you’d expect. He actually changed the titles of the books.

He’d then sit back and study the response.

Look what happened when the titles were changed based on the LF8.

 Old Title  Annual Sales  New Title  Annual Sales – LF8 Adjusted
Ten O’Clock 2000 What Art Should Mean To You 9000 (LF8 #8)
Fleece Of Gold 5000 Quest For A Blonde Mistress 50,000 (LF8 #4)
Art Of Controversy 0 How To Argue Logically 30,000 (LF8 #6)
Casanova & His Loves 8000 Casanova – History’s Greatest Lover 22,000 (LF8 #4)
Apothegems 2000 The Truth About The Riddle Of Life 9000 (LF8 #1)

From his findings over the years, the two strongest appeals were sex (LF8 #4) and self-improvement (LF8 #6).

Think about that for a second, and your own response to certain adverts…


How Do We Apply This In PPC?


One of the best parts of working with PPC accounts is the ability to run experiments.

Within a typical Ad Group, I will create 3/4 separate text ads, each with a core headline differentiator that satisfies at least one of the LF8.

After running these adverts on an indefinite rotation for certain amount of time, I will then study certain key indicators.

I will look at data such as Click Thru Rate (CTR) and Conversion Rate to see which ad elicited the most effective response in the visitor.

I will then take things a step further – analysing Google Analytics data to see how users interacted with the website based on their initial first impression stimulus.

If there is a correlation between certain advertising messages and conversions (sales/leads) I can use that data to recommend on page or company-wide messaging alterations.


Example Text Ads Based on LF8


To illustrate my point, let’s take a look at one of my client’s campaigns.

Amongst their portfolio of timber buildings, they make timber garages.

Within an existing Ad Group I created 3 separate ads, each with a core headline and description variation focusing specifically on 1 of the LF8.

All other ad variation factors were kept stable – were I was looking for differentiation data on the headline/description.

The ads all averaged a position of 4.4 across 30 days.

The conversion rate relates to a visitor either downloading a pdf or requesting a physical brochure in the post.


Advert 1

LF8 #6 – To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses.

Timber Garages From £2355 | Add Value To Your Home
chartgarages.co.uk/garages
Be the envy of the neighbours with a multi-functional & home value adding garage. Designed & made in Kent by carpenters. UK wide delivery.

CTR – 8.65%
Conversion Rate – 23.56%


Advert 2

LF8 #8 – Social approval

Timber Garages From £2355 | Responsibly Sourced Timber
chartgarages.co.uk/garages
Made from eco-friendly timber. Ideal for decluttering your home responsibly. Cheaper and more environmentally friendly than brick. UK-wide delivery.

CTR – 5.93%
Conversion Rate – 10.00%%


Advert 3

LF8 #5 – Comfortable living conditions

Timber Garages From £2355 | Declutter Your Home
chartgarages.co.uk/garages
Protect your vehicles and efficiently store household clutter. Multi-functional storage customisation – including new roof storage features. UK-wide delivery.

CTR – 6.00%
Conversion Rate – 15.38%


Conclusions


The experiment throws up some distinctive data.

The best performing ad was Advert 1 – LF8 focus on being superior (monetary/status) – with a CTR and Conversion Rate substantially better than the other 2 sample adverts.

Advert 3’s focus on LF8 #5 (Comfortable living conditions) was the 2nd best performer based on converting a visitor, whilst Advert 3’s LF8 #8 had a comparable CTR to Advert 2, but wasn’t as effective at converting visitors.

The experiment illustrates what can now be done to landing pages and product messaging to increase conversion rates and further improve advertising ROI.

The drive to be superior to thy neighbour appears to be the biggest driver to action – who’d have thunk it 😉