The Keyboard is Mightier than the Sword
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The Keyboard is Mightier than the Sword

November 25th, 2013, By

One of our team leaders showed me a client’s advertising performance data through our Edge.BI platform. I saw how a change of 10 words within 1 ad led to a 550% month-over-month increase in actual sales generated by that single ad. Since other elements of the campaign were isolated, the Wow factor was definitely there. I was thinking: John Caples should have seen this baby!


For more than 50 years, starting from the 20’s of the previous century, Mr. John Caples (R.I.P) served as one of advertising’s most effective copywriters. Even today, the man is still considered an advertising guru.




Within the current modern direct response advertising industry, John Caples’ innovative approach has become the ‘basics’ of performance advertisers’ methodology today. Still, even the basics need to be refreshed sometimes and put to action in a new context.


Sharpen Up those Headlines

John Caples put an enormous emphasis on the headline, claiming it is the critical door the reader/prospect must positively pass through if a sale is eventually to be made, or a similar action is to be taken.

Google agrees with John, stating on their AdWords Help section that “The first line of your ad is the one that customers are most likely to notice.” To recap, Google AdWords text ads, the simplest version of a clickable message, contain three components: headline, description and display URL.


Going Beyond click-through-rates (CTR) and into John Caples Land

It’s not uncommon to do a search and see too many similar AdWords ads with repetitive, keyword rich, boring, at times – over hyped and/or unappealing messages.

Less common but more dangerous are ads that appeal to users, thus generating clicks (depleting your daily budget on AdWords), but not leading to users taking the post-click actions you intended them to take (e.g., buying what you’re selling, registering to a newsletter, etc.).


At Seperia, we make sure all our PPC clients understand that:

  • Going beyond click-through-rates (CTR) or even conversions is necessary to ensure the profitability of campaigns. To do that, we constantly record the “money in the register” that was driven by ads.
  • Continuously Testing ad copy and landing pages is a critical factor in developing a winning AdWords strategy.
  • Our strategy focuses on business indicators such as the real gross profit driven by the advertising operation, rather than just CTR, cost per conversions, or even CPA (cost per acquisition of a real client) since clients values typically vary.

Giving John Caples a Technological Edge

With Seperia’s Edge.BI™ optimization software, John Caples would have been a killer advertiser on steroids. Edge.BI enables organizations to monitor post-click sales activity — to automatically integrate AdWords cost and click performance to CRM metrics such as qualified leads, actual sale volume and other revenue related data. This is a critical missing link in the chain between lead generation efforts and online / offline ultimate performance and return.


Technology did and will continue to evolve the advertising world but words will always be irreplaceable so don’t forget to ensure that your marketing staff and/or partners are equipped with keyboards that are mightier than their swords.


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