A version of this post appeared on Edelman Digital.

While there are many channels and opportunities to serve ads online, paid search is arguably the best for driving cost-efficient conversions. Searchers with an intent to purchase are actively in-market for a product or service, and the major search engines serve ads against these consumers in real time.

The programmatic nature of paid search allows marketers to easily serve ads to the right person at the right time. However, delivering the right message that cuts through the clutter and appeals to the searcher can be challenging.

Serving the right ad is crucial for driving clicks and sales, and marketers should consider the following best practices to inform strategy and ensure brand messaging resonates with the target audience.

Know the Basics

Every paid search text ad adheres to the same structure across the major search engines. Headlines are usually the first thing a searcher will notice about an ad, and the description allows marketers to tell the searcher more about the advertised product or service in more detail. The displayed URL includes the root domain of the landing page and can include two custom-tailored “paths” to be more relevant to the query and give the searcher an idea about what to expect post-click.

Collect Data

Mine data from paid search to determine which ads are performing best, and those learnings can be used to further optimize and increase performance. To properly gather formal learnings, marketers should first determine which variable they want to test, and messaging should be constructed in a way in which learnings can be distilled.

Use Messaging Learnings to Inform Testing on Other Channels

We recently ran a creative test to see if “Save 55 Percent Off Purchase” messaging would perform better than listing the actual price of the product with the 55 percent discount baked in. Once the test reached statistical significance, we determined that the “Save 55 Percent Off Purchase” messaging generated a return-on-ad-spend 59 percent higher than messaging that listed the actual price. Messaging that featured the actual price was then retired across paid search and rotated into other channels to test further, which produced similar results.

Kenneth Hamner is vice president, Search Engine Marketing, Edelman.