Traffic from Google Search is considered warmer than most pay-per-click channels because users are deliberately searching for a specific brand, product or service.

However, Google Search’s text ads only consist of a few lines of text (no images!).

Meaning that the ad copy is the one that will make or break your campaign.

Here are some copywriting tips and best practices to make your AdWords text ads more compelling.

[Marketing Tips] [11-Part Checklist] Google Search Text Ad Best Practices

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Expanded Text Ad vs Standard Text Ad

Before we dive into the various ad copy strategies, we need to understand the differences between the new expanded text ads and the old standard text ads.

  • 2 headlines separated by a hyphen vs 1 headline
  • 1 long description line vs 2 description lines
  • 2 optional path fields vs 1 path

The key is to make every word count.

AdWords Google Search - Expanded Text Ad vs Standard Text Ad

1. Include Your Brand

You can slot your brand into 1 of the 2 headlines or in the long description.

This name-dropping will be consistent with the domain URL and thus, boosting credibility.

Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels

If people search for your brand and your keywords include your brand, your brand name will appear bold. This will make your ad more prominent than your competitors’ ads.

Including your brand is also essential, especially if your campaign objective is branding or raising brand awareness.

2. Include Keywords (Of That Specific Ad Group)

Do include the keywords in your ad copy so they appear bold when your target audience searches for them.

For example, if you have a brand ad group that contains brand keywords, you need to include your brand in the headline or description. The same applies to product/service ad groups etc.

Nicole C. W. Chocolates @ NYC
Get The Sweetest Gift Now
Enjoy Rich Intense Chocolates Of Countless Varieties: White, Milk, Dark & More

See how I’ll edit my generic ad copy to fit into my Dark Chocolates ad group:

Nicole C. W. Chocolates @ NYC
Get Dark Chocolates From $10
Enjoy Rich Intense Chocolates Of Countless Varieties: White, Milk, Dark & More

Nicole C. W. Chocolates @ NYC
Get The Sweetest Gift Now
Enjoy Premium Dark Chocolates (Rich Cocoa With Bittersweet Undertones)

I can simply change headline 2 or the description and apply the same changes to my White Chocolates, Milk Chocolates ad groups etc.

The point is to change the ad copy according to the keywords of that specific ad group.

Keyword Insertion

Manually changing ad copy is time-consuming. To save time, you can consider using dynamic keyword insertion instead.

Dynamic keyword insertion automatically updates ads with the keywords in the ad group.

AdWords Google Search - Dynamic Keyword Insertion

You can choose how your keywords are capitalized: title, sentence or lower case.

Also, check that your default text is short and consistent with the copy on the web page you’re sending traffic to. This default text will appear when the text can’t be replaced by the keyword (for instance, if the keyword is too long and exceeds the character limit).

But bear in mind that you should use phrase or exact match for the keywords because order is important here. You don’t really want to have any glaring grammatical or syntax errors appearing on your ads.

AdWords even lists down some reasons why keyword insertion might not work.

3. Use Punctuation, Symbols & Numbers

You only have a few seconds to arrest your target audience’s attention.

Hence, to prevent them from glancing over, stop them in their tracks with punctuation, symbols and numbers. These small little marks will make your ads stand out.

Photo by Anemone123 on Pixabay

In addition, you can also use punctuation, symbols and numbers to shorten the text and still convey your key message within the character limit. Examples include

  • @: highlight the location of your business
  • &: save a few characters by using ‘&’ instead of ‘and’
  • 5*: for instance, in 5* hotels/restaurants

4. Use Title Case: Capitalize The 1st Alphabet Of Every Word

Just do a simple Google Search and you’ll find that almost all text ads use title case.

In fact, someone has run an experiment to compare the performance of capitalized ads vs non-capitalized ads.

By capitalizing the first letter of every word, your ad looks more professional and you’ll probably attract warm leads that are ready to take action (signing up, buying etc.).

Photo by Wokandapix on Pixabay

5. Utilize Path Fields

Path fields are part of the URL:

Your path text doesn’t have to match the exact text of your destination URL. Meaning that this is the perfect place to insert your keywords.

This will build trust in your target audience by showing that your ad is sending them to the right page which is related to their search query.

Take the example above, I could create 2 ads with different path fields like

  • /dark-chocolates
  • /milk-chocolates

And yet both ads are actually sending users to the same chocolates page on my website. Well, obviously it would be better if you have a landing page for each specific type of chocolates. But using the same generic chocolates page could be an alternative while you create the landing page.

6. Craft Compelling Call-To-Action (CTA)

CTA is where you tell your target audience the specific action you want them to take.

The CTA on your ad copy needs to be consistent with the web page that you’re directing traffic to.

So, for instance, if clicking on the ad brings users to a product description page, you can use CTAs like “Buy Now”, “Get X Today”.

Other common CTAs are

  • Get Quote
  • Reserve My Spot
  • Download Guide

Photo by geralt on Pixabay


Do you notice how the list of CTAs has something in common?

All of them starts with a verb, an action word.

You can make your ads stand out by using uncommon verbs. However, I prefer ‘Get’ because

  • it’s not as strong a word as ‘Buy’ or ‘Purchase’ (which might deter some people)
  • it’s not long like ‘Download’ hence saving some characters to squeeze in 1 more word

Learn More

‘Learn More’ is a very common CTA. So if your ad uses this, it might not stand out from the competition.

But I quite like this CTA precisely because it’s common and low commitment.

‘Learn More’ signals to your target audience that this is an ad and clicking it will bring them to a page that explains the product or service in greater detail. There is no commitment required. If they want to know more, they can just click. It’s not an obligatory buy or download.

Bear in mind that ‘Learn More’ will result in more clicks. But a specific and higher commitment CTA might result in more conversions.

7. Abide By AdWords’ Editorial Guidelines & Policies

Note that AdWords is strict on excessive punctuation, capitalization and more.

FREE is okay for Facebook ads but your AdWords ads will definitely get disapproved if you capitalize FREE.

Exclamation marks (!) in the ad headline will also get your ads disapproved.

Do look through the list as well as AdWords’ other advertising policies. Such as trademarks and misrepresentation. They’re also quite strict on ads that advertise financial services, gambling and healthcare etc.

Photo by TeroVesalainen on Pixabay

8. Must Include Features & Benefits

Besides including the promotion (if you have any), ensure that you’ve also included

  • Features: cold hard facts about your product or service (eg. size, weight, years of experience)
  • Benefits: what/how your product or service can help customers (eg. save time, cut costs)

Nicole C. W. Chocolates @ NYC
Get Chocolates From $10
Choose From A Range Of Flavors: 60%-99% Cocoa, White/Dark/Milk & More.

For instance, the features would be the 60%-99% cocoa content and white/dark/milk chocolates while the benefit would be that user has the freedom to choose from a wide range of chocolates.

Ensure that you understand the differences between features and benefits.

9. Tap Into The Fear Of Missing Out: Urgency & Scarcity

Play on your target audience’s fear of losing out. Whether it’s highlighting that your product is in short supply or that the promotion only lasts 3 days.

You can create a sense of urgency and scarcity by simply adding a few words:

  • Hurry, While Stocks Last
  • Limited Time Promo
  • Only 50 Sets Available
  • Ends In 3 Days
  • First Come, First Served

Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay

Countdown Customizers

If your ad is about an upcoming event or a promotion that ends on a specific date, you can use the countdown customizers to countdown to this special event.

This way, you don’t have to manually duplicate and edit the ads every single day.

  • 1 ad about “Sale Ends In 7 Days”
  • 1 ad about “Sale Ends In 6 Days”
  • 1 ad about “Sale Ends In 5 Days”
  • etc.

You save time and effort by creating just 1 single ad.

  • Sale Ends In {=GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN(“2018/07/20 23:59:59″,”en-US”,7)}

There are a few options available too like

  • Whether to count down to a time consistent with your account’s timezone or to the timezone of the person searching
  • How many days before the end date does the countdown ad start showing
  • Language

10. Appeal To Logic & Emotions

People make purchase decisions either logically or emotionally.

In fact, some have argued that we make purchase decisions emotionally then justify them logically. Thus, appealing to emotions is more persuasive than appealing to logic.

However, I beg to differ because I feel that it boils down to your target consumer’s personality. Take me for example where I’m a more rational person hence logical appeal works better for me.

Photo by ElisaRiva on Pixabay

Logical Appeal

By providing some facts and figures of your brand, product or service, you’re actually creating logical reasons of why your target audience should make this purchase.

This logical appeal will address their practical reasoning ability and also justify the purchase.

Emotional Appeal

This is where you make your copy emotional. Let your target audience feel something and make them act on these feelings.

You need to know exactly which emotional triggers work, whether it’s fear or happiness. Then, craft your copy to create those emotions to push them towards the purchase.

11. Implement Ad Extensions

Last but not least, do ensure that you’ve implemented at least 1 ad extension. But the more the merrier!

Ad extensions expand your ad with additional information. There are many ad extensions to choose from:

  • Location: encourage people to visit your shop/store
  • Call: add a phone number or call button to your ads
  • Sitelinks: provide links to specific pages of your website
  • Price: showcase your products/services & their prices
  • Review: highlight reviews & ratings from customers
  • etc.

Now It’s Your Turn

What other copywriting tips and best practices have you implemented on your Google Search text ads?

If you have marketing budget or prefer spending time on more important business matters, you can consider hiring a search engine marketing expert from Fiverr instead. There are also top-rated professionals from Fiverr Pro who are hand-vetted for stellar quality and service.

Check out copywriting classes like Copywriting For Crafters or Write Copy That Compels And Sells or join online business classes and marketing and sales classes for more business growth tips! You can also watch streaming broadcasts of free online classes at CreativeLive~


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Nicole C. W. All Rights Reserved.

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