Google Search Ad Copy – Best Practices
For those who are advertising search text ads on Google for your business, or are aspiring to in the near future, writing relevant ads is super important and is often overlooked.
Why invest time in tweaking your ads? Glad you asked..
High Click through Rate
This simply means, more visitors to your site as your ad is more likely to be clicked.
Higher Conversion Rate
This means that when users go to your site, they have a higher likelihood of taking a valuable action (i.e. submit a lead, order, spend time reading about your business, etc.).
Lower cost per click
That’s right, not only do you get more traffic and more conversions for your business, but Google will even reward you by lowering the cost per click you pay! Why would they do that, simple, they realize that you have quality ads that users are engaging with. They reward you with lower cost per click as you’re providing a great user experience.
Higher Ad Ranking
Your business will rank higher on the search engine results page. Same as above, Google likes high performing ads that resonate with users resonate. Thus, Google will reward you with higher positioning on the landing page.
So how do I make this happen and write high quality search text ads?
Google Search Ad Copy : Headline
In the headline of your ad, include the name of your business and a key headline. This way, at first glance, the user knows exactly what your ad is about. Nutrisystem does this perfectly, they have their brand first and foremost in the headline and next to it, they have a key headline, America’s #1 Home Delivery. It’s concise and impactful.
Google Search Ad Copy : Description
In the description of the ad, tell the user that your business has exactly what they are looking for and ask them to take action. In the example below, Valvoline tells the user that they offer 15 minute oil changes, provides a great offer of $24.99 and asks the user to take action.
Google Search Ad Copy : Ad Extensions
Beef up your ad with ad extensions. Ad extensions are “add ons” to your search ads that gives even more information beyond just the headline and the description. Additionally, Google has shared publicly that adding ad extensions will increase the quality score of your ads. This means that you’ll have a higher chance to rank higher (Google rewards high quality ads) and you may pay lower CPCs.
I’ll going to use the exact same example from Valvoline. In the example below they have the following ad extensions:
Great on-the go solution, reputable brand, 4.6 star rating, 250,000 happy customers. Callout Extensions are selling differentiators you can append to a standard text ads.
Services: Oil change, transmission, radiator, gear box, fuel system. Structure Snippets are snippets that Google allows additional write-ups for specific categories including, services, products, courses, etc.
175 Everett St. Norwood, MA
Location Extensions is an extension where you list your location, this is super important for any business with brick and mortar locations.
25 Years of Excellence, Full Service Oil Change. Sitelinks are links going deeper into the site.
When you do all of this, your ad is literally chock full of super valuable information of your business for the user. I mean, it’s a small novel of very valuable information and Google will reward that with higher placement, lower CPCs and Valvoline will benefit by having higher click through rates and higher conversion rates.
When you’re creating the ad there are even more extensions to consider, including call extensions, but if you can do at least have 3 ad extensions, you’re in great shape.
Adding a phone number so potential customers can dial directly from the ad.
This example doesn’t include this, but it’s a pretty awesome feature so I’ll share anyway. With message extensions advertisers can open up texting capabilities directly within the ad. Given the mobile first world we live in, this can be very powerful. I personally have seen success from this, when advertising my own business. A user wasn’t interested in calling, nor filling out a lead form, but they simply opted to send a text message which opened up a great dialog.
Google Search Ad Copy : Ad Group Themes
Have thematically aligned ad groups. This means that for every ad group (which is the keywords associated with your text ads), follow a unified theme, where all the keywords are extremely relevant to the ad. If any keywords are not relevant for the given ads, remove them into their separate ad groups.
Google Search Ad Copy : Number of Ads per Ad Group
Include at least 3 unique ads per ad group. This is often overlooked, but very critical, even if the changes are extremely subtle. The reason is that each ad performs differently and you want to give Google a few options to serve the most effective ad to the user. Which goes to my fifth point, below.
Google Search Ad Copy : When to Add New Ads
A rule of thumb for me is every month, take a look at the performance of your ads. No doubt, you’ll find some ads that perform awesome (high click through rate, and high conversion rate), additionally you’ll find ads that just don’t work. On a monthly cadence, review your ads and take some action. Of the top performing ads, no action is required, keep them humming. If anything, identify any themes to why they work so well. Are they offering a discount, are there any themes you can draw from.
Of the ads that don’t perform well, take action and pause them immediately. Replace these ads with new ads to test. You don’t have to rework everything, you can simply take your top performing ads and apply a few adjustments to test against. For example, it could be swapping the first headline with the second headline, have a stronger call to action, etc.
Rule of thumb, is I like to see action taken for ads that at least have 30-40 clicks. Reason is, if they don’t have much click, the decisions we make won’t be statistically significant.
Google Search Ad Copy : Responsive ad format
Google recently rolled out a new ad format, called Responsive Ads. This is awesome for several reasons.
- You have even more real estate. You can show up to three headlines (up from two) and up to two descriptions. The more real estate you have, is the less real estate your competitors have.
- There is a machine learning element to this. Google will automatically test different headline and description combinations within your ads. Think of this as Google doing your ad copy testing for you – pretty awesome right?
Google Search Ad Copy : Ad Customizers
I’m a big fan of ad customizers. With ad customizers you can automatically populate data within the ad copy, to by hyper tailored in your messaging. Here’s a great example, for one of my clients I created ad customizers to automatically populate the users location (county) within the ad copy (i.e. we service Washington County). We do this by uploading a feed which calls out the users location and the location copy we should populate within the ad. The ad will then reference the feed and if certain conditions are met (i.e. the user location is tracked and it’s within the feed), the ad copy will be updated accordingly.
For those who need help getting started with creating a Google ads account, check out my blog post How to Create a Google Ads Account.