How to Write Effective Ads in Google AdWords

In Brief...

Attracting potential customers with an effective AdWords ad can be challenging. Not only do you need to craft engaging text and keywords, but you must also abide by Google's guidelines and text ad structure. The following information will help you write the kind of ad that gets clicks.


Call to Action

Direct your viewers to take certain action via your ad text. If your ad copy directs the visitors to take certain action, then it is going to influence them to look for that action on the landing page. Here are some examples of common calls to action:

  1. Call Now to Get a Free Quote.
  2. Buy Now to Save 10%.
  3. Try/Download Software for Free.
  4. Sign up for a Free Demo.

Value Proposition

Separate benefits from features. Focus on what benefit you are going to provide to your customers. For example, instead of saying "Buy a New Power Efficient Furnace," it is better to say "Go Green and Reduce Your Energy Bill."

  1. Use keywords in your ad headlines: If possible, use keywords in your headlines. If your ad is triggered by a keyword, then viewers are more likely to click on that ad if they see the same keyword in that ad. It increases the relevance of your ad, which can improve your click-through rate.
  2. Have relevant display URLs: It is important to have user-friendly display URLs. Users may be hesitant to click on strange looking URLs that look like spam. Use your company's home page for the display URL.
  3. Include emotional appeal whenever possible: Try to speak to your intended audience. For example, use ad text such as "Feel Confident with the Way You Look," instead of saying "Improve Your Looks."

Review of Google's Guidelines

Google has strict editorial requirements for text ads (you can view all of the Google AdWords editorial requirements in the AdWords Help Center). These restrictions in general are there to foster an environment of fair play between all advertisers and to help consumers find relevant information. Here are some guidelines that you need to follow to get your ad approved:

Accurate and clear ad text: Your ad must reflect what the consumer will find on your landing page (e.g., your ad talks about yoga mats and if that item is not on your landing page or on your website, then Google can fall back on this rule if they want to disapprove your ad copy).

Accurate capitalization: You can capitalize the first letter of each individual word; however, you cannot capitalize an entire word, with some exceptions (e.g., FREE Yoga Class will not be approved since the word FREE is capitalized. However, Free GRE or GMAT Class would be acceptable as these are acronyms).

Proper spelling and grammar: You cannot have misspellings in your ad copy (e.g., Luv instead of Love). However, alternate spellings are acceptable (e.g., color or colour).

Unsubstantiated claims: Unsubstantiated claims are not allowed. For example, you cannot use superlatives such as "the best coffee in the world" in your ad copy unless such claims are substantiated with proof available on your website. Also, if you quote a price or special offer, then you must show the same to the consumer on the landing page or a few clicks from your landing page.

Formatting and punctuation: Ad copy can have only one exclamation point, and that exclamation point cannot be in the headline. You cannot repeat the same word multiple times in the same row (e.g., Free Free Free will not be allowed). Symbols and punctuation must be used correctly and only for their intended purpose.

Miscellaneous: Ad text cannot contain any offensive or inappropriate language. You cannot imply a Google affiliation or relationship that does not exist.

Understanding Google's Text Ad Structure

In Google AdWords, you need to abide by a particular ad structure with requirements for how many characters can appear in an ad:

  1. Ad Title or Ad Headline: 25 characters with spaces
  2. Description Line 1: 35 characters with spaces
  3. Description Line 2: 35 characters with spaces
  4. Display URL: 255 characters with spaces (if you use a longer URL, it will appear shortened when the ad is displayed

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Author: Margaux Judge

Margaux Judge has worked as an e-learning editor and instructional designer for over ten years, writing and editing a wide variety of courses, from technical topics to soft skills. She has a Bachelor's degree in English and Textual Studies from Syracuse University and a Master's degree in Television Writing from Boston University.