Let’s be honest: writing a Google Ads copy doesn’t require a degree in literature. In fact, you don’t even have to be a Digital Marketing expert in order to do it well. However, learning how to craft effective text ads definitely requires some patience and attention to detail.
On top of that, you will have to master the art of combining a good understanding of user search with technical aspects that limit your possibilities.
After all, we only have a limited amount of characters to convey our message to the whole wide world. So we have to make them count.
The good news, you can learn the best practices to write an effective Google ads copy in no time! Let’s see how:
1. Know the technical limits
Before we move on to the creative part, let’s get the technical limits out of the way.
Expanded text ads allow you to have up to three headlines, each one with a maximum of 30 characters:
The first two headlines are obligatory, but the third one is optional. And also, highly recommended to use, but more on that later.
Expanded text ads also allow you to write two descriptions for your ad copy, each one with a maximum of 90 characters. As in the case of headlines, the second description is also optional (and highly recommended!).
Okay! Now that we cleared all the technical specs, it is time for the fun part.
2. Do your keyword research
Arguably the best practice of ad copywriting is including keywords to mirror the search query.
You see, if a user searches for “red dresses” and he sees the words “red dresses” in your ad, he will be more enticed to click on it. The reason is quite obvious: your company seems to offer exactly what he is looking for. So, there is a match!
Let´s take a look at the following example. I went to Google, typed “red dresses”, and these are the results that showed up:
I honestly loved the results for this search query because all of the ads give me a different approach on keywords:
- The first copy includes the keyword in the headline but not in the description. It matches my first query and it is exactly what I looked for on Google, so the chances are high that I will click on it.
- On another hand, the second copy includes the keyword both in the headline and in the description. This is a great example of how an effective Google ads copy should be. Having the keyword in both places leaves no doubt what the company and their products are about.
- The third copy doesn´t have the keyword neither in the title nor the description. Out of the three examples, it is the weakest one. Because it doesn´t match my search query, I would hesitate on whether I could find what I am looking for there. So, the chances that I will not click are higher.
While we are still on the topic of keyword placement, although I found the second copy to be the best example in this case, it might not necessarily be the case for your product or industry. Companies are different, so it is highly recommended to test different positions to see what works the best for you.
Let´s say that you have the keyword in the first headline of your copy. Now, you can easily duplicate the copy, and move the keyword to the second or the third headline to try it out.
Dynamic search ads
One way you can easily match the user´s query to your text ad is by using dynamic search ads. They allow you to take the exact term that the user typed in Google, and add it to the headline of your ad automatically.
For example, if the user typed “red cocktail dresses”, Google would automatically place the exact keyword in your headline:
Of course, as long as the exact query is less than 30 characters.
You can easily configure dynamic search ads by using the brackets shown above, and including the word “keyword” followed by the default term. This term will show up in case the query cannot be matched.
As we mentioned, matching the user´s query increases your ad relevance and the probability of the user clicking on it, making it quite effective.
However, it can also be a double-edged sword. If the user typed the exact same thing that you already have in your second or third headline, the ad might look a bit off. Also, if the person made a typo writing his search term on Google, the typo will automatically get translated to your ad as well.
So, be careful when it comes to using dynamic search ads!
Avoid keyword stuffing
Of course, including keywords in your copies doesn´t mean that you should overdo it. In fact, keyword stuffing is a thing, and it can cause the user a negative experience if your ad is saturated with keywords without any meaningful message. So, do not get too excited with them!
Additionally, you could enrich your description or the keyword itself by checking out what people are looking for on top of that.
Let´s take a look at our previous example. Yes, we already know that the user is searching for “red dresses”, but what kind of red dresses? Formal, casual, or for weddings?
LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing, is a system that search engines use to analyze and understand what other words people use on a certain topic. Thus, they will have a high degree of correlation to your target topic, and you will be able to get more ideas for your ad copies.
To put it simply, you can find LSI keywords at the bottom of the search page:
And, if they are relevant to your products, you can add them to your copywriting to ensure a higher correlation with the search query.
Obviously, none of these techniques will be efficient for your Google ads copy if you haven’t backed them up with a really good keyword research.
You are probably already familiar with some of the tools out there, such as Google Ads Keyword Planner, KWFinder or Semrush. However, there are also some great ways to hunt for keywords without using any tools.
You can visit my article 10 ways to do free keyword research (without tools!) for more information on that.
3. Use keywords in landing pages
As I explained in my article Search Engine Marketing for beginners, the concept of relevance is extremely important when it comes to Google (and not only).
The search engine uses keywords to determine whether your ad is relevant to the user. What does that mean?
We already know that Google is the most beloved search engine, but it is also a company that makes money via publisher’s ads. So, if you typed “gaming laptops” but Google showed you ads for smartphones, you will be disappointed because you didn’t find what you were looking for.
On top of that, the company that sells smartphones will also be disappointed because it didn’t sell any, and the person wasn’t interested to click on the ad. Or, what’s worse – he clicked by mistake and the company’s money was wasted.
Additionally, the company that was actually selling gaming laptops didn’t get to show its products to the customer because Google messed things up.
You get the idea!
The point is, keywords are…well, key to explaining to search engines what is it that you are selling. However, if you only use them in your ads but they don’t show anywhere on your landing page, Google isn’t exactly sure if you are actually selling what you are claiming to be selling.
So, your ad will appear less relevant to the user.
Matching keywords – ad to landing
Now, all this doesn’t mean that you should be constantly modifying your landing pages. You also don’t necessarily need to create a new page for each keyword that you are using.
Instead, what you can do is choose a common phrase or keyword, and turn it into a headline. Try to select a broader keyword that can answer to multiple search terms.
For example, let’s say that you are selling a software for email marketing.
In this case, the headline of your landing page could be “Email Marketing Software“. Which is not only your actual product, but also the basic search term that people use to find it on Google.
With this headline, the landing page will be now suitable for multiple search terms, such as:
- Email Marketing for businesses;
- Email Marketing automation;
- Service for Email Marketing;
- Best Email Marketing platforms;
- Affordable Email Marketing for small businesses;
And so on.
You see, the keyword in your ad doesn’t have to match the keywords on your landing pages exactly. But they need to have something in common. In our case, all of them contain the term “email marketing”, which is enough for Google to get the idea.
Avoid writing headlines that use a way too specific keyword. Instead, try to make them broader and in a way that can work for multiple phrases. This way, you will avoid having to create multiple pages unnecessarily. And in the meantime, you will get as close as possible to the user’s search query.
4. Create specific ad groups
Another great technique for writing an effective Google ads copy is to get specific by using ad groups.
To give you a simplified example, let’s imagine that you are a clothing boutique that sells high-end dresses for events. And you have the following three keywords:
- Cocktail dresses
- Red cocktail dresses
You could throw them all in one ad group and write a generic ad such as:
Discover our large collection of dresses for parties, weddings and events. +Info!
Yes, in theory this ad covers all three keywords. However, let’s say that a person is looking for “red cocktail dresses”. An ad that only says “dresses”, and doesn’t get any more specific, wouldn’t be particularly catchy for the user who already knows what she wants.
Instead, you could create a different ad group for each of these terms, and write a specific Google ads copy that matches it:
- Ad group: Red cocktail dresses
- Headline: Red Cocktail Dresses – Shop our New Collection! – Party, Occasion, and Evening
- Copy: Shop our Latest Collection of Red Cocktail Dresses for Your Special Occasion. Order Now! – Free Shipping & Returns. 24/7 Customer Support. Get 10% off Your First Purchase.
For your next ad group, you could maintain the same copy, but with a slight (and important) modification:
- Ad group: Cocktail dresses
- Headline: Stunning Cocktail Dresses – Shop our New Collection! – Party, Occasion, and Evening
- Copy: Shop our Latest Collection of Cocktail Dresses for Your Special Occasion. Order Now! – Free Shipping & Returns. 24/7 Customer Support. Get 10% off Your First Purchase.
In this case, the person doesn’t know what colour of the dress she is looking for. So, I swapped “red” for “stunning”. The change is not big, but now it doesn’t have the limit to sell exclusively red dresses. And yet, you are as specific as possible to his search term.
And of course, for search terms that are even more broader, you can keep the generic ad group “dresses”:
- Ad group: Dresses
- Headline: Women’s Dresses Online – Shop our New Collection! – Party, Occasion, and Evening
- Copy: Shop our Latest Collection of Dresses for Your Special Occasion. Order Now! – Free Shipping & Returns. 24/7 Customer Support. Get 10% off Your First Purchase.
As you can see, the ads are almost the same, but the slight changes make them much tighter with the user’s query. This not only lets him know that he is looking at the right place, but will also draw his attention towards your ad (instead of the competition).
Specific landing pages
To make this strategy even better, make sure to take users to specific landing pages (if you have them). For example, if you have a specific page exclusively for red cocktail dresses, it will make a perfect match with the ad group dedicated to them.
This way, the landing page matches the query as close as possible.
5. Include a Call to Action
You might think that a user will know exactly what to do when he sees your ad, right? Well, you will be surprised to learn that this is not always the case. As a company, we want the visitors to take a specific action, but we also need to be clear about it with them.
Do we want them to purchase a product, download an ebook, attend an event, or check out the latest discounts? Maybe fill out a lead gen form or subscribe to a streaming service?
An effective Google Ads copy should always include a Call to Action. Some examples include:
- Download your brochure;
- Register for our event;
- Discover our latest collection;
- Get 60% off with your first purchase;
- Try our product for free;
- Join our online community;
- Get started with our subscription service;
- Sign up for a free trial;
You can also click here to discover some of the best Call to Actions for Google search according to Hubspot.
A good CTA will help frame the visitor’s experience, and guide them towards the specific action that you want them to make. On top of that, it will also help you weed out users who are not interested. This way, you will not waste your budget on clicks that might not end in a conversion.
Once your ad copy has set up some expectations for the visitor, upon clicking he should arrive at a landing page that mirrors the same CTA. A bad example is using the Call to Action “buy now” in your ad copy, but taking the user to a landing page where he should fill out a form to request more info.
If your CTA is “buy now”, the landing should provide all the necessary tools for making a purchase.
6. Use Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are additional areas of text that you can set up to enrich your Google Ads copy. They allow you to add specific information that could be helpful to the user, such as:
- Call extensions – it ads your phone number to the ad;
- Location extensions – adds the address and the working hours whenever it’s relevant;
- Affiliate location extensions – great for nearby store affiliates;
- Price extensions – shows specific product prices;
- App extensions – they allow users to directly download the company’s app from the ad;
- Message extensions – by clicking on them, the ad allows you to directly message the company;
- Sitelinks – great for adding more text to support your ad copy;
You can check the full list of extensions by clicking on the link above.
Extensions will not always show up when configured, but they will never show up if you don’t configure them beforehand. The majority of them are not automatic (although some of them are), so if you don’t set them up by yourself they will never appear alongside the ad.
The strategy with extensions is to have as many as possible. After that, it’s up to Google to decide when and which ones to show when the user types his search query. So, don’t worry – your ad will not look a Christmas three from having all extensions hanging up at once!
This almost never happens, and if it does, it’s because Google considered it necessary.
Extensions are great for providing additional information to the user. They also make your ad take more space on the user’s screen, which draws attention to it, and people are more likely to click. As a consequence, your performance and Click through rate might improve as well!
7. Try different types of style to your ads
One size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to the style of your Google ads copy. Sometimes, what we think might work will not, and vice versa.
For this reason, it is important to test different styles and psychological approaches when it comes to your text ads. Remember, they are a key selling point, but they do not have to be boring. Nor do they need to sound like those infomercial that we constantly see on TV.
Here are some of the most effective ad copy approaches:
- Statistics – including relevant statistics to your copy, such as “9 out of 10 people recommend us”, can go a long way with your ad efficiency. However, they have to be true! Don´t include made up metrics as it will only hurt your business and reputation.
- Awards – these are similar to statistics, but it could be an interesting idea to include awards that your business have earned with their product/service. For example “Best Marketing Agency of the Year 2020”, or “Number 1 Master according to…”. Of course, be careful with mentioning other company´s names as Google might decline your ad. You can abbreviate them, or not mention them until the person get to the landing page.
- Features – highlighting the features of your product is a great strategy, especially in the B2C industry. For example, if you are selling smartphones, you could highlight its latest features such as better camera or waterproof.
- Benefits / Solution – what are the benefits of using your product instead of the competitor´s? What problem does it solve? Remember that people aren´t looking for a product or a service, they are looking for solutions to a problem they have.
- Testimonials – testimonials are another great psychological approach, although you have a limited space for your text ads. So, you will have to select one that´s both powerful and short. If you can´t, you can always include them in the landing!
- Numbers – including any sort of numbers within your Google ads copy will immediately attract the attention to it.
Continue testing different strategies, and most importantly, test several of them at once. This way, you will let Google´s algorithms work out the best ones for you.
8. Don´t make the Google ads copy about you
And last but not least, remember that people don´t actually care about your business. They are looking for solutions to their problems. What problem are you able to solve for them? If you aren´t able to answer this question, they are most likely to move forward to a company that can.
Make sure that your Google ads copy isn´t about you. Don´t get caught in messages such as “We are the best…” “We do magic things and that´s why you are going to love us”. Instead, focus on the customer, and tell him what you can do for him:
- Sleep better with our memory foam mattress;
- Get healthy with our app for tracking macro nutrients;
- Reach your next professional goal with our program;
- Improve your Email Marketing strategy with our service;
You get the idea! Instead of talking about you, let the customer know what you can do for him.
Wrapping it up
As we just saw, writing an effective Google ads copy doesn´t have to be difficult, but it definitely requires the incorporation of some good practices to make it work. As always, don´t forget that testing is key, and never discard any idea without trying it! Sometimes, what the user will like might surprise us.
I hope you liked my article! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave me a comment down below.
Thanks for passing by, and I will see you in the next post!