How to write awesome Google Ads Copy

How to write awesome Google Ads Copy

We take you through all the steps to building and writing an awesome Google Ad, and the structure to start testing better copy.

We make it easy and break it down into the steps as you move through the headlines and descriptions of your text ads and provide some tips along the way.

So let’s get into it.

1. Understanding Search Intent and Match Types

In order to create Google Ads that will reach as many of your potential customers as possible, it is absolutely essential to understand search intent. 

This will enable you to craft your Google Ads effectively so they will appear in the searches most relevant to your product or service.

Search intent delves a little deeper. 

Rather than simply looking at the search itself, it seeks to understand why the consumer did the search in the first place. 

There are four basic types of search intent:

a) Informational: The user is looking for some kind of information, from an answer to a simple question to more in-depth, comprehensive information on a certain topic.

b) Navigational: The user is searching for a specific website. They know the website they want, but either they don’t know the specific URL or it’s easier to type the name of the site into Google than typing out the whole address.

c) Transactional: The user is looking to make a purchase. In most cases, they already know the exact item they want to buy.

d) Commercial: This is similar to transactional search intent, but in this case, the user is on the lookout for a product or service. They are not yet sure what they want to buy, so they want more information, such as reviews and comparison, to help them make that decision.

For example, in the below search, the search intent is clearly to get information about Frida Kahlo in a straightforward informational search:

who is

 On the other hand, in this search, it’s fairly obvious that the user wants to buy a Samsung Galaxy phone, making it a transaction search:

products

You will also note that in the above example, unlike the informational search, the first results that come up are Google ads.

In this final example, the search intent may be less clear, at least to a simple algorithm: as we start to type our search query.  

We start with “fans” and Google would assume fans as in those that circulate air but as I have not pushed enter, its auto selection tries to guess what my possible intent is.  

The first screen shot is as I have typed in “fans” and then as I add “fans of” the auto selection changes dramatically as the algorithm tries to guess what I am after and my intent.

The I add the letter “p” and the auto selection changes to narrow that predicted intent and lastly as I add “pr” the choice changes again. 

The point here is that the intent can change dramatically even with the change of a letter.

google search
search intent
search intent
search intent

Search intent is important because it is a big part of how Google works.

Google ultimately seeks to give users the best match for their search and so looks to match the searcher’s intent as closely as possible.

The algorithm it uses to determine the search results that users see has become increasingly complex in recent years, so they are now fairly effective in addressing search intent.

After all, matching their users’ intent is at the core of what Google does as a business.

Their product’s key function is to deliver the results that their users need.

Their dominance as a business speaks to their success in this area: 90 percent of all desktop searches are conducted on Google.

As a business, it is essential to create content and ads that align with search intent so that you target the customer you after rather than a scatter approach.

2. How to Construct a Google Search Ad 

Let’s say we are creating an ad for an online store specializing in running shoes.

We’ll call our fictional store Finish Line.

The store is having a pre-summer sale and is launching a Google ad campaign to promote the sale.

To create an ad for this campaign, we will go to the AdWords Get Started page and click on “new campaign.”

If you have not used AdWords before, you’ll need to click on “sign up.”

The first thing the Google Ads platform will ask you is for your business name and website.

It will then ask you to identify your target audience by geographical location.

Part of creating your perfect ad is knowing your target audience, as this will allow you to create an ad that will speak to them and persuade them to buy your product.

In knowing your target audience’s problem, you can most effectively communicate to them how your product solves that problem.

Be sure to clearly define the customer you are targeting with this campaign.

On the next screen, you’ll need to input details about your business, including:

  • The language you want to advertise in
  • Your business category
  • The products or services you want to promote in your ad

Once you have selected your target audience and entered the other relevant information, click “next” and you will arrive at the main screen for creating your ad:

writing a google ad

Each of these fields represents the different parts of your ad:

As you complete each field, you construct your Google search ad.

As you work on it, you can see what your ad will look like in the preview at the bottom of the screen:

google ad preview setup

We will cover how to complete the other fields in the following sections.

At the bottom of the screen, you can select the exact URL you want your ad to link to.

When a user clicks on your ad, this is where they will be taken.

Keep in mind that each ad campaign should have its own targeted landing page, rather than just directing your ads to your home page.

Home pages are general and contain a large amount of information, and are not tailored to the keyword your targeting in your ad.

You want to have a specific landing page that contains information relevant to this campaign and that is persuasive to the customer you are targeting.

It is also important to have a clear idea of what you want your ad to achieve.

So in our fictional example, we will enter the link to Finish Line’s pre-summer sale page in the “clicks on your ad go to” field: 

google ads

3. Understanding Features vs. Benefits

Features and benefits are an important part of any Google ad.

Effectively explaining the features and benefits of your product is vital to convincing your potential customer to make a purchase.

It is therefore critical to understand the differences between features and benefits, and how to use both in your Google Ads copy.

The features of your product are essentially the aspects your product has.

They are the concrete things that are integral to your product or that come with it, such as its size, the materials it is made of, the functions it has, and the accessories it comes with.

Features are equally important when you are selling a service.

Services have features too, just like a physical product.

For example, you may offer a consultancy service that includes certain kinds of advice or covers a certain amount of consultancy hours.

Benefits, on the other hand, are the positive outcomes your customer will receive when they purchase your product or service.

These represent the value your product has for your customer.

In explaining your product’s benefits, you explain to your customer what advantages it has for them and why they should buy your product over your competitors’.

For you to be able to properly explain the benefits of your product, first, you need to know these benefits inside and out.

Make sure you are clear on your product’s features and benefits, and which are which.

You can then ensure that you mention the features in your Google Ads copy and fully explain the benefits so you convince your potential customer to buy your product.

Features can be persuasive to customers, especially if they already know what they are looking for.

For example, a consumer may want a laptop with a specific screen size, or a cloud storage service with a specific amount of storage capacity.

However, it is the benefits that will really convince them to buy one product over another.

For this reason, you should mention as many of both your product’s features and benefits as possible in your Google Ads copy.

In preparing your ad, make a list of all of the features of your product.

Next, note down the benefits that each and every feature delivers to your customer.

You should then include these benefits in your ad copy, using persuasive language that makes your potential customer feel certain emotions and compel them to buy.

Going back to our example of our ad for Finishing Line’s pre-summer sale, we can start drafting our Google Ads copy by thinking about the features and benefits we want to include in the ad.

For example, an important feature that the running shoes on sale incorporate the latest technology.

The benefits that customers can expect to receive include getting fit for summer by using the shoes, as well as better performance and a safer workout due to improved technology.

We are going to mention all of these in the description fields:

google ad description 1 and 2
Features ve benefits
Thanks to anneliesjames.uk for th image with a very graphic explanation of features vs benefits

4. Understanding Text Ads

Text ads are used on the Google Search network, appearing on a search engine results page (SERP).

They are very similar in appearance to organic search results on Google, so they are composed of text only.

Text ads are composed of up to three headlines, the part of your ad that will most stand out to users.

This is what will draw your potential customer’s eye, and it is what they will read first.

If you have an engaging headline, they will read on to the ad description.

Headline 1 typically either contains your business name or the core product, service, or event that your ad campaign is promoting.

So for our example ad, Headline 1 will read:

google ad headline 1 and 2

Headline 2 and Headline 3 can be very useful to include keywords, power words, and other elements that will make your ad more persuasive and effective. 

Likewise, the ad can have up to two descriptions that explain more about your product, service, or special offer and a call to action (CTA). 

The description is equally as important as the headline because it is what will ultimately convince your future customer to click on your ad. 

It is therefore essential to have an attention-grabbing headline and a persuasive description.

It is also important to remember that you are limited to 30 characters per headline and 90 characters for the descriptions. 

This means that you need to be very succinct and make every word count in order to convey the features and benefits of your product, as well as to trigger emotions in this limited number of characters. 

In the following sections, we will discuss how to effectively integrate these elements into the headline and description fields.

You will also notice that we are using title case – where all words have the first letter capitalized except for short auxiliary words such as “a,” “and,” and “the” – for all of the copy in our ad. 

This is because this is helpful for SEO and will get your ad more exposure.

The third component of a text ad is the display URL, which contains your site address. It may also have a path field with a name for your landing page URL telling your customer more about your page. 

The path is limited to 15 characters. and we generally include the keyword we are targeting in the path.

5. How to Best Use Keywords in Your Google Ad

Keywords are absolutely central to how Google works, and therefore to Google Ads as well.

Google uses keywords to determine search intent; from the words or phrases that a user enters on their search, Google can tell what the user is searching for.

By using relevant keywords – that is, the keywords most searched for by your target audience – you can ensure that your ads reach your potential customers.

As covered above, you will have already defined the target audience you are seeking to reach through your ad campaign.

The next step is to conduct keyword research in order to determine the words and phrases this audience is searching for.

Use a keyword research tool to check the search volumes of relevant keywords, as well as to get suggestions for related keywords that may be relevant to your customer.

The first headline is the perfect opportunity to include one or more keywords that are relevant to your audience and the keyword your targeting.

For example, for our fictional online running shoe store, one of our top keywords might be “high-performance running shoes.”

So we will enter this long-tail keyword in the Headline 2 field of our Google ad:

google ad headline 1 and 2

Although you want to use keywords with high search volumes as this will capture more users, it is also important to be as specific as possible.

Using very broad or general keywords means that your ads will reach customers who may or may not be interested in buying your particular product.

However, by being as specific as possible, your ads will be seen by your target audience who are more likely to click on your ad and, most importantly, buy your product.

Furthermore, using the right keywords will help make your ads more convincing.

When a potential customer sees words and phrases related to what they are searching for in your ad, they know that your product is relevant to them.

This, in turn, makes them more likely to click through.

6. Good Copy vs. Bad Copy

The copy or text you use in your Google ad can absolutely make or break your ad.

Copy that is persuasive and engaging will draw your potential customer’s attention and make them so curious to know more about your product that they will click on the link.

On the other hand, badly written or ineffective copy means users will pass over your ad, causing you to lose huge potential sales.

Often, users are searching for a product with a particular characteristic or benefit.

And, if you can instantly tell them that yours meets their requirements, they are much more likely to click on your ad.

See this example below for an umbrella to better understand the difference between a feature of a product or service and the benefits to a customer.  Customers will buy a benefit to them, not the feature.

features and benefits
Thanks to Convertful.com for the image expalining features vs benefits.

Your product’s benefits are the most persuasive way to present your product or service.

Your headlines should be catchy and engaging, and they should convey your product’s benefits in as few words as possible.

Including your brand name in the copy will also help add legitimacy, as well as build your brand.

You want your headline to grab attention and encourage users to click on it.

However, avoid using “clickbait” headlines that are misleading or false. 

When users who click on a clickbait headline discover that it is not what they were looking for, they will simply leave in annoyance and are very unlikely to buy anything.

Such an ad is not effective in securing a sale or other positive outcomes for the business, so it is not doing the job it is supposed to do.

That is why in our example ad, we have kept the Headlines catchy and straightforward, as well as including features and benefits in the descriptions:

google ad preview

We can use Headline 3 and the remaining characters in the description fields to make this ad even more engaging and persuasive, which we will cover in the coming sections.

7. Check Grammar and Punctuation

When putting together your ad, you should be absolutely vigilant when it comes to grammar and punctuation.

Small errors in these areas can really let you down.

They can make your ad sloppy and your business seem unprofessional. You don’t want to spend a great deal of time and effort on strategy, keyword research, and crafting the perfect ad copy only to have a few small errors make your ad ineffective!

Some businesses deliberately leave out punctuation or allow grammar errors in order to save on characters, as the number of characters allowed in Google Ads is limited.

However, this is a mistake not only for the reasons mentioned above but also because of the way Google is now showing ads.

Google can sometimes combine headlines and description lines in ads in order to show ads at the top of the search results.

This means that if your copy is missing punctuation, it will appear as one long sentence and make no sense at all.

As you can see in our example ad, the sentences in the description field, although short and succinct, are perfectly punctuated.

Note that the Headline fields do not need punctuation as they are broken up with pipes:

Luckily, there are a few tools around that you can use to assist with this.

First, make sure to always use the spelling and grammar function on your word processing software to check your initial ad copy.

These tools are not 100 percent effective, however, so you should also install a tool like Grammarly on your browser.

This will automatically check all the text you enter on Google Ads and flag any errors.

8. Use Power Words

When writing the copy for your Google ad, you should also make sure to include power words.

These are quite different from keywords, and they make your ads more effective in a very different way.

Power words trigger emotional responses and therefore encourage users to click on your ads.

Using power words in the right way means remembering one simple thing:

Although your ad relates to your product and your business, it is not actually about your product.

Rather, your ad should be about your customer.

It should speak to your customer in a very convincing way, and power words help you do that.

Examples of power words include life-changing, forbidden, irresistible, and embarrassing.

As you can see, these are particularly persuasive words that trigger a deep, emotional reaction, whether positive or negative.

Below is a list of “trust” keywords put together by optinmonster.com.  But lets looks an example and pull it apart to see how they use power words.

examples of trust power words for ad copy
Thanks to optinmonster.com for this list of "Trust" power words.
using power words in ads.

Let’s have a look at the ad above. 

Our intent is to build a website and wix use that phrase in the headline and then include “easy” and “free”.

They build on the easy with “get started today” in the description and help this along with “you want” so that it personalizes the ad. 

There is also good use of Free in the headline and in the sitelink and plenty of more use of “easy and Easily” just to reiterate.

What doesn’t work is that they say is “free” but then have “multiple payment methods” at the end which would add confusion.  

Also they could simplify this and remove “top industry hosting” as this would possibly confuse a potential customer who has never built a website and does not know what hosting is.

If you’re looking for power word ideas here is a big list.

9. Add a Call to Action

Another essential element that should be included in your Google ad is a call to action.

A CTA asks (or calls on) your potential customer to do something.

It could be purchasing a product or service, or it could be an action that may later lead to a purchase, such as booking a consultation or signing up for a free quote.

A call to action should be included in every ad; after all, the underlying purpose of any ad is to get your potential customer to do something.

Never underestimate the power of suggestion – by telling your customer what you want them to do, they are much more likely to do it.

The best way to create a CTA in your Google ad is to clearly state what you want them to do.

Add a power word such as “now” or “today” to create a sense of urgency.

And, of course, use the word “you” if possible.

Here are some examples of CTAs that could be used in Google search ads:

  • Get Your Free Quote Now.
  • Reserve Your Table Today.
  • Save 10% When You Order Today.

Headline 3 is the perfect place to include a call to action.

For example, we could enter this in the Headline 3 field of our Finish Line ad – Save 30% when you order today.

google ad preview

Our ad is now essentially complete, and we can see what it will look like in the preview window:

You can see what your ad will look like on desktop and mobile by clicking on “see more ad layouts”:

google result desktop vs mobile

There are a few ways we can build on this effective ad copy, and further improve the click rates for our ad, including using extensions and Dynamic Ad Features.

10. Use of Extensions

There are many different extensions that you can use for your Google text ads.

Ad extensions add extra text and, as the name suggests, extend the size of the ad. 

Adding additional features to your ad can make it more effective.

Some of the most useful extensions include sitelink extensions, callout extensions, and structured snippets.

Sitelink extensions add extra text to your ad with links back to your site. 

In this way, sitelink extensions are a little like having a mini site menu at the top of a search results menu. 

You can use these to link to other relevant pages related to your core ad copy, increasing the chances of click-throughs.

Here is an example sitelink extensions.

Google Ads Extensions

Callout extensions add an extra line of brief text (up to 25 characters) that can be used for extra copy to make your ad more effective. 

This allows you to add more compelling information that will encourage users to click on your ad, such as features, benefits, or power words.

Finally, structured snippets also allow you to add more information to your ad, but in the form of a list. 

They can also be very effective in engaging users and compelling them to click on the ad.

11. Using Dynamic Ad Features

Dynamic Ad Features are other extras that work to take your ad to the next level.

You can select Dynamic Ad Features by typing “{“ into the Headline 1 field in the ad creation screen on the Google Ads platform.

With IF functions, which follow the if-then formula, you can make your ad more responsive, and therefore they are more likely to be successful.

You can use the IF function to set your ad to use a certain call to action in specific circumstances, such as to existing customers or depending on the device they are using.

Countdowns, on the other hand, show the number of days, hours, or minutes left until an offer expires.

This is automatically calculated by the Google Ads system, so all you need to do is insert this Dynamic Ad Feature.

This is great for inserting an element of urgency to compel users to click on your ad.

Below is a countdown we created for a client who needed to create urgency for a tax deduction and customers needed to get the order in by 30 June.

So in the lead up to 30 June the ad with show the number of days left until 30 June to create this urgency.  

Deadline countdown in Google ads
creating urgency Google ads

Keyword insertion is another very useful feature in certain circumstances.

You can substitute default text in your ad for search keywords, allowing the same ad to appear in more searches.

12. Creating Display Ads

Display ads, unlike Google text ads, are much more visual.

There is also a wide range of options when it comes to creating them.

Because of their visual nature, the use of color and visual elements is very important in display ads.

Effectively incorporating these elements can make the ads more eye-catching and engaging.

Whenever possible, use custom images in your Google display ads.

This will make your ads stand out from the competition, as well as help build your brand.

We will cover how to best use images in display ads in more detail in the following section.

Also keep in mind that there are different types of display ads.

Experiment with the different options to find out which is best for your business, and which gets the best results.

You can also leverage your text ads to create display ads.

This means that you do not need to reinvent the wheel whenever you want to make a display ad; you can instead repurpose and update existing copy from text ads, saving time and resources.

Although there are many differences between display ads and text ads, there are also quite a few similarities.

The rules of good copy, engaging headlines, keywords, power words, and features and benefits equally apply to both types of ads, so you can transfer much of this content from your text ads to your display ads.

13. How to Use Images in Display Ads

Images are critically important in display ads because they can capture users’ attention.

Today’s online world is a crowded place, so it is necessary to cut through the noise in order to have impact, and strong images do just that.

Unlike text ads, display ads can contain images, so it is vital to use them to full effect.

Use images that will grab the users’ attention – remember, they will be displayed on busy sites like YouTube and Google’s partner sites.

At the same time, images should represent your brand; visual elements can be very effective in conveying brand values and attributes, so use them to tell users who you are and what you stand for.

Custom images are ideal because they allow you to do both these things:

You can create images and graphics for your ads that capture attention while perfectly representing your brand.

Furthermore, simple and clean imagery generally works best.

This will help catch the eye without looking overwhelming or messy.

Conclusion

So that covers most of the areas for writing some awesome copy for your Google ads.

So have we covered everything or missed someting we should add?

If so please add your comments below.