Creating Text Ads that Boost Clicks in Google AdWords

Today’s post is the latest installment in a series focused on Google AdWords.  If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in this series, you can access them here:

How to Properly Structure Your AdWords Account

How to Develop High-Quality Keyword Lists – Part 1 (Strategy & Google’s Keyword Planner Tool)

How to Develop High-Quality Keyword Lists- Part 2 (Keyword Match Types and Negative Keywords)

Today I’m going to offer up some great tips for making your AdWords ads more effective – how you can get more folks to click on your ads and ultimately, purchase your product or service.

Before I dive into the list of tips though, there are a couple truths about AdWords that you need to know.

  • There is no such thing as a perfect ad.
  • There is no way to predict with any certainty whether you’ve created a remarkable ad or just an average ad.

To be highly successful at creating ads, I think you must first accept the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know.  No matter how creative or elegant you are with copywriting, you must check your ego at the door.  Why?  Because what YOU think is good has very little to do with being successful.

Of course it always makes sense to employ solid strategies like the ones I’ll outline below, but ultimately you must be willing to let your audience tell you what they like.  Honestly, I’ve been shocked by how poorly some of my “brilliant copywriting” has performed.  I’ve been equally as shocked by how strong some of my “nothing special copywriting” has performed.

If you want to be successful with AdWords, I encourage you to view it as a long term personal relationship with millions of people who are freely offering you valuable feedback (i.e., click-though-rates).  Listen to them very carefully.  Let THEIR feedback guide you along the path to better results.

6 Tips for Creating Compelling Text Ads

So we know we’ll aim to improve our ads over time based on the data, but how can we increase the chances of creating a winning ad from the start?  Here are a few tips that should help…

1) Focus on the customer’s desired state, not your product.

Marketing 101 is alive and well within AdWords.  People aren’t looking for products, they are looking for solutions to their problems.  The more your ad’s copy can convey the customer’s desired end state, the more effective it will be.

Here’s a couple actual AdWords headlines.  Both ads are promoting acne treatments.  Focus on the headlines.

Google AdWords: Creating Text Ads that Boost Clicks  Google AdWords: Creating Text Ads that Boost Clicks

See the difference.  The first ad is heavily focused on the treatment… not bad, it just looks similar to everything else on the page and it probably doesn’t connect with folks on an emotional level.  By contrast, the second ad speaks directly to the viewer’s desired end state… to get rid of acne for good!

2) Use Keywords in Your Ad Copy

This is a basic one, but I still see many ads that fail to follow this best practice. Always aim to include your keywords in your ad text, especially in the headline of the ad.  It’s been proven time and time again that following this simple rule will increase click-through-rates.

Not only will the use of the keyword in your ad copy reinforce the direct relevancy of your ad, Google will also bold the keyword in your ad copy, giving you the opportunity to stand out.

Matching your keywords to your ad copy is also important because it signals relevancy for Google.  When ads are highly relevant to the keywords being targeted, this helps to increase your keyword quality score.  In short, maintaining high quality scores will lead to better positioning (i.e., page rank) among the ads and a lower cost-per-click.

3) Include a Clear Call to Action

Another basic one, but I can’t write a blog post on writing effective ads without including this one… it’s definitely important.  It’s amazing how much more effective an ad can be when you are specific about what you’d like your audience to do!  To some of you, it may seem a bit pushy, but I can tell you that most people appreciate the clarity of direction.

A good ad should always contain a strong call to action. I suggest you experiment with a variety of calls to action and see what generates the highest click-through-rates for you.

Here are a few examples:

Order Today!
Download Now!
Get a Free Trail!
Check Out Our Specials!
Get Free Access!
Order Online Now!

4) Use Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are a type of ad format that allows you to “extend” your ad by showing additional information such multiple links to your website, your phone number, location information, and callouts.  Including ad extensions is a great idea because…

  • It improves the visibility of your ads simply because of the additional space it occupies
  • It gives viewers more reason to click on your ads
  • All bid and quality elements being equal, the ad with greater expected impact from extensions will generally appear in a higher ad position than the other
  • There is no extra charge for using ad extensions

Here’s an example:

Google AdWords: Creating Text Ads that Boost Clicks

5) Use Numbers!

In general, ads that include specific numbers will outperform those that do not.

Why is this the case?  First, numbers simply make your ad stand out from all the other 100% text-based ads on the page.  It breaks up the text and draws attention to your ad.  Second, ads with numbers are viewed as more credible… concrete… firm.

Which doctor would you be more likely to contact for Lasik surgery?

Google AdWords: Creating Text Ads that Boost Clicks

Higgins Marketing Group - Google AdWords: Creating Text Ads that Boost Clicks

The mention of 20,000 patients in the second ad is compelling for me.  Now… I’m not sure if 20,000 is a high or low number for a LASIK surgeon, but it sure gives me some comfort seeing a specific number.  At least I know I’m not number 10 or 20!

Here’s a couple more examples where numbers draw attention…

Google AdWords: Creating Text Ads that Boost Clicks

Google AdWords: Creating Text Ads that Boost Clicks

6) Use Target Keywords in Your Display URL

The display URL is the web address that a person actually sees that is associated with your ad.  You may not know it, but your display URL CAN be different than your destination URL (the page people are directed to after they click on your ad).

Google does require the domain name to be same for both the display and destination URLs – for example,, but you have flexibility within your display URL to add additional text AFTER the domain name:

This is another great way to include target keywords in your text ads, increase relevancy, and ultimately increase click-through-rates.

Here’s one last example.  It’s one of Higgins Marketing Group’s ads.  Note the keyword “AdWords” has been added to the tail end of the display URL.  In fact, you’ll see the keyword “AdWords” show up 3 times in this ad.

Google AdWords: Creating Text Ads that Boost Clicks

So there you have it… a quick overview of some of the best practices for writing high performing ads.  But remember, these are just starters.  Make sure and listen to your audience over time and improve your ads based on their feedback!

Next week we’ll technically step outside AdWords and discuss the importance of creating great landing pages.

Until next time…