In the old days of Google Ads, when it was still called Google Adwords, writing ads was a challenge. You only had a limited number of characters to use. 25 for a headline and two lines of description of 35 characters each.
95 total characters (which included spaces) was less than a tweet. It was a struggle to fit a compelling message with so few letters.
In 2020, the ads are more than triple that length. You can have up to three headlines of 30 characters. And two descriptions that can each be 90 characters.
It would seem that it would be easier to write ads with so many more characters. Yet it can be just as daunting to write a long ad as a short one.
A successful ad has to do many things.
• It must be noticed.
• It must appeal to your specific market
• It must address the needs or concerns of that market.
• It must turn off prospects who aren't a good business for your products or services.
How Do You Decide If Your Ad Is Successful?
There is only one way to really judge an ad.
It's the click-through rate of that ad.
There are elements that go into your ad's click-through rate that don't involve the copy, such as its position and how relevant it is to the keywords it's being used for. But, ultimately, it comes down to is if it attracts the attention of your best prospects when they are searching for what you offer.
This is why you want 3-4 ads in each ad group to see which one does best. Then consistently introduce new ads to improve on your results.
A Breakdown of Expanded Text Ads on Google
Here is breakdown of each element of an expanded text and what to know about each line.
This is where its best to put the keyword you are targeting. This ensures it reflects the search of the person you’re trying to attract.
It’s often a good idea to use a strong call to action here. Or highlight an element that makes you stand out significantly from the competition.
Your most important message must be included in the first two headlines. Everything else should help reinforce this message.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to have the two headlines appear to be one sentence. The second headline could be shown below the first or even be shortened.
Headline 3 (optional)
For the moment this line is seldom shown, but that doesn’t mean it's not being used at all.
I try to put something relevant to the product or service or possibly the business itself. Relevant, yet not crucial. If it’s something important use it in of the other headlines or the ad text.
Often overlooked is adding a display path to your url. This doesn't change your url, but it does make it seem as if the page is relevant to your keywords. You can have two paths, each of up to 15 characters long.
In my ad below I've added Certified Ads and Consultant as my paths. It's subtle, but effective.
Elements of Successful Google Ads
Need some ideas on how to write your ads? Here are some suggestions how to write successful Google Ads that stand out from the competition.
For each of these ads, I’ve included actual examples from Google. And I purposely chose ads that I didn’t write and that don’t involve any businesses I represent.
I wanted to be objective with my approach.
Include the Search Term in The Ads
This is relatively simple to do, and many do this already.
The problem is that that many marketers throw together a lot of keywords together in one ad group and as a result, only one or two of these words are used in the ad.
You want to have tightly themed ad groups. This ensures that the ad specifically reflects the keywords in that group.
In the ads below the first company most likely offers mold remediation, but not all prospects will know that. That's because they've grouped together services such as mold remediation and water damage together.
My guess is that most searchers will simply go with the second business.
Build a benefits-focused headline
Make sure that the prospect understands how they’ll benefit from your work or product.
If you’re a Realtor, you’ll help them get top dollar for their home. Or help them find their dream home. In the case of the Realtor below how you’ll help them save money, but not paying Realtor fees.
Have a Strong Call to Action
Using words like act now or call today make them think they should act immediately. Your goal is that they take some sort of action after seeing your ad.
In the second ad you not only learn the potential money you might save, but that you should act immediately.
An added bonus to having the search term in the text of the ad is that its bolded in the search results. Despite being in the third position, the ad stands out because auto insurance and Orlando have been bolded by Google.
Use Numbers in Your Google Ads
If all your ad has is text, it’s easy for people to gloss over them If you break up an ad with numbers it will make them stand out. Especially if you combine that with a symbol as in the ad below.
Capitalize Each Word in the Title and the First Description in Google Ads
When people write out an ad, they’ll typically write as if they’re writing a standard sentence.
This seems more grammatically correct, but for whatever reason, Google’s own studies show that ads that use all caps have a better click through rate.
In the second ad below, you barely notice it because most of its lower case.
Talk To Your Prospects Directly
A successful ad can speak to a prospect in a number of ways.
One option is to speak to them directly as if you’re engaging in a conversation with them. Instead of saying 'selling a home', write 'selling your home.'
Avoid using words like me and I, because this indicates the focus is on you and not the prospect. This is a proven tactic from direct marketing campaigns of the past. Prospects respond to campaigns that seem to speak directly to them.
Ask a Question
As mentioned you want to have three ads in an ad group. Consider making one that begins with a question.
Do you need a plumber? Do you have a leaky faucet? Is your plumbing leaking?
It goes back to addressing your prospects directly with your ads.
Don’t Waste Space On Your Company Name
Unless your company name is a recognized brand that people respond to, using your company name in the text on is a waste.
In the ads below all three clinics use their physicians name. As a result none of them stand out. Unless you happen to recognize one of the names, which is unlikely.
If your marketing to people looking for a plastic surgeon, put something like the number of years’ experience that you have. Or what type of plastic surgery they specialize in. Or how their life will be changed for the good.
One of the ways to get people to respond to your ad is to demonstrate your success with their peers.
Or a connection with a person or a company whose name they will immediately recognize.
In the ad below, it’s likely many people searching for kitchen cabinets have had some exposure to home shows on TV. Mentioning HGTV in the ad will capture their attention. They’ll think of it almost as an endorsement of the company.
They also have a star rating for their business, another element that will appeal to consumers who have come to expect reviews of products and services.
In the ad below they highlight the fact that they have a A+ BBB rating, and most importantly, they have a link to it on their site to confirm it.
A recommendation from a third party site is nearly as good as a number of reviews.
Use Google Ads Extensions to Make Expanded Text Ads Stand Out Even More
I won’t go into detail about ad extensions as that would take its own article to do that. In fact, I’ve written one on how to use ad extensions.
All I’ll say is that by using extensions properly you can add additional details to your ad and make it really stand out.
In the example below, its the second ad which attracts our attention, not the first.
A mistake I often see with extensions when they are used is that they include information already referenced in the ad copy. They’ll say they have 10 years’ experience in the ad copy, then have a callout that says the same thing.
Use callouts and other extensions to include additional detail about your company or about your products or services.
Use Your Ads as a Qualifier
In some cases, you don’t want people clicking on your ads.
For example, you rent luxury apartments. You don’t want someone who’s looking for a cheap place to rent. Stating that the starting price for your apartments is $2900 a month will deter people who have a limited budget from clicking on your ad.
Reduce their Anxiety
Many of the people searching online are not sure who to trust.
If you have some differentiator that will put their mind at ease then include. It could be that you have a strong Better Business Bureau rating as mentioned earlier. Or maybe you’ve been doing business for 25 years. Include this as part of your ad.
The two ads below reveal the experience of the companies. That the one company has 16 years more experience than the second. Yet both have a significant edge over the other two businesses.
Remember that whatever information you include about your business should also be on the landing page.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Prospects might respond more if they think you have a limited number of offerings. They have a fear of missing out. In the ads below for luxury apartments, the first ad might take up more space. The second ad, however, suggests they might miss out on their apartments.
These are just some of the tactics you might want to use for your expanded text ads. The main thing is you want to find out something that will make you stand out from your competition.
Bonus Tip 1 - Use A Relevant Landing Page
The best campaigns are those that manage to take prospects to specific landing pages. As mentioned, anything referenced in the ad should also be incorporated on the landing page. This has nothing to do with writing the ads, but it shows the missed opportunities that can result.
The second ad in the campaign below is a very effective ad.
The focus of the ad is on kitchen remodeling, but on clicking the second ad you’re taken to a page that isn’t relevant. The page is on whole home remodeling. No mention is made of kitchens.
A page devoted to kitchen remodeling, with examples of their work, as well as testimonials, would have succeeded better.
Bonus Tip 2 – Use Negative Keywords
Often your ad will show up for products or services you don’t offer. For example, your ad shows up for a location you don’t service. This is wasted spend if they click on it.
Constantly monitor the search terms reports to find phrases that don’t apply. You want to eliminate these clicks from happening again. And it will help to your lower impressions, which helps your click through rate.
In the ad below for ski repair and tune up. While the second company might work on everything, it’s likely skis aren’t one of them. Since they are in Colorado, they’re most likely showing up a lot for these searches.
Adding negative keywords such as ski would prevent this from happening.
Bonus Tip 3 – Always Be Testing
Ideally you want to have 3 or 4 ads in each ad group. Then as you start to get impressions, you’ll likely see one is better performing. That is the time to pause the least successful ad and try out a new one.
You want to be constantly improving your click through rate in order to beat out your competition. So try out some of the suggestions I’ve made and see how that impacts your results. Some might fail, but others could make a significant difference.
Bonus Tip 4 - Try Responsive Search Ads
The latest ad format is responsive search ads. In this ad type you can put up to 15 headlines and four descriptions. From this Google will create a variety of ads. 43,680 to be exact.
Two things to know about this ad format.
One the click-through rate is often lower than most of your expanded text ads.
Second, it will show up in more search results than an expanded text ad will. This means that even if the CTR is lower, your ad will appear in searches your regular ads will.
The Hidden Benefit of Successful Ads for Google Ads
Google doesn’t use an auction format for their ads. The highest bidder doesn’t always get the top spot. They use a formula that incorporates Quality Score.
Google wants the ads that get the most clicks to show at the top. Google gets nothing if no one is clicking on ad, no matter how high the bid. So they reward the ads that get the most clicks.
If you have a better performing ad you can actually show above a competitor who is actually bidding higher.
Learning how to create successful Google AdWords ads can take time, but in the end it will make a difference.
For most businesses, pay per click can have a significant impact on revenue. If you want your business to succeed and you’re relying on Google Ads, then the text in your ads is important.
If you don’t have the time to do Google Ads on your own or simply need some guidance, then consider hiring a Google AdWords consultant. I’ve helped many businesses over the years, both large and small. So contact me today to learn if I can help you with my AdWords Management Services.