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How do you write effective copy for Google Ads

You’re not provided with much space within Google Ads to write compelling, persuasive and action-inducing copy. In all, only 25 characters are provided for the headline and then, some words are prohibited. So, what can you do? Get creative.

 Jen Cornish
Jen Cornish Published on Fri, 13 Mar, 2020 Reading time: 8 Minutes

You have to get creative to stand out from the countless competitors using Google Ads to chase the same customers you’re seeking – on the first page, you’re competing against 9 other ads (on mobile, you’re competing against four).

So, what can you do?

We’ve compiled this article to provide some tactics, guides and tips to help you create ad copy that sells. If you apply all of these techniques, you’ll experience higher click-through rates, higher Quality Scores and importantly, higher conversion rates.

Let’s get on with it…

Reflect the visitor’s final outcome

A lot of your competitors will be using Dynamic Keyword Insertion and bidding on similar keywords & you’ll notice that a lot of their ads say the same thing. Whilst Dynamic Keyword Insertion is hugely valuable, it can also be detrimental when used in highly competitive searches.

Advertisers sometimes lose track of what potential customers are searching for – or at least the reason behind it. The final outcome is really what your users are looking to achieve. It’s what they actually want to accomplish with the assistance of your product or service.

Understanding this and letting this bleed into your advert copy is the real secret to writing an ad which stands out from the deluge of Dynamic Keyword Insertion ads.

Let’s take a look at an example

Let’s say you sell a drain clearance service and your visitors search for keywords like, “help unblock my drain”. You want to know how to write a Google ad based on that search term.

Your headline shouldn’t ask prospects if they’re *‘suffering from a blocked drain’ – as the marketer, you already know they are.

Reflect your customers result through your Google Ad copy

Instead, you should speak to their End Goal \ Final Outcome – what they’re looking to achieve. Perhaps with a headline like this:

A Better example of reflecting your customers result through your Google Ad copy

Don’t give up very precious headline space for something you and the visitor already know. Instead, give your visitors that end solution – served up neatly and concisely.

Let’s take a look at another example

What if you’re someone who is looking to buy a car for your business from a member of the public? What should your google ad copy look like?

Interested prospects might search for something like this:

An example Google Ad which shows a bettter example of capturing customer intent tells the visitors they’ll buy the car – which mirrors the prospect’s end goal & final outcome. To make it easy for people to convert and remove ambiguity, all these ads should focus on telling prospects what they want to hear: “We’ll Buy Your Car Today”.

Why is that important? The goal of the searcher is to have someone buy their car. How they go about selling it isn’t as important as actually getting it sold.

With a headline like “Sell Your Car Today” the searcher may wonder if they have to list their car themselves on an Auto-trader-like-platform and then take calls from interested buyers or show a bunch of tyre-kickers around the car and waste valuable time and energy. Perhaps they’re even worried about getting a spam calls or emails?

A simple headline tweak between “Need to Sell Your Car?” and “We’ll Buy Your Car Today” could result in a 30% increase in conversions. All because we’re targeting the end result, rather than asking a question of which we already know the answer.

Countdown timers

We’re complex. Humans sometimes don’t act rationally or logically. For example, did you know that (in general) we’re more readily motivated by the idea of losing out than the idea of gaining something?

Psychologists call this ‘loss aversion’. It can be a powerful way of boosting your Google Ads Click-Through and Conversion rates. Google is fully aware of this and a direct result is the ability to summon a simple countdown timer from within your Google Ad helping to inject a little FOMO.

You can set it inside your text ads – all you have to do is add the following snippet.


An example of a google ad which contains the countdown function

This shows what the countdown feature looks like in the latest version of Google Ads.

After you set the end date, your ad will include a countdown in real-time. Searchers seeing your ads will be motivated by their fear of loss, giving you the edge over your competitors who aren’t using this tactic.

Let’s take a look at an example

Ad agency Merkle | IMPAQT used the countdown function in their client’s Black Friday ads and they discovered –


“We used the countdown feature to countdown the days until Thanksgiving and holiday deals began. We discovered the click and impression assisted conversions for this ad copy performed at a significantly higher rate than other copy. We also saw higher conversions associated with this copy on Thanksgiving and for about a week after as a result. “

They aren’t the only ones to have seen success with this new feature – Clarks America saw a 32% increase in CTR and 3% increase on conversion rates from using the countdown timers.

Keep your ads up-to-date

As a general rule, an article about something that happened recently will generate more interest than something which occurred in the past. The same is true with Google Ads.

Have you experimented with copy that states how many customers you serviced last month or this year?

We experimented with a couple of variations based on this principle. Below you can see the two ads we pitted against each other.

An example of our agencies advert

An example of our agencies advert

The control ad (top) and the variation (bottom).

What do you think the result would be? The variant (bottom ad) experienced a 125% increase in CTR and 30% improvement in Conversion rate. All from a little subtle change.


We love metrics, numbers and analysis. It’s what we were born to be around. Numbers are easy to digest and understand and for the most part, are far better at conveying results than words are. This is why some high performing ads on Google ads contain numbers in their copy.

An example of our agencies advert

Which of these do you think performed the best?

The second one. Astonishing. Why do we think it did so well?

The second ad experienced an 88% higher click-through rate at a confidence level of 99%. Why?

Getting really specific helped. It’s been shown that specific numbers like 1,542 can improve performance over round numbers like 1,500+. If you want to include a number in your ad, perhaps write it out – the exact number.

The more specific you are, the more believable you become. The more believable you become, the bigger your changes are at converting searchers.

Make it personal

Writing ads can be a tad self-involved. Have you ever written out a few ads only to notice every other word is ‘us’, ‘I’, ‘we’ or ‘our team’? Words like this fail to focus on the customer’s needs and can hurt your chances of getting a click – not to mention they’ve been shown to hurt conversions on landing pages too.

When it comes to writing copy that resonates, I couldn’t agree more with this nugget from John Kuaoka:


“The second-best word is ‘you’. The best word is the customer’s name”.

Whilst we still can’t quite add our customers name into an ad, we can get pretty close. How do we get there?

We include power words like ‘you’. Take a look at this example below.

using Powerwords in your Google Ad copy

Which one stands out and gets you most excited to click? You could argue both Shopify and Volusion do a great job but we all know that AmeriCommerce struggles.

“”Awarded ‘Best eCommerce Solution’”? Well done guys – We’re really happy for you. Perhaps you should now talk about your customers a little?

Find opportunities where you can include the word “you” in your headline or first description line. And as always, lead with benefits.

Make your ads local

If your product or service can be delivered to multiple cities, you probably want to make it feel like you do in your ads. Even if you offer services world-wide, you still want to be warm and welcoming to your potential customers and show them that help is right around the corner.

You may already have an 0800 number that you use for all of your Google Ads call extensions and landing pages or perhaps you even have a pool of 0800 numbers which you rotate. Did you know that having phone numbers with geographic proximity to the visitor can double your conversion rates? DOUBLE.

*Unbelievable but absolutely true.

So, how can you put this to work for you and your business? The goal is to really show your prospective customers that you’re right around the corner with a helping hand.

If you’re still using the regular Google call forwarding in your Google Ads call extensions, stop it – immediately! Got to a call tracking provider and start buying all their local phone numbers.



We’ve said it before and we’ll continue to say it until everyone on the planet is running multiple variants. Testing not only gives you insights like the ones we’ve shared above – they also equip you with the intelligence to make corrections to your active campaigns. Corrections which can reduce cost, increase volume and inflate return. Now, go fourth and make your campaigns the best dang’ campaigns we’ve ever seen! Go!

Jen Cornish
Jen Cornish Published on Fri, 13 Mar, 2020

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