Delve into Google AdWords, and you’ll find numerous options to customise (and hopefully optimise) your PPC accounts, from the campaign level all the way down to individual ad groups and keywords. With geographic & temporal targeting, remarketing, and different keyword matching options, it’s easy to get bogged down in a lot of in-depth settings. That’s before you even get into playing the bidding game, trying to find the best way to optimise your available budget without missing out on potential clicks. With so much complexity, it’s understandable why people sometimes forget to take care of their standard search ads.


Don’t Overlook the Fundamentals

One thing that seems to be overlooked a surprising amount is looking after the actual ads. I suspect that this is because creating a basic text ad is probably one of the easiest and least risky things you can do in AdWords… although that doesn’t mean that you should spend 2 minutes writing one and then never look at it again. While the array of options for customising your account might look exciting, the fundamentals are just as important, if not more so.


The Search Ad Checklist

Your ads might have passed Google’s review, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re any good. Consider the following when writing an ad:


  • Make it relevant. If somebody is looking to buy a pair of brown leather brogues, they don’t want to see a generic ad for your online clothing store. Making the copy of your ads relevant (including the display URL) will almost certainly increase your click-through rate (CTR). Likewise, your landing page should satisfy whatever claim you make in the ad, e.g. a specific product/category.
  • Include keywords. As well as helping to keep your ads relevant, words in an ad’s display URL and description are shown in bold if they are included within the search term. This can make your ads stand out more, and increase the CTR. Don’t overdo it though- nobody likes spam.
  • Include a call to action. A call to action (CTA) isn’t only reserved for when you’re selling something- for example, include “read more” or “click for more details”. Generally, a CTA can increase your CTR and, to a lesser extent, your conversions. Including promotions and special offers can also work well. If this isn’t leaving you enough space to properly describe your product/service, then test out different ad variations with and without a CTA.
  • Aim to stand out. Even if you manage to make the top position, you’ll probably be competing with several ads that are very similar to yours. Try to highlight a unique offer or service to make your ad stand out.
Google AdWords Keyword Bolding
AdWords Keyword Bolding in Action


Write Multiple Ads

So, what is there beyond writing a good ad for every ad group? Well, writing ads for every ad group- it’s called an ad group for a reason. Even if you think you’ve written the most compelling ad possible, the people viewing it might be less convinced. By writing several ads per ad group – I recommend around 4-6 – AdWord’s ad rotation system will test which ones perform the best (for clicks or conversions), and show them more often. With better ad performance, you can potentially reach more people and get more out of your budget- just by writing a few more lines of text.



Check On Performance

If you’ve followed all of the steps above, then you’re pretty much done- but only for now. Once your ads have had a few weeks to run, you should take a couple of minutes to check on how they are performing. If one of your ads isn’t performing very well, then try editing how it’s phrased or changing a specific word. Alternatively, if it isn’t working at all, then delete it and write something new from scratch. On a more positive note, if your new ads are now generating some extra interest (e.g. increased CTR), then you could capitalise on this by increasing keyword bids and/or the campaign’s budget.


If you’ve already been looking after your search ads properly, then well done. Otherwise, hopefully this has given you a bit more direction when it comes to managing your PPC ads. Let us know if you have any extra tips for getting the best results from your ads!

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