The Google homepage: nothing but a logo, a search box, and two buttons, in a sea of white. Simplicity exemplified.
But you know what isn’t simple? Writing Google ad copy. From frequently changing algorithms to endless competition, there are many challenges when it comes to creating ads that let you appear on the oh-so-important first page of results. Here is our quick and dirty guide to help you win in your Google Ads efforts.
Google Ad Copy Character Limits
There’s good news, and bad news…
The good news is that Google ad copy rules recently changed to allow for more characters. The “expanded text ad” format means a bit more freedom for copywriters. Headlines have gone from one 25 character entry to two 30 character entries. Description lines have also grown from two 35 character lines to one 80 character line. Finally, Google ad copy guidelines now state that Google will automatically extract the ad’s domain from the final URL, but you can still enter a customized URL path.
The bad news is that Google ad copy limits are set to change again. On June 30, 2022, Google will no longer allow the creation of expanded text ads (but you can still manage existing ones). Instead, all new ads will use the “responsive text ad” format, which means a whole new set of rules to learn. Time to break out those Google AdWords ad copy templates so that you don’t get one of those terrible rejections!
Proper Keyword Placement
Figuring out the right Google ad keywords has led to the default choice of using in-house or outsourced SEO. But that is just the beginning. Google has gone far beyond penalizing keyword stuffers. Now, Google also detects and awards “natural” keyword usage.
For example, let’s say you run a tourism site for visitors to Canada. Obviously, keywords would be “plan”, “trip”, and “Canada”. But if your google ad text is “Plan Canada Trip”, you could get penalized. Instead, it’s much more effective to write “Planning a Trip to Canada”. Google can detect and promote the more natural version.
Still, how do you know which keyword placement is best? The answer is: test, test, and test. Experiment with different phrasings of your ad text and related keywords, move them from the headlines to the description and back again, and then see which versions achieve the best results.
Google Ad Copy with CTA
From their own experience as consumers, many writers might feel that a CTA can be a bit pushy. However, the world of Google advertising is so stuffed with competitors that it pays to encourage immediate conversion, because there’s a good chance that your ad will be forgotten after the next click. In other words, including a call to action in your Google ad text is essential.
CTAs also give your ad copy an objective to follow. Instead of a general product description, forming your copy around the goal of conversion will result in a focused ad that is centered on your strongest and most convincing value proposition.
However, if aggressive is not your style, then experiment with softer CTAs. “Find out more” is about as gentle as it gets, and might convince an on-the-fence visitor to take a non-threatening move towards learning more before they buy. For more hacks on writing CTAs, we recommend this article.
Extensions and Dynamic Features
Google provides a number of “boosters” and technical features as a way to increase the visibility and relevance of your ads. It’s worthwhile checking them out to see if they improve your conversion rate. Note that, for extensions, some copywriting involvement is needed.
Google’s ad extensions include Sitelinks, Callout Extensions, and Structured Snippets. These are additional areas of text that can extend the size of an ad and focus the attention of the audience on a particular aspect of what you are selling. For instance, a Structured Snippet can consist of the ad extension text category “Styles” and a subsequent line which describes the styles of clothing that a brand sells.
Similarly, Dynamic Ad Features are tools that can allow your ad to appear in advantageous ways. The current options for Dynamic Ad Features are Keyword Insertion (dynamically changes ad keywords), IF functions (you set conditions that determine where your ad appears), and Countdowns (enables timing for ad appearances).
Accuracy and Consistency
If your ad does its job and the consumer clicks the CTA, it’s vital for them to see familiar and correct information on the page that they reach. This means, for example, that the web page offers a 10% discount just like the ad claims. On a deeper level, it’s a good idea to match the messaging and branding of your ad with that on the web page or app screen. So, if an ad explains that your beer tastes great, don’t take the consumer to a page that mainly discusses how your beer is less filling.
Format and Style
One of the challenges of Google ad copy character limits is that the copywriter is forced to get a lot of information into a very small space. The problem is even greater if your product is similar to a competitor’s but your advantage lies in details that are difficult to explain in a short space.
That’s why a good copywriting formula might be a great place to start. Formats like The Four Cs and AIDA are used by ad writers the world over to put together messages that are short and effective. As always, before using these formulas, as well as when writing ad copy in general, it’s a good idea to understand “what’s in it for me?”
Knowing your customer enables you to answer that question, but that’s only part of it. Having a good idea of what type of person buys your product will also dictate the kind of language that you use in your advertising. Marketing to an older audience? Try a conservative tone. Selling something avant garde? Include the latest catch phrases and slang.
Note that this is only a starting point. Honing your message and style will take lots of attempts and reiteration until analytics indicate that your conversion rates have reached their peak. Google actually provides an option for A/B testing. However, judging by all of the marketing companies that also offer the service, this vital area of copy optimization might require an expert touch.
And Then There’s Anyword
Got all that? Good, because knowing how to write Google ad copy is essential for any business that wants to take advantage of the estimated 63,000 Google searches per second that are happening right now. And also because, if your ad copy isn’t up to par, then the competitors who are using optimized texts will push your results further down the list.
But there’s actually an easier method of Google ads management.
Anyword’s technology will automatically create and optimize Google ad texts with only a few clicks of your mouse. With its Google Ad copywriting tool, Anyword will ask you for basic information, such as a URL, your industry type, and keywords. Anyword will then create multiple versions of both headlines and texts, either from scratch or by using existing content.
Next, Anyword gives you various options for writing style. The standard platform includes styles like “default” and “hard sell”. But, if you want to apply a style that you’ve seen used in a particular ad or website, Anyword’s Custom Mode will analyze it and apply that style to the copy that it builds for your Google ads.
Finally, Anyword will even test and repost the Google ad texts that it creates until they are optimized. All you’ve got to do is give Anyword that little bit of initial information and the platform will do the rest as you attend to other parts of your backlog, like ad texts for other platforms. Keep in mind, Anyword can handle many of those as well, such as ads for LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, using the same process.
Anyword’s suite of features is powered by its artificial intelligence capabilities. These leverage millions of dollars’ worth of actual advertising copy to understand the styles and nuances that generate the most conversions among specific audience groups. It then translates the optimization potential of ad copy into a score that is used to decide which version is best.
See what Anyword is all about, and start saving time, effort, and frustration on copy that won’t convert, by checking out Anyword’s free 7-day trial. No credit card necessary.