Google Ads

Counting Down to Sales in AdWords Ads Just Got Easier

Last week, I wrote about how to use scripts to make meaningful optimizations. One of the optimizations I listed was the sales countdown script. In September, Google announced ad customizers that included the sales countdown function, which was essentially a less intimidating way of using scripts for making ad optimizations.

Well, it seems like Google has just one upped me, making part of my last post somewhat obsolete...but either way, everyone wins! Google has integrated the ‘Countdown’ logic into its own ad creation with its countdown widget; which I have to say, is way easier to use than implementing a script or filling out a document with arguments and other criteria.

How To Set Up a Countdown

To get started, navigate to the AdWords interface and type “{=” into a description line in your text ad. This text will automatically trigger the new Countdown widget.

adwords countdown widget

Next, fill in the start and end dates for your countdown.

Advanced Options

You get the option to use the ad viewer’s time zone, or your account timezone to display the countdown, as well as the language you would like the countdown to display. The advanced options are nice because they give an extra layer of customization to agencies or those operating across multiple time zones and languages.

Countdown Examples

There are many different applications for ‘Countdowns,’ while most think of sales as the main use case. Here are a few other uses.

  • If you want to promote a timed event, such as webinars or live streams
  • If you want to encourage contest entries
  • Promoting a new store opening
  • Promoting a shipping date (ex: “Order within the next 3 hours to get same day shipping!”)
  • Call out a special occasion (ex: 3 days until Valentine's day!)

Pro-tip: Create one or two ads for mobile only; you’ll want to be sure to put the countdown in the beginning of the ad so that the urgency is there on mobile devices.


Creating urgency in ad text is one of the best ways to engage customers, and Google’s countdown feature makes creating time-sensitive ads much easier. It will be interesting to see if other networks work this type of functionality into their own ad creation. I could see this feature doing very well in social advertising.  Finally, if you don’t have it in your account, be patient– according to Google, the feature will be rolled out over the next few weeks.  If you do have it, though, consider yourself lucky!

Have other great ideas for using the countdown in your ads? Post them in the comments!

AdStage Team