We all know the basics of good marketing copy: identify the problem, offer a solution, keep it brief, and the like. But for text ads -- ads that show above and below Google search results -- those basics aren’t enough. There’s a limit to how much you can tell in a 30-character headline -- and almost endless possibilities to tailor ads to custom audiences.
We’ve put together a quick guide to writing successful expanded text ads, with examples to inspire you.
1. Include Your Target Keyword in the Headline
Keywords increase your message’s relevance to what people search. If you’re selling software to small businesses, your headline should explicitly say that your offering is suited to them. To boost the ad’s click-through rate, pair your target keyword with a strong call to action.
For example, if you’ve included accounting for startups as a keyword, your ad headline could be “Accounting for Startups - Request a Quote.”
Learn why you want to write different ad copy for Facebook and AdWords.
2. Be Specific
Loose promises coupled with a tendency to exaggerate will discount your statement. Which is why a headline that says “Our Brand A is 15% Cheaper Than Brand B and C” will earn more trust and clicks than a headline that promises “Best Prices.” Highlight your key differentiation points with the messaging that is specific enough to feel real. 2-day shipping? Niche expertise in a particular vertical? Say so.
3. Add Urgency with Promotions and Exclusives
Cognitive friction causes low conversions (or so says Neil Patel, who also believes that the greatest marketers are all masters of psychology). To reduce friction through ad copy, Neil appeals to scarcity, urgency, and loss aversion with phrases such as "four more left," "limited time," or "expires after 24 hours."
Neil Patel likes to jazz up his ad copy with the following words to add urgency:
That extra nudge can get shoppers to act when they search for things on Google but are not yet ready to buy. The approach works well for impulse purchases such as fast fashion (or exercise gear on January, 1st).
4. Include Trust Signals
Trust signals are elements in your advertising copy that help buyers feel more safe and secure in their decision to click on the ad and buy your product. “Trust by association” is a tactic you can use to reassure customers to click through. “Featured in Forbes,” “Zagat-Rated,” “Allure Awards Winner” are all examples of trust by association.
To add trust signals to your text ads, use reviews (“Google trusted store”) and callouts (“Money Back Guarantee”, “We Accept PayPal”). PayPal could be a particularly good callout for a small business, because many consumers are hesitant to give up their credit card information to some lesser-known brands.
6. Link to Custom Landing Pages
Personalized landing pages reduce bounce rate and boost conversion rate. A well-crafted custom landing page matches the ad's intent, copy, and design. For B2B marketers, if you highlight multiple integrations of your task management software in a text ad, link to the page on your website that shows existing connectors and custom enterprise add-ons you’ve built for clients, if applicable. For B2C marketers, if people are searching for black dresses, the landing page should feature dresses in that color.
Read more on how to personalize landing pages to boost conversion.
7. Sell to the Mobile Consumer
While some insist that mobile should be the focus of all advertising campaigns these days, you don’t have to create a mobile-first campaign to target on-the-go customers. With IF functions in AdWords, you can easily insert a specific message in your text ads if a person sees it on mobile, and a default text if not.
Naturally, all of your text ads and landing pages should be optimized for mobile devices. But a successful mobile campaign really starts with understanding the context of mobile shoppers.
Mobile technology empowered marketers to increase ad relevance using time, location, and other valuable data points, so use it.
8. Proofread and Check for Common Mistakes
Even the best ad will fall flat if you forget to check for errors and typos. The best way to review is to set your ad copy aside for a few hours after you’ve finished writing, and then proofread it again. Check structure first, then word choice, then spelling, and finally punctuation, or what have you. Reading your ad backward is another way to catch typos. Some PPC marketers like to create their own proofreading checklist and use it each time they build a new campaign.
Learn from Experiments
Above all, make sure you’re constantly learning from your ad experiments and optimizing. A good rule of thumb (and what AdWords recommends doing) is to build 3-4 ads per ad group and test several options.