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10 Ad Text Best Practices to Capture Your Audience's Eyes & Google's Bots

Checklist of Ad Text Best Practices

Posted in Digital Advertising, and Paid Advertising. 6 min read

As marketers, we are constantly making strides to provide a better user experience and get more traction on all of our marketing efforts.

Digital advertising with paid media is a way to get your ad in front of your ideal customer. But, are you actually providing your customers value with your ads? If not, it is far past time that you do.

Starting with paid search, the first thing your ideal customer sees when searching for your product or service is your ad text.

Below are 10 ad text best practices to ensure you capture the attention of your audience as well as the Google bots that review the quality of your ad text.

1. Use High Volume Keywords in Headlines and Make It Compelling

This seems very straightforward, but just because you are including high volume keywords, doesn’t mean you're doing it right. The main thing you want to focus on is not only including the keywords that are going to resonate with your ideal customer but that you are writing your ads the way your ideal customer reads.

For example, if I run a men’s clothing store and I want all of my most important keywords included in my headline, I could put, “Men’s Clothing Store: Pants, Shirts, Shoes, And Socks.”

While I have all of my essential keywords included, it doesn’t make much sense to read. This is when you want to dig a little bit deeper into your persona to discover what their wants and needs are.

If my men’s clothing store is geared more towards suits and professional attire, I would likely need to use different verbiage than if I ran a men’s clothing store geared more towards teenagers.

Instead, I could write something like, “Quality Men’s Business Attire: Buy High-End Shirts & Pants

Another option you have would be to separate your keywords into different ad groups to write more compelling ad text. So, in my example, I could have separate ad groups for pants, shirts, shoes, and socks. Doing this will help your quality score and increase your impression share.

The more intriguing you can make your ad the better. We are limited in the number of characters we can use (which we will talk about in point seven), But including any prices, promotions, or exclusives can help your click-through rate.

2. Use High Volume Keywords in Description

Similar to using high volume keywords in your headlines, you’ll want to include as much compelling information as possible in your description while sticking to the character limits.

You also could use this space to elaborate on what special you are offering, or what the overall concept you want your ideal customer to grasp.

3. Use Proper Punctuation Etiquette

via GIPHY

According to Google, you must follow the following punctuation rules in ad text:

  • Use exclamation points in descriptions but not in the headline.
  • Don’t use repeated punctuation or symbols (e.g., Buy Now!!!).
  • Symbols, numbers, and letters that don’t match their true meaning are not allowed (ie.
  • Cannot include non-standard symbols or characters, such as asterisks

4. Use Top Keywords in Paths

Once again, you want your main keywords to be in as many places as possible. For the “paths,” though, you need to be a little bit more strategic with the keywords that you choose.

First thing I would take into account is the goal of this campaign/ad group. If you have planned a specific way to break out your ad groups, it’ll make the paths slightly easier.

In my example, if my ad group is strictly about pants, my paths might be “Dress Attire/New Pants.”

Think of this as subdomaining your ad similar to how you subdomain categories on your website. So in my example, “New Pants” fall under the “Dress Attire” category.

5. Capitalize The First Letter of Each Word

The reason you want to capitalize the first letter of each word is because it helps to grab users’ attention when they are scrolling through a list of other ads and listings that are the same color and length as yours.

However, you will not be able to write in ALL CAPS, so don’t try. 😃

6. Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are vital to creating the most compelling and most clickable ads. Not only does Google take into consideration the number of extensions you have and the quality of your extension to help your ad rank better, but it gives users an additional point of reference in your ad to read or interact with.

And, if that wasn’t enough, it also takes up more space on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This means that you can not only pay to show up above your competition, but you also can push their listing further down the SERP by adding ad extensions to all of your campaigns.

7. Take Full Advantage of Character Limits (Including Ad Extensions)

Another way to take up more space on the SERP is to make sure you are maxing out (or getting close to maxing out) your character limits for each section of your ad. Below is an outline of how many characters you can include in each component of ad text and ad extensions.

Use this to your advantage — the longer your sections, the further down you push your competition on the SERP!

Also, the more info you can provide your user before they get to your site, the better!

  • Expanded Text Ad
    • Headline One: 30 Characters
    • Headline Two: 30 Characters
    • Path One: 15 Characters
    • Path Two: 15 Characters
    • Description: 80 Characters
  • Sitelink Extension
    • Link Text: 25 Characters
    • Description Line One: 35 Characters
    • Description Line Two: 35 Characters
  • Callout Extension: 25 Characters
  • Structured Snippet: 25 Characters

8. Keep User Devices in Mind

Headline one is, by far, the most crucial aspect of your ad, especially for mobile users.

We know mobile device users have a short attention span, so to grab their attention quickly, make sure headline one of your ad shares the most important information and entices users to either read on through the rest of your ad, or click on it immediately to visit your site.

9. Include Clear CTA

Calls to Action (CTA), as a digital marketer, are some of the most important tactics to implement across your entire digital strategy, and that does not change when it comes to ad text.

If the goal of an ad is to get someone to buy something from your online store, include “buy” somewhere in your ad text — however, keep in mind that headline one is where you grab your ideal customer’s attention, so use that copy wisely. If your goal is to get someone to download a content offer, include “download now!” Give your user an action to take so they have a clear path to follow once they get to your website.

10. Test and Optimize

Your ads will never be perfect. Test, optimize, and test again. At a minimum, you should have three to five ads per ad group. After some time, you’ll be able to start seeing which verbiage resonates more with your customers based on which ad they click on most often.

After you have found your verbiage ”sweet-spot,” you’re pretty much set. But, does that mean you should never change your ad text again? Absolutely not! I recommend refreshing your ad text every quarter at least. Advertising on a search network should never become stagnant, keep refreshing and finding new ways to entice your customer!

Bonus Best Practice

We have alluded to it a few times, but make sure to keep quality score in mind. You want the user’s search query to be one of your keywords in your ad text and on your landing page!

Stay up to date with the Search Terms Report and continually research what users are actually typing into Google; add as many of those relevant searches as possible into your ad text.

All in all, ad text is extremely important when it comes to pleasing your ideal customer and Google. If you implement these best practices, you should start to see an impact in quality score, impression share, clicks, click-through rate, and average position… pretty much every important metric to any advertiser. So, in the words of the illustrious Captain Jean Luc Picard, ”make it so!”

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