Google Ads: Getting the Most Out of Text Ads

February 18, 2020 in SEO Articles

Written by Anne Fernandez


You have started a new Campaign, created Ad Groups, and written ad copy. If you have not yet done these steps, read my previous Google Ads article on how to set up your campaign in 3 steps. Now it is time to continue to write and refine your ads. In this post, I will take a deep dive into creating successful, cost-effective Text Ads that will increase conversions while lowering your bid spend. We will also discuss setting up bidding adjustments for certain audiences, fine-tuning ad copy, adding extensions to ads, and best practices.

In our own Accelebrate Google Ads account we also used:

  • Responsive Text Ads – This ad type gives you less control than Text Ads over how your ad displays. You write multiple headlines and descriptions and Google Ads decides how to mix and match them to create an ad based on the user's search query.

  • Dynamic Text Ads – This ad type gives the least control over how your ad displays. You write only the description and Google Ads creates all the other elements (headlines, URL) dynamically based on the user's search query.

We have seen most of our conversions come from Text Ads. This ad type offers the most control over what the user will see when the ads are displayed in Google's Search Network. This works best for us because we are in a niche market offering private group training for 3 or more attendees. Therefore, I will focus on Text Ads in this article.

What Are Text Ads?

Text Ads show above and below organic Google search results. You cannot add images or video. A Text Ad has three parts: headline text, a display URL, and description text.

Google text ad

Creating a Text Ad

When you create a new Campaign or Ad Group, you are automatically prompted to create your first ad, which should default to a plain Text Ad. If it does not, you can change it to Standard in the drop down.

Set up a Google ad group

After creating the Ad Group by naming it and adding keywords, you will be prompted to write an ad. After you create and save the ad, you can see that the status is still "Under review" in the Ads view.

If your ad is disapproved, you will be notified in the top right corner of your Google Ads dashboard. The little bell icon will be red, and the message should give you the reason; for example, maybe your destination URL is not working.

Google Ads dashboard

Writing Effective Text Ads

Let us go through adding another Text Ad in this Power BI Training Ad Group from this view. This time we will look carefully at each part.

From Ads in Ads & Extension (like in the screen shot above), click the blue circle with the + and choose Text ad to create your second ad.

Add text ad

 

Google Ad extensions

Do you see that "Contact Us" Call to Action and our phone number in the bottom left of the ad on the right with the grey background? I did not put that in any field above. Those are extensions and they are very important. More on that later, but first, we will look at best practices for Text Ads for the fields above.

Headlines

In the three Headline fields, be very clear about your business and include what makes you unique and competitive. You have 30 characters for each headline, and they are the first thing the user will see so you want to make them clear and relevant.

Using your keywords in the headline text will help your ad be more relevant to the searcher, which will increase your CTR (Click Through Rate). How closely the headline text matches your keywords may determine your ad position in the search results (or if your ad would even run).

You can also put a Call to Action (CTA) like 'Request Pricing' or 'Buy Running Shoes' in one of your Headlines. Specific CTAs like these generally get more clicks than something broader like 'Get More Information.'

 

Ads in the Search Network are intended to help people who are actively searching for a service or product, so the user is likely to convert if given direction. Having a CTA as a headline helped us get more conversions

 

URL Fields

You will see two URL fields in the Text Ad form above.

  • Final URL – This is the page in your website that the user would reach when clicking your ad, but the URL is not actually displayed.
  • Display Path URL – This is the URL that is displayed in green under the headlines. The text of the URL should make it clear where the user will be taken. You may use two paths (www.site.com/shoes/tennis, for example); however, you are limited to 15 characters in each path. Personally, I wish we were given more characters (hear that, Google Ads?!) because our training splash page URLs will not fit in the path field. Instead I have our contact page URL displayed, which takes the user right to our contact form.

 

The text of the Display URL should let the user know what page they will land on. If the URL text does not match the content of the page it points to, your ad may not get a top position.

 

Description Fields

You have two description lines, each allowing up to 90 characters for you to make your case. To get a higher CTR and conversion rate on your ads:

Do:

  1. Incorporate keywords into the description text.
  2. Say how you are different, i.e., what you can offer that others cannot?
  3. Focus on what the user will get. Why would they benefit from your service or product?
  4. Be specific with offers and sales. If you are having a sale you could say '15% off all tennis rackets from Jan 1-31, 2020.'

Do Not:

  1. Write ad copy with a question; users are there to find answers. For example, I wouldn't write 'What Power BI Training is Right for You?' Instead I would say "Customized Power BI Training."
  2. Use all caps or punctuation like "!!!." These are both against editorial guidelines.

Create 3-5 ads in each ad group. Experiment with different messaging to see what works. Google Ads automatically rotates your ads to see which will perform best and will need a few ads from which to choose. It is a good idea to experiment with different styles. Here are two different types of messaging we were testing; the first one is appealing to emotion while the second one is more 'just the facts' and includes a CTA in the headline.

Google text ad example

Google text ad example

I wrote those ads three weeks ago and just checked back in. The Ad on the left only has a 1.33% CTR and we spent $15, while the one on the right has a CTR of 5.66% and we spent $14. A CTR of 3% or higher is very good. For this Campaign it looks like potential customers are interested in getting a quote and reading just the basics of what we offer. I would keep the first ad but write more ads in the style of the second ad with the CTA.

 

Looking at the ad stats over time, I found out that if we didn't explicitly say 'for 3 or more attendees' we would get conversions for individuals wanting open-enrollment classes. Since we do not want to be spending money on clicks that don't bring us sales, all our ads are now very clear that we only offer training for teams.

 

You can easily view the conversion rates, the number of conversions, the CTR, total cost, etc., for each ad you write so you will know which ads are working well and which ads should be removed or edited.  Go to the Ads view and look at the columns to the right of the ads. If you do not see a column that you want, click the Columns icon on the right, choose Modify Columns, and pick the stats that you are interested in displaying.

Google Ad conversion rates

Text Ads on Mobile Devices

Your text ads are automatically optimized for mobile devices; however, I noticed that we were spending money on clicks from mobile devices but not getting any conversions from mobile phones. Our conversions mostly come from desktop computers.

There is a "Devices" section on your dashboard (for each Campaign and for each Ad Group) where you can see the different metrics, including cost, conversions, and CTR for different devices.

Using Bid Adjustments for devices, you can increase or decrease your bids based on the user's device. Click on "Devices" and hover over any box under the "Bid adj." field and you will see the pencil icon. Click that and you will see a box where you can increase or decrease the percentage of your bid for each device.

Google Ad bid adjustments

To opt out of a device completely, set the bid to Decrease 100%. You can increase your bid adjustment up to 900%.

 

You may also use bid adjustments on Demographics, Location, and Ad Schedule (times and days of the week). For example, I was seeing that our ads had the most conversions on Tuesdays, so I bumped up our bids by 15% for that day.

 

Adding Extensions to Your Google Ads

This Google Ad for a hotel has some extra information in it. Did you notice the phone number to the right of the green link and the extra links below the text? These are extensions and they will not show automatically; you will have to add them.

Add Google Ad extensions

To find Extensions, go to any Ad Group, then to Ads & Extensions, and click on the Extensions tab. Click the blue circle with the plus sign to add different extensions. On this group I have just added two Site Link Extensions (links to pages in our site), a Call Extension (phone number), and Call Out Extensions (blurbs about us). You can also set up Extensions at the account level to be applied to all Campaigns. Not every Extension will show at once, though. Google Ads will pick which ones to display based on the search; therefore, it is a good idea to use as many as you can that are relevant to your business. For example, we would not have a Location Extension because our classes are online or our trainers travel toclient sites all over the US and worldwide to deliver training; we don't have a fixed training center address where students come to us.

Google Ad Group extensions

If you click the blue circle with the + sign, you will get a list of Extensions you may use. If you hover your mouse over each, you will see what each does.

 

Having Extensions usually increases an ad's CTR by several percentage points because they give the user more relevant information about your business.

 

Message Extensions (a call-out saying something like 'Send us a text for more information') are being phased out, so I would not bother adding those. According to Google Ads, they will stop showing in February 2020.

Quality Score – Why It Matters When Creating Ads

Each keyword is assigned a Quality Score that looks at ad relevance, expected Click Through Rate (CTR), and landing page experience.

 

SAVE MONEY! Having a high Quality Score leads to higher ad positions without having to increase your bid amounts or your budget. Google wants to provide the user with the best match. Even if your bid is less than a competitor's bid, your ad would win if it had a higher Quality Score.

 

  • Ad Relevance looks to see if your keywords appear in the corresponding ad.
  • Expected Click Through Rate (CTR) is the prediction, based on previous keyword data Google Ads has collected over time, about how likely it would be for an ad to get a click.

  • Landing Page Experience looks at how closely your keywords and ad text matches the page the user would land on after clicking on the ad. Google wants to make sure the user gets the page they expect, so the landing page should include the same information that is in the ad. For example, if your ad says you are offering a discount or a special, then the landing page should also have that information.

You can easily find out the Quality Score for each keyword and even break out Ad Relevance, Expected CTR, and Landing Page Experience. Go to your Keywords, find Columns and then choose Modify Columns.

Show the Quality Score by modifying columns

Then navigate down to Quality Score and check the boxes. The columns will be added to your Keywords. The overall Quality Score will be scored 1-10 (10 being the best) and the other related items will be scored Below Average, Average, and Above Average.

Add columns to show Quality Score

Click Save and those columns will be added to the keyword table.

  1. An Average or Above Average status on Ad Relevance indicates that your keywords go well with your ad copy. You can always refine if you are just Average, but there are no major problems with your theme across your keywords and ads in an Ad Group.

  2. A Below Average status means that your ads and keywords may not go well together, or your Ad Group may be too broad with too many topics. Instead, have one theme per Ad Group and write your ads based on a closely related smaller group of keywords.

 

Increase your Quality Score!
If you are selling yoga gear, you might have separate Ad Groups for mats, attire, accessories, etc. Each Ad Group would then have its own set of themed keywords. Those keywords would appear in the ads and on the landing page.

 

One last tip before I let you go: Do not perform a Google search to see what your ad looks like on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This will throw off the CTR reporting because you will be counted as an actual searcher that ignored the ad which will bring down your CTR. Instead, go to Ads & Extensions in any Ad Group. Then go to the Status column and hover your mouse over 'Approved.' Click the last link on the box that pops up to preview how it would look on the SERPs.

Google Ad preview link

We can see our ad position for the search term SQL Server Training right here within Google Ads without having to actually perform the search on Google.

Google Ad preview and diagnosis tool

Now you have optimized your Text Ads, set up some bidding parameters, and incorporated Extensions. Whew! Next time, we will look at two different types of Ads in the Search Network: Responsive Ads and Dynamic Ads.


Written by Anne Fernandez

Anne Fernandez

Anne is the web content specialist and instructor manager at Accelebrate. She manages digital marketing initiatives and search engine optimization, makes regular updates to the website, and oversees all instructor travel.
  



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