How to write PPC text ads in 2017’s sophisticated environment 1

There are now so many ways to customize your search ads that optimization can seem complex. Columnist Matt Umbro discusses which components are likely to make the biggest impact on your CTR and conversion rates.


I’ve been in the paid search industry for a nearly a decade. A lot has changed since I first learned how to write a simple ad with a 25-character headline and two 35-character description lines.

Though the fundamentals of ad copywriting and testing remain in play, text ads have evolved to the point where you must consider many different components. Between devices, formatting, ad extensions and audience types, writing effective ad copy is more reliant on multiple factors than ever before.

Just last month, AdWords rolled out IF functions to add another layer of ad customization. This feature allows advertisers to change the ad message depending on the user’s device. For example, a user searching on a mobile device could see a message that says, “Shop from your phone,” while the desktop message may say, “Shop our selection.”


This means you can now write mobile-preferred ads without ad customizers or creating a mobile-only campaign. Instead of writing two ads, you can now write one that changes the message depending on the device.

This new function is great, but you still must ask the age-old question: Should you segment your campaigns by device? Let’s begin our ad-writing discussion by first addressing this question.

Device-specific campaigns

When enhanced campaigns were launched four years ago, mobile-only campaigns became a thing of the past. Instead, we were able to set mobile bid modifiers and write mobile-preferred ads.

With hindsight being 20/20, though advertisers lost some control, it wasn’t the worst change in the world. It did allow advertisers to streamline management while still showing mobile ads to users on mobile devices. It did, however, require advertisers to create ad groups with multiple desktop and mobile ads to test messaging.


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