How to Create Ad Copy

Creating great ad copy that converts can be one of the most challenging aspects of PPC advertising, but also one of the most fun. In this lesson, we’ll share with you best practices and how to create ad copy that is highly relevant to specific keywords.

15 minutes

Key points you can
learn in this lesson.

User Psychology

Develop a basic understanding of the user psychology as it pertains to the search engine. 

Elements of Text Ads

Understand best practices for each element of your text ad.

Crafting Copy

Learn how to craft compelling copy for your search campaigns to garner higher click through rates.

Our key metrics increased. More importantly, we implemented a lot of new tactics and test scenarios, which will boost our company’s future prospects.
Dave McCue
Digital Marketing Manager at Allstate

Lesson Preview

In this lesson, we’ll be walking through how to create text ads for your search campaigns.

What are Text Ads?

Text ads are the ads you see in the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). They are used in search campaigns and are comprised mainly of three headlines and two description lines.

Why is this important?

Creating effective text ad copy is an essential element in having a successful PPC campaign. The ad copy you create is the first thing users see when they perform a search online. You only have about 300 characters to communicate your message and convince users to click on your ad over the rest.

What you’ll need:

  • Template: Creating Ad Copy
  • Template: PPC Campaign Strategy
  • Example: Creating Ad Copy Sheet

The Process:

Without going too deep into search psychology and the theory behind it all, there is one important thing you should understand before you start writing ad copy:

People use search engines to find answers to questions. The questions are translated into words by the searcher, which means keywords are essentially individual thought processes or intents.

Why does this matter? It matters because if people are searching for answers, your main goal is to be that answer.

Writing good ad copy is not an easy thing to do and it’s one of the only parts of PPC that is difficult to automate. The fact that you only have a few sentences to convince searchers that you have the best answer to their question makes things even more difficult.

The following sections will cover some best practices for writing compelling ad copy.

Best Practice #1: Be Relevant

This is by far the most important part of writing text ad copy. Think of your ad as a bridge between the search query and your landing page. Both sides need to be relevant.

Reflect the search query in your ad copy. As stated above, you should be considering search queries as questions and your ads to be possible answers. The best way to do this is to use the same words used in the search query. This is made possible by how you segment your ad groups which we’ll go over later in this lesson. The caveat to this is to make your ad as natural as possible, don’t keyword stuff your headlines and descriptions for the sake of relevance.

Use the most relevant landing page. Your landing page should also be answering the question of the user.  Do not send users to a generic landing page and at the same time, do not mention things in your ads that are not mentioned on the landing page.

Best Practice #2: Implement the 4 U’s

The 4 U’s have been around since the days of direct mail and are still just as applicable today. The 4 U’s are designed to hook interest, tempt users with a promise or benefit, establish credibility, and encourage them to take action. Your ads should be: unique, useful, urgent, and ultra-specific.

Unique (Unique Selling Propositions): Why should a user click on YOUR ad and not the others?

Useful (Benefits): How will your product enhance the user’s life? You need to understand the audience’s pain points and desires in order to persuade them to take action.

Urgent (Call to Action): What do you want a user to do on your landing page? Your call to action should not only be telling users what to do but also convey a sense of urgency by making it time-sensitive.

Ultra-Specific: Avoid generic copy, be as specific as possible.

Miscellaneous Tips

Below are a few tips to test out along with the two best practices outlined above:

Ad Extensions: use these to expand on your messaging and take more of the SERP real estate.

Avoid technical jargon and marketing speak. Be real and be clear. But at the same time, don’t be too plain. Users want a solution to their problem, they don’t care how great you think you are. As David Ogilvy says, “If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.”

Capitalization: try to capitalize each word in the headlines and descriptions. This has been shown to lead to higher click-through rates.

‘Official Site’: use it if it makes sense and if you are the official site. Mentioning this is known to have a positive effect on your ad’s performance.

Display URL: use path 1 and 2 to be relevant and reflect the search query by using your most important keyword there.

Special Symbols: Copyright and Trademark symbols have been shown to increase CTR.

Step 1: Organize Your Ad Groups

Now that you have an idea of how to write compelling ad copy, it’s time to write some copy yourself.

The first step in creating text ads is to divide your keywords into ad groups. Your ad groups should be tightly themed to the point where the intent behind the keywords is all the same. There are many different ways to organize your ad groups, we like to use the “two-word rule.” The “two-word rule” is where you pick two root words that will establish the theme of the ad group. Every keyword in that ad group should have those same two words.

1. Open the “Creating Ad Copy” Template

2. Click on the Ad Groups tab

3. Add the keywords from the PPC Campaign Strategy Template to the first column titled “Keywords”

4. Begin dividing your keywords into ad groups using the “two-word rule.”

  • Try to limit the number of keywords per ad group to around 7-10. Remember that we want the ad groups to be tightly themed. Sometimes you’ll have an ad group with one keyword and another with 5 keywords, and that is okay as long as there is a common theme.
  • For Directive, we ended up with 13 ad groups for the 22 keywords we have.

Step 2: Write Your Headlines and Descriptions

1. Navigate to the Headlines & Descriptions tab in the Creating Ad Copy Template

2. Start creating headlines following the best practices we went over at the beginning of the lesson. Use the UVPs and CTA you created in the PPC Campaign Strategy Template as well as any research you’ve done thus far.

  • For Directive, we used the landing page and the UVPs from the PPC Campaign Strategy Template to develop our headlines and descriptions.

Step 3: Create Your Text Ads

Now that you’ve created a few headlines and descriptions, it’s time to combine them together to create your text ads. There are 8 parts of text ads: Headline 1, Headline 2, Headline 3, Description Line 1, Description Line 2, Path 1, Path 2, Final URL. 

Below are the character limits for each:

Headline 1: max 30 characters

Headline 2: max 30 characters

Headline 3: max 30 characters

Description Line 1: max 90 characters

Description Line 2: max 90 characters

Path 1: max 15 characters

Path 2: max 15 characters

Final URL: n/a


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