NEW: Chris Thomas

GoogleAds only give you 95 characters to play with. Make sure they’re all working hard. Here’s how.

Make those ads work

Chris Thomas

I mentioned last week how important “quality score” is to your Google AdWords campaign, and how it can save you a bundle. In my book, saving money is the same as making money, and often it’s a whole lot easier.

This week I’m giving you my top eight tips for writing effective Google ads which will help you to improve your CTR (Click Through Rate), enhance your quality score and potentially your Ad rankings. At the same time, it’s important to filter unwanted clicks so your ROI is improved. As you’re about to see, it can be a delicate balancing act.

Before we get started, let’s have a quick look at how Google shows ads on a page.

Depending on the number of advertisers for a particular key phrase, Google can squeeze up to 11 Google ads on a result page. You’ll often see three right at the top and eight down the right hand side. It’s great to be on the top and it’s all right being on the side, but being high up the page “above the fold” is where you want to be. You’ll have more chance of your Google ad being clicked on.

As you know, it’s a competitive space when it comes to Google ads! So how do you get more people to click on your Google ad, rather than your competitor’s ad?

The best way is to write a really compelling ad! Of course it’s not easy when you only have 95 characters (including spaces between words) to play with! So let’s get started…

1. Include highly targeted keywords in your Google Ads

Where possible, try to include the keywords you use to trigger your ad in the headline and the description of the ad. Google will highlight searched keywords in bold in the ad.

When someone types in a key phrase, their eye is naturally drawn to a Google ad, which has the key phrase they just entered in your Google ad. They believe that what they just typed in and what you’re offering is a match. They get a warm, fuzzy curious feeling and will (hopefully) click on your ad, not your competitor’s.

In my experience, Google ads that contain “searched” key words and phrases will always perform better than ads without.

If you’re comfortable with the technology, you can use DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion) to ensure this happens almost every time.

2. Turn features into benefits

As any decent marketer will tell you, always turn the features of your product (or service) into benefits. Examples include, “save time”, “make more money”, “stay younger looking”, “lose weight”, “live happier”, etc.

3. Use attention-grabbing words in your Google ads

It’s always tempting to put your business name in your Google ad. However, I always recommend that unless you’re a large well-known brand and you’re wanting to improve your online brand recognition, let your URL (or domain name in your Google ad) do the “branding” and let your Google ad do the selling.

So, try and start your headline with an attention-grabbing word. For example, “New, Sale, Free, etc.” Of course, make sure your ads stay within the Google AdWords editorial guidelines.

4. Use words that create emotion, excitement and curiosity

Use powerful words, call-to-action phrases or emotion provoking phrases and keywords that create enthusiasm and a response.

Below are some examples of power words:

Learn, secrets, free shipping, cheap, at last, tricks, special offer, time limited offer, free, you’ll discover, tips, enhance, fact, on sale, etc.

Here are some examples of strong call-to-action phrases:

  • Sign up today!
  • Buy Today & Save 40%
  • Download Free Trial Now
  • Sale Ends Tomorrow

5. Promote your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

I certainly hope you have something to offer that differentiates you from your competitors’ offerings. If you do, spell it out in your ad as best you can!

For example, “Best Prices Guaranteed” is a powerful USP! But make sure you can back up your claims or Google will pull your ad.

6. Link to landing pages that are relevant to your visitors’ buying cycle

It’s important to think about where a visitor is in their buying cycle. What I mean is this: if someone types in a broad phrase like “LCD TV”, they’re usually in the research phase of their buying cycle. It’s OK to deliver a visitor to either your home page or a top level category page (if you sell LCD TVs on your site).

If someone types in a much more specific phrase like “Sony KDL-40X2000”, then they’ve probably completed their research phase, made a purchasing decision and are likely to be in a comparative/buying phase. Your Google ad should deliver the visitor straight to the product page on your website that offers that specific product for sale. Your conversion rate will significantly improve.

Do not under any circumstances send your visitor to your home page and expect them to hunt around for that product! I guarantee your conversion rate will plummet if you do.

7. Remove the common words where possible

Remove common words, such as “a, an, in, on, it, of”, etc. You can also save precious space by replacing ‘and’ with ‘&’ or a hyphen ‘-‘. Make every word and every space count.

8. Filter the freebies!

Use prices in your ad to filter/deter the freebie hunters. This will improve your overall conversion rate and lower your customer acquisition cost.

By doing this it’s likely you’ll experience a lower CTR (Click Through Rate) but the aim here is to target potential customers, not the freebie hunters who usually never purchase from you anyway.


Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine marketing company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.


To read more Chris Thomas blogs, click here.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.