If the 80:20 rule was true, ad copy would make up a large portion of the 20% of effort that drives 80% of results. It’s one of the simpler elements of AdWords advertising, but it’s easy to forget the basics: and getting them right can massively improve conversion rates. In this blog post I’ll cover the three stages of creating great copy to ensure the exponential spikes in conversion you crave.

Before you write anything: 

The first step to strong ad copy is planning. Before you touch the ad console, make lists of the following four categories to create a solid foundation for your work:  

  • Features - What does your product do? Is it green/red/blue? Does it play music? Do you deliver by post? Features are the facts you need to convey through your copy.

  • Benefits - How does your product solve a problem for your customer? Benefits are the things in some way make your customer a better human being than they would have been if they hadn’t used your product and are your main selling points.

  • Call to action - Here, you are trying to make it easy for the customer to understand what they should be doing as a result of your ad. Should the customer be looking to buy now? Enquire for more information? An example would be ‘buy online here’.

  • Keywords - Are there any specific words you want the ad to be associated with? Be sure to write a list to try and get them into your copy!

 You can use this matrix to help you map your features to your benefits

You can use this matrix to help you map your features to your benefits

Now you’re ready to start typing...

With your ideas in order, you can start writing catchy copy. Here, I will address the headline and the body text, but you can also check out our blog post on sitelink extensions here


The headline is the hook of your ad - it’s the first thing your potential customer will see, so it’s important to get it right.

 This is how your headlines will appear.

This is how your headlines will appear.

Google has recently changed how headlines appear, meaning you now have two 30-character lines to play with. Although you have more room than ever before, you still have to be tight with your writing.  

Creating a compelling headline isn’t easy, as you have to be both creative and informative about what you sell. Consider trying to include the following when writing your headline: 

  • Offer words that convey your benefits - ‘free’, ‘want’, ‘improve’

  • Include your keywords - these are likely the words you are bidding on, and therefore your ad (and everything else regarding the ad for that matter) should be related to these keywords.

  • Arouse curiosity by using an interrogative question: ‘how to’, ‘do you’

  • Save the most important word for the end.

The body 

The key to successful ad copy is engaging with the reader’s emotions by speaking to them individually. This goes beyond just inserting a dynamic keyword into your copy.

The best tip at this stage is to be empathetic. If you typed the search you are bidding on, what would you be hoping the result to be? For example, on the search ‘sell my car’, the customer wants results to reflect not just the ability to sell their car - they want to be matched to someone who can buy their car today.

This kind of simple lateral thinking and empathy will often stand you head and shoulders above the competition. 

If you are still lacking inspiration you can use your competitors ads as a guide, or use a tool such as BuzzSumo to analyse which content performs the best according to a topic, industry or a competitor.


After you have gone live… testing

After you have gone live, the difference between good and great ads is testing. But what should you be testing, and how can you do it? This is our checklist.

The elements you can test:

  • Headline 1 or 2

  • Description line

  • Display URL

  • Landing page

  • Different calls to action or value propositions

The steps you can use to test the elements:

You should follow these steps to ensure you are running a successful test:

  • Run two different ads at the same time

  • Check which ad has the best CTR

  • Remove the ad with the lowest CTR and replace it with another ad

  • Repeat these steps to make sure you keep increasing CTR

The things you should avoid...

  • Testing several elements at the time: Ideally have two ads running for an ad group at the same time that are identical except for one element.

  • Testing for less than 30 days: We let our tests run for least a month so we're able to get reliable and statistically significant data: don’t pause the ads or make any changes. After a month, you can then keep the ad with the best CTR and try it versus another new ad.

Wrapping Up

Clearly, for a seasoned AdWords pro - these may appear to be ad copy 101 - but it's always worth reminding yourself of the essentials, if this isn't new to you. If you are looking for more advanced PPC goodness - be sure to check out the rest of our latest blog posts, or sign up for our updates below.