Crush The Competition With Strategic AdWords Ad Copy

April 23, 2015


You’ve brainstormed messaging, followed the AdWords guidelines for promotional copy, and carefully counted your characters. Then you launch your campaigns and… crickets.

How well did you strategize your ad copy? Did you do a few searches out in the wild and see what you’re up against? It’s not enough anymore to just list your company’s features and benefits.

Try these strategic AdWords ad copy ideas to hypnotize users into using your ads, rather than ending up like this kid:


Put the “You” in Your Ad

This is the biggest missed opportunity I see when reviewing ad copy. Some marketers stuff all of the marketing stuff into an ad and forget the most important thing: a human being will read this and decide if it addresses their needs.

Speak to them! Don’t write your brochure fluff, don’t talk about how great your company is, don’t write what your boss considers the product’s best feature – write to address your customers’ needs.

So you’re an award-winning business. Cool. Established in 1986 you say? What can you do for me????

This goes beyond digital marketing and is often skipped over in all marketing. The most important thing you can do as a marketer is explain how your product or service fills a need someone has. There’s often an incorrect perception in companies that your digital marketing is reaching the entire market or the whole world and every possible customer will fall to your feet. It’s not true.

When someone searches one of your keywords and your ad triggers, you are speaking to one prospective customer at a time. Think about that. Frame your copy with this in mind and tell your prospects what will happen to them if they use your product/service:

  • You will save 20% compared to other solutions.
  • Your job will be easier if you use our product.
  • Your problem will go away with our part.

helpdesk gets it. Their ad speaks directly to me. Do a search for “helpdesk software”. It’s a competitive market and every advertiser touts stats, company size and features. This company cuts through like a knife because they are speaking right to me. I may need a solution with 24/7 support or best in class design, but I want my customers to love me.

What do your prospects really want?


Your potential customers love specificity (AdWords does too). Be descriptive and specific in your ad copy and reap the rewards.


This Geico ad above does a pretty good job of getting specific. They are of course famous for their “Save 15% in 15 minutes” television tagline. It’s hard to get more specific than that. “Okay smart guy”, you’re saying, “This is really easy to do with general consumer facing, promotion-based businesses, but I work for a byzantine software provider who sells to a B2B audience, how can I leverage this?”

First, thanks for asking! Second, it’s totally doable. Check out this example from Smartsheet.


They tried a spin on McDonald’s famous counter for number of customers served. The 2 million number leaps out of their ad, builds trust with the prospective audience, and also induces a touch of peer pressure, saying in effect “What’s wrong with you? It’s worked great for a huge number of other businesses, try it already!”

Loss Aversion – FOMO

If Google and AdWords have one true weakness, it’s that they are always on. There’s no exclusive window of service. Answers (and ads that accompany them) are available 24/7 from anywhere on this planet. Ever heard of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)?

Social media is great at leveraging our fear and emotions for clicks. Some social outlets make you feel that if you don’t see the 13 potatoes shaped like Channing Tatum TODAY, you may perish.

For the record, my favorite is potato 11, it’s just so life-like:


Image Credit:

This is much more challenging in AdWords. Motivating a potential customer to CLICK NOW (without actually putting that in your ad copy, in accordance with Google’s Ad Policy) and not wait until tomorrow is incredible challenging.

It’s up to you to manufacture some urgency.

  • Hurry sale ends on 5/1/15!
  • Sneak peak for first 10 sign ups.
  • 3 days left to save.

That last one is now easier than ever to implement in your account. AdWords recently created a countdown tool in the New Ad area. Just type {= in your ad field (Headline, Description 1, Description 2 all work) and you will trigger the countdown tool. Tell AdWords when your promotion ends and how many days before to start the countdown. Each day the digits will tick by, urging users to make that click.


How do you leverage your ad copy? Post your ad in the comments below.