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Tailoring your AdWords ad copy for your audience

Tailoring your AdWords ad copy for your audience

Readers of this blog will be well aware that AdWords is a powerful tool that can bring a lot of quality traffic to your website. However, mindlessly throwing money at the platform is a sure-fire way to waste your marketing budget with little return on investment. Clever marketers are continuously trying to improve their ads, both to up their relevancy and lower the cost per click as well as to attract the right people to click their ads. 

We have already offered a number of guides, running through tips on how to get more for your money on the AdWords platform. In this article, we take a detailed look at how you can tailor your AdWords copy to appeal to your audience. With so much competition out there, these tips will help you to get creative and really stand out from the crowd.

Define goals 

Defining two key goals will go a long way to writing better ad copy. Start by defining exactly what you want to achieve from your ads. Yes, ‘getting more website views’ is a good, if not obvious, start. But by going into more granular detail around who you are targeting and what you want them to do, you will be able to write much more compelling copy.

Once you have defined who it is your ad needs to reach, you can consider what they want to achieve. As a business you should solve problems and this should be reflected in your ad copy. Take for example if someone searches ‘how to get more website visits’. This is undeniably a great search term for an SEO or PPC business to target, yet many answer this with headlines similar to ‘The Best SEO Business in the World’. A better headline would relate to their search, something more along the lines of ‘Have an Awesome Website But Need More Traffic?’ or ‘We Can x3 Your Traffic in 2-Weeks’. These types of headline appeal directly to what you potential customer if searching for and is much more likely to result in clicks.

Consider your tone of voice 

Getting your tone of voice on point goes back to the fundamentals for many marketers. Yet so many Google ads seem to completely lack brand personality in favour of being more concise about their message. Of course, being brief and to the point is very important when it comes to creating compelling copy. However, it is possible to be brief whilst still including the right words, phrases and tone that will appeal to your target audience.

This is especially important in Google ads, where your copy is the only defining factor you have to make yourself stand out in comparison to your competition.  

Keyword placement 

There are two ways in which using keywords can help you write better ad copy that appeals to your audience. One being simple and the other being slightly more complex in its nature.

The first way you can use keywords is simply by including it in your headline and ad copy. For example if you are bidding on the ‘social media marketing’ keyword then using that term in your copy will both ensure it appeals to the searcher and also boosts your relevancy score, meaning your ad will appear more frequently and your CPC will be less.

This method works well when you are using one ad to bid for one keyword. But in practice this is rarely the case, with marketers using one ad for multiple keywords. Take for example an insurance company that uses one ad for all their services. A smart way to do this is to use keyword insertion, which allows you to insert the keyword used into your ad. This allows you to change ‘Get cheap insurance’ to ‘Get cheap car/boat/house/motorbike insurance’ depending on which search term is used. 

Provide current social proof 

In a digital marketing space where anyone can access users attention for the right price, social proof becomes a very powerful tool. Google already offers a clever ad extension that can represent business reviews. However, the ad copy can also be used to promote how other customers have been delighted with your products and services.

This may be represented in a number of ways. For example, ad copy may read ‘Voted best for customer service in 2018’ or even something as simple as ‘Our customers love our friendly approach’. This approach adds an element of proof that you are the business they should want to work with. 

Data power 

Have you ever seen a fact or figure that has made you completely change your opinion on something? Using high-impact and concise data is a great way drive home a message quickly. This is especially important with Google ads, as attention on the page is often short lived.

Using a short, data-based fact will go a long way to getting a user’s attention quickly and compel them to click. Take for example an ad with a headline reading ‘Free cool stock images’, which in many ways is enticing. But when you compare it to a data backed title like ‘500,000+ free cool stock images’ you can see the difference in impact.


Everyone likes to buy, but nobody like being sold to.

Personalisation is a powerful tool in creating a personal affiliation with potential clients. Just think of the difference in emails you open that start with ‘Dear Sir’ and those that address you by name. People like to feel they are being spoken to directly.

This isn’t always that easy when creating ads on the AdWords platform. Unlike other marketing methods they do not offer inclusion of data such as first names in the ads copy.  However, using some simple changes in how you write the copy can make it more appealing. For example, one ad may give generic copy reading ‘Marketing career guide’, whereas another more compelling example of this my read ‘Your best chance at getting your dream job’. 

Although Google do not offer any advanced personalisation for ads you can use smart location targeting paired with your copy to appeal directly to customers. This can be used with great impact when targeting local customers, for example your ad may read ‘Best burgers in London’. This appeals, as people generally react well to familiarity and as a rule are very familiar with their local area.

Don’t go gimmicky 

One important aspect of ad copywriting is to make sure your ad doesn’t read too much like…well an ad.

Not only is gimmicky and over the top copy a bad way to appeal to your audience but it can also lead to your ad being penalised by Google. In their ad guidelines it is pointed out that copy which is overly generic and contains vague phrases such as ‘buy products here’ may be rejected. Equally the use of ‘salesy’ words, numbers, letter, punctuation or symbols such as FREE or f-r-e-e will likely lead to ads being thrown on the scrap pile.

Instead try using direct, clear and easy to understand copy in your ads. Tell them what value they are getting by clicking to explore your page and how you are going to help remedy their problem. By all means use the word ‘free’ to explain something a customer would ordinarily have to pay for, but don’t push this on them through gimmicky copywriting.

Test and tweak

Following the guidance we have laid out above is going to put you in a good position to write great ad copy for your AdWords campaigns. But as with everything in life, there is always going to be a little room for improvement. By running your campaign you will start to collect performance data. This data will tell you whether the ad you are running is performing well or not and you can then start to tweak the copy accordingly.

The smartest way to do this is to run multiple ads with exactly the same set up (keywords, bids etc.) but changing the copy for each. This will then show you exactly which set of copy is the most compelling in driving traffic to your site.

In this article we have covered everything you need to know about writing ad copy that will appeal better to your audience. This has included a detailed look at technical elements such as keyword placement and limiting gimmicky wording through to wider arching aspects such as tone of voice and including social proof. Although there are many elements that make up a high performing Google ad campaign, the copy you use arguably impacts this massively. Not only does appealing to your audience boost the chances of them clicking on your ad, but it also has the potential to boost your relevancy score, ultimately increasing your ROI.

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Peter Johnson
Peter is a Google AdWords specialist, with associated skills in Bing Ads, Twitter Ads and Facebook Advertising.