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A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Effective PPC Ad Copy

11 April 2016
close-up-keyboard-typing | A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Effective PPC Ad Copy | Neon

I think most of us can agree there are often times where we need some inspiration when it comes to writing PPC ad copy, whether you are just starting out in the world of PPC or have years of experience running successful PPC campaigns.

In this guide, you will find best practice along with tips and tricks to save time and hopefully provide some inspiration!

Things to Consider Before Writing PPC Ad Copy

Before hitting the keyboard to write your next ad, there are a number of things you should take into consideration. So let’s start brainstorming who you are looking to attract to your site and what you have to offer. Ask yourself questions like:

  1. What is my unique selling point? (USP) What do I have to offer? Promotions/discounts? Incentives? Free goodies? A product or service that is exclusive to your business? Free shipping? What makes you stand out in a crowd? Do you have a niche product or offer?
  2. What keywords are you bidding on? Check out our post about keyword research for top tips.
  3. What are your competitors doing? Have you had a look at the competition on Google?
  4. What are your objectives? Sign-ups? Traffic? Phone calls? Revenue? Downloads?

Best Practice

Get noticed in the crowded search results by following these simple best practices to entice users to your site.

  • Shout about your USP (well maybe not SHOUT with CAPITALS or your ad will be disapproved).
  • Include prices, promotions, exclusives etc.
  • Use a call to action (CTA) to tell users what you want them to do e.g. buy now! Sign up now! Call today!
  • Include the most important keywords you are bidding on.
  • Ensure your landing page matches your ad copy with the same keywords, products and services.
  • Familiarise yourself with Google’s editorial and professional requirements to avoid disapproved ads.
  • Allow plenty of time to write and upload ads for approval to ensure you hit any deadlines set.

To summarise, you want to create ads that are highly relevant to the user’s search query which means including as much useful information as you can. For example, if a user is searching for a ‘stripy blue dress’ and clicks on your ad which directs them to a page with ‘red spotty dresses’ that user is going to click straight off your site and find themselves on a competitor’s site that has a landing page specifically for ‘stripy blue dresses’.

Create an Ad Template

Text ads are made up of a headline, two description lines and a display URL of your landing page. All of these elements have character limits to stay within as shown below. This means you need to fit all of your message within 95 characters. Trying to fit all of your key information within this can be tricky, especially when you are not used to writing PPC ads.

Max Length (most languages)

Headline: 25 characters
Display URL: 35 characters
Description line 1: 35 characters
Description line 2: 35 characters

Creating an excel spreadsheet is a really simple way to set up an ad template. Open a new excel document and type in the headline, description line 1, description line 2 and display URL in separate rows from A1 to A4.

In column C type =LEN(B:1) and hit enter; this will create the formula to count the character length of the headline in cell B1. Now click on cell C1 and guide your mouse to the bottom right corner. Drag this down to C4 and this will copy the formula. You now need to add conditional formatting to each formula you added so that it will highlight in red if you go over the character limit.

To do this go to cell C1 and click on ‘conditional formatting’ and click ‘greater than’, type in 25 and the box will automatically create the rule with ‘light red fill with dark red text’, click ok. Repeat these steps for cell C2 to C4 and add 35 instead of 25.

Copy and paste the template you have just created and the formulae will copy across too. This is a quick way to start playing around with different ad copy. There are word count tools online if you want to explore different options for creating ad templates.

PPC example screenshot | A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Effective PPC Ad Copy | Neon

PPC Ad Copy Examples

The headline is the shortest element with 25 characters but is arguably the most important part of the ad as this is what users are likely to notice first. Ensure you include your keywords and USP in the headline.

The description is your opportunity to provide further information on your products, services, promotions etc. If you are still finding it difficult to shorten, think about writing statements and use abbreviations; so many people use abbreviations these days so it makes sense to do so.


Sally works for and is looking to push sale dresses that are available online only. The offer is 20% off until Monday and Sally is bidding on ‘dress sale’, ‘online dresses’ and ‘dresses online’.

Below is an example of good ad copy for this particular scenario along with an ad that is not as strong to show the difference. The first ad is more of a headline grabber that provides the user with the 20% offer and tells us the offer is for online dresses. The description includes the day when the offer ends and gives the user a sense of urgency to click as well as a strong call to action of ‘shop online now!’

The second ad isn’t necessarily bad as it contains the keywords ‘dresses online’ and tells the user there is a discount available but is lacking the vital bits of information such as when the sale is on until, how much of a discount is available and the sense of urgency as to when the offer ends. The call to action ‘visit us online’ is not as strong as ‘shop online now!’ The first ad provides more of an incentive for the user to click on the ad and therefore generate better results.


Creating ad copy that includes your keywords, USP, service or offer, a strong call to action and a relevant landing page will ensure you remain competitive in the search results as you are serving highly relevant ads to a user’s search query. This is what is called a good user experience which means happy customers. Highly relevant ads result in good ad click-through rates, lower bounce rates and more revenue. Revenue = happy clients!

Ready to take your PPC to the next level? Why not get in touch to speak to our talented search team!

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