Category Archives: Ad Text Optimization

Bridge The Gap Between a Passive User and An Engaged Lead with Bing Ads Action Extensions

Bing’s strategy over the years has been to pretty much copy Google Ads features, so it’s always a surprise when they launch something unique to their platform. A couple of weeks ago, Action Extensions were released as a way to show a button with your text ads and encourage users to book, apply, contact, and more.

Action Extensions could be valuable to create a sense of urgency and let your customers know what to do once they click on your ads.

To set them up, go to your Campaigns tab. Decide if you’d like to add action extensions at the account, campaign, or ad group level. For most businesses, account level will make most sense. For example, retail advertisers will want to encourage users to buy across all campaigns. B2B on the other hand, may want to push a contact or register call-to-actions, depending on your offer and lead process.

Once you’ve decided the level at which you’ll add your action extensions, go to Ad Extensions and select Action Extensions from the drop down.

Click the Create ad extension button and +Add new Action Extension.

Select your language and choose from one of the many action text options most applicable to your business and goals.

The URL fields are optional and can be left blank, unless you’d like to take the user to a specific page that’s different from your ad URL, such as your contact page.

Ad scheduling is available but is not required. I can only think of it being applicable for action extensions that push messaging, where you want to ensure that this ad extension does not show outside of your business hours.

You can set-up and test multiple action extensions at once if several of the pre-set action text options are applicable.

As with any ad extension, these won’t show every time a user searches as Bing chooses what ad extension is most relevant to each query, taking into account location, device, and other signals. In the accounts I manage, the new Action Extensions are showing in about 20%-40% of all served ad impressions.

Are Google’s Expanded Text Ads Too Much?

Google text ads have evolved over the years. We went from 1 headline and 2 description lines totaling 95 characters total to now having 270 characters to communicate our key messages. On top of that, Google has added new ad extensions over the years, and text ads now take up more real estate space on Google than ever before.

The most recent expansion to ad copy added a third headline and a second description line. However, some of my clients are still seeing better results from their old school, shorter legacy ads, and we are continuing to run them in select ad groups alongside expanded text ads as we test new headlines and descriptions.

There were some advantages of a compact ad. Fewer ad characters meant having to really think through what is most important and communicate that in a concise way. Many people, myself included, are in a hurry and not about to read every line of every search result we see.

Also, the extra ad copy space we now get does not mean that our customers will actually read every line. As a result of so much copy space + ad extensions, many ads can now look crowded and confusing, and our key points can get lost.

So how do we make sure we take advantage of every field Google gives us but not confuse our customers? Enter AD VARIATIONS. This is a much underutilized tool that can help you make sure whatever expansions or copy changes you are considering will have the desired effect. And if not, not to worry, you can just end your experiment and test different copy and hypothesis.

To get started, make sure you are in the All campaigns portion of your Google Ads account, From there, go to Drafts & experiments and select AD VARIATIONS.

Click on + NEW AD VARIATION to start creating an experiment.

On step 1, you will select your campaigns and filter ads. For example, you can test how an ad with just one specific description performs when you add a third headline and a second description.

On step 2, you’ll choose the type of variation you’d like to test. In our case, we’d like to test if adding extra headlines and descriptions will be beneficial, so we will choose the “Update text” option.

Now, we just need to come up with some extra copy. We won’t need to make changes to Headline 1 or Headline 2, so we will leave those blank and only fill in Headline 3 and Description 2 fields.

On step 3, you’ll choose your variation details, including a name for your test, run dates, and experiment split. How long you’ll want to run this experiment depends on how much traffic you get, but a good rule of thumb is at least 2 weeks.

Make sure to check in on your experiment at least once a week to see how it’s performing. In case you notice a significant negative impact right away, you might want to end your test early. If there is a blue star next to your data column, that means your data is statistically significant for that metric. If it is not statistically after a few weeks, you likely need more time and traffic, or you may want to test a different variation.

My experience with using ad variations is that at least 50% of ad copy expansions we consider do not produce better results compared to our original copy. Why not test and understand what the impact will be before flooding your account with more text?

Enhance Your AdWords Ads with Review Extensions

What Are Review Extensions

With Google’s recent announcement that ad rank is now factoring ad extensions, it is now more than ever vital to incorporate any relevant enhancements to your ads, such as sitelinks and call extensions. One of the more recent additions to the ad extensions menu are Review Extensions, which allow you to highlight reputable third party reviews and accolades. They can help you entice users to clicks on your ads by highlighting an endorsement and help expand your ad with additional real estate. If you’ve got some praise, why not flaunt it?

Reviews appear below your ad description in top ranked ads and link to the review source, such as a magazine article. If a user clicks on your review extension, you won’t be charged for a click that’s going to your review source, unless this user clicks on your ad as well.

How To Set-Up Review Extensions

Just like with sitelinks, you can set-up review extensions at the campaign or at the ad group level. When you’re choosing your review extension text, make sure that it is not too similar to your ad copy and potentially redundant. Use that space to communicate what someone else raved about and make sure you are accurately representing the original source.

To get started with review extensions, log-in to your AdWords account and go to tab Campaigns. Go into a specific campaign, click on tab Ad Extensions and choose Review Extensions from the drop down.


Click on +Extension to create a new review extension. You can either use an exact quote from your source or you can paraphrase text. Make sure to state your source in the Source field and link to the third-party URL — your review source cannot be your own website.


Here are some additional guidelines and restrictions:

-Your review should not be about a specific product or service, but about your business as whole. It should also not be just a description of your business.
-The review also needs to be less than a year old.
-Individual customer reviews and testimonials are not accepted.
-Aggregate reviews and rating from websites like Yelp.com are not allowed.
-Press releases cannot be used.
-Currently, review extensions are only available in English.
-Do not repeat your business name in the review – one review extension I created was disapproved for this reason.
-Use … ellipses to show missing words or phrases.

You can find the full list of requirements and restrictions here. There has been quite a bit of confusion with what counts are “reputable” with some seemingly prominent websites getting disapproved. Make sure to check on your review extensions to see if it’s been approved. If you notice that it’s been disapproved, get in touch with AdWords support to find out why, as no disapproval reason is currently listed in the AdWords interface.

Just like with other ad extensions, your review extensions won’t show every time a user is searching. You can review impressions and other performance metrics in the Ad Extensions tab by choosing the Review Extensions drop down.

Bing Ads Now Supports Call Extensions

If you use Bing Ads, you may have noticed a new feature – Call Extensions- which Google AdWords has supported for quite some time now. This is an important feature for any business that relies on phone calls for sales and leads.

Bing’s new call extensions are very similar to Google’s, allowing advertisers to associate a phone number with their ads. To set them up, go to your Campaigns tab in Bing Ads and click on ad extensions.

bing ads call extensions

Click on the Call Extensions link and follow the prompts to add your phone number. You’ll be able to select a specific campaign to associate a phone number with, as well if you’d like to show your phone number on all devices or on smartphones only.

bing call extensions


You can choose to show both your website and the phone number or only show the phone number on mobile devices. I prefer giving people the option to decide if they should call you versus click on your website.

If you choose to use Bing’s forwarding number, you’ll be charged $1 for calls to this forwarding number.

Upgrade Your AdWords Sitelinks with Additional Details

AdWords recently updated their sitelink policy to allow for optional sitelink descriptions that are unique to each individual sitelink. The additional text can help you win more ad real estate and allow you to further pre-qualify your visitors.

In order to use enhanced sitelinks, you’ll need to upgrade your campaigns to enhanced (if you have not already).

In your campaign management tab, go into a campaign you wish to edit. You can also go into a specific ad group if you wish to create sitelinks unique to an ad group.

Click on Ad extensions and choose Sitelink Extensions from the drop down.

sitelinks 1

Click to Edit the Sitelink extension and choose to create a +New sitelink. Write in your Link text (25 characters max) and choose a Link URL. Under Description, add in additional copy to further describe the specific sitelink page you are linking to.

sitelinks 2

You can even set specific starts and end dates, or days and hours, if you wish to only show a sitelink during specific times.

Please note that your ads will not always show sitelinks, and when they do, the format can vary. Also, sitelinks only show in the top ranked ads that are promoted to ad positions above the organic search results.

Continue to monitor your account, including performance for each sitelink you have set-up. In your ad extensions tab, click on Segment and choose This Extension vs. Other to see how each sitelink contributes to your clicks and conversions. If you’re noticing that a sitelink is under-performing, consider changing the link language and description details, or try a different sitelink.

sitelinks 3

AdWords Display URLs Now All Lower Case

Have you noticed that AdWords changed they way they show ad display URLs? They are now all lowercase, regardless of how you set-it up in your account.  Before the change, you were able to inter-capitalize an ad’s display URL ExampleURL.com. After the change, it will show as exampleurl.com in your ad. Apparently, the AdWords team did internal testing and found that lowercase Display URLs help increase CTR.  The data was conclusive enough to overturn the previous best practice of inter-capitalization.

Optimize Your AdWords Ads Automatically For Conversions

AdWords finally released a feature I’ve been waiting for for years, a setting which optimizes your ads for conversions. You can find it by clicking on your campaign’s settings, under the ad delivery section.

Previously the options were to have the system optimize ads for CTR or to rotate them evenly. Because ads with the highest CTR do not necessarily convert best, I used to recommend most advertisers to set their ads to rotate, then manually pause those ads that are generating a lot of clicks but aren’t converting. That process was  manual and time-consuming and AdWords has come up with a smarter way to optimize your ads based on what’s truly working for you.

To take advantage of this setting, you’ll need to have conversion tracking enabled in your account and you will want to create multiple ads per ad group so the system can run them against one another. The ad that is more likely to convert will start to be preferred by the system and will show more often. Have fun experimenting!

Enable Ad Sitelinks in AdWords and boost your CTR

AdWords recently announced that they are enabling Ad Sitelinks for all campaigns, which advertisers previously had to pre-qualify for. Only advertisers with very high quality scores actually saw this as an option in their accounts. Now, it’s available to all campaigns, and you should be taking advantage of it. Sitelinks allows you to link to other pages on your website with the links visible immediately below your Display URL.

Sitelinks not only acts as an extra line of ad text and provides your visitors additional navigation options, it can reportedly boost CTRs by up to 30%. To set it up, go to your campaign settings, and under Extensions, enable Sitelinks by clicking on Show additional links to my site within my ad.

Best practices for using dynamic keyword insertion in AdWords ads

Keyword insertion is a tool that allows AdWords advertisers to automate their ads with a single piece of code in the ad copy. Keywords users are searching on are automatically populated into the ad, usually the ad title, possibly making the ad more relevant. To use it, you’d simply enter the following piece of code {KeyWord:Default Headline} into your ad. Keyword insertion is used most commonly in headlines. However, the code could also be placed in the rest of your ad text, as well as in your display and destination URLs.

There are many benefits to using keyword insertion, but you should also be careful to avoid weird looking ads that don’t make sense or aren’t converting for you. The table below explores some pros and cons of keyword insertion as well as my tips on how to best take advantage of it.

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