It’s easy for agencies like us to bang on about the importance of quality ads in your AdWords account. And while we stand by that point it’s hardly much help to you when it comes to creating new ads.

So today let’s look at what actually makes a good AdWords ad, so you know exactly what mean when the time comes to create your next batch of ads.



The first thing you need to know about good AdWords ads is the more relevant they are, the better they’ll perform. Relevance is another thing we talk about a lot here, but what makes a relevant ad? Well, a truly relevant ad needs to be many things:


  • Part of tightly themed ad groups with focused keywords
  • Relevant to user intent, what they’re looking for and the keywords they use to find it
  • Have a focused marketing message, specific to that intent
  • Followed by a relevant landing page that expands on the same marketing message


So relevant ads are highly focused to user intent, a single selling point and part of campaigns with a consistent marketing message throughout.


Ad copy

Defining what makes “good” ad copy is incredibly difficult in AdWords. The only answer we can give is the ad copy that performs best is the one to go with – and that means regularly testing your ads.


The anatomy of your ad will look a little something like this:


  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Description line 1: 35 characters
  • Description line 2: 35 characters
  • Display URL: 35 characters
  • Destination URL: 1024 characters


Your headline is supposed to grab user attention and the best headlines capture the desire of a user, not features of the product, service or business. It’s also a good idea to have keywords in your headline – so check out Dynamic Keyword Insertion.

The description lines of your ad need to take the interest your headlines attract and persuade users to click. Be accurate and pick out the key benefits users are looking for. These can be benefits of using a product or service benefits like free delivery or a money back guarantee. Keywords are also very important in your ad copy, so choose your words carefully.

You’ll have to experiment to find the right combination in those two little lines. And, finally, end with a call to action that gives users that final push towards clicking your ad.

Before we wrap up this section we should mention display URLs: the URL users actually see, not the URL for the page they land on. This gives you space to create a dummy URL that’s relevant to your ad’s message and even include keywords to tell users the following page offers exactly what they’re searching for.


Choosing the right ad extensions

Just about every blog post you read on AdWords will preach the wonders of ad extensions. They’re pretty great, for sure, but how do you know which ad extensions to go for?

Well, this largely depends on the goal of your ad, the type of ad you create and even the nature of your business. Let’s run through some examples.

Sitelink Extensions

Perhaps the most common extension, sitelinks turn your ads jumbo-sized and include links to relevant pages on your website. The first benefit is making your ad more prominent, but those links also allow you to a offer more context about your business


Sitelinks are especially useful for broader searches where its difficult to define a single product or selling point.

Let’s say a user searches for running shoes, but no specific brand. You can show links to your best selling shoes and entice users with your most attractive brands or products. And, even for brand searches like Nike, you could use sitelinks to show links to the most popular Nike running shoes.


Callout extensions

Another extension you’ll hear mentioned a lot is callout extensions. These simple extra snippets of text give you room to include a number of selling points like free delivery, 24-7 open hours and whatever else sets you apart. The beauty of this is it gives you space to get these points across without eating into your precious ad copy space.


Review extensions

These dip into your online reviews to display a star rating. These are probably the strongest seal of approval you could hope for if you’re advertising in the service, retail or hospitality industries.


Dynamic Search Ad extensions

Dynamic Search Ads swap keywords for the content on our page to trigger for relevant searches. The downside is they give you less control, which always leaves room for wasted ad spend, but you might be able to make that up with the time you save by using them. Generally speaking, Dynamic Search Ads a better suited to content rich websites – especially if you cover a wide range of topics.


Location extensions

If you’re running ads based on location then it makes sense to reinforce this with location extensions. After all, users won’t know you’re targeting them by their location, but you can make it clear you have what they need within their area. This is important for campaigns designed to generate store visits, large products that cause delivery complications and other localised buyer intent.


There are various other extensions to explore as well, of course, and the list is ever-growing. Take a look at the ad extensions page over at Google Support for the full list and feel free to get in touch if you want to know more about how to use them.


So there you have the anatomy of a good AdWords ad and hopefully a better idea of what we mean when we talk about ad quality. One thing we can’t emphasise enough is that great ads can’t do it alone; they need to be part of relevant, equally great campaigns. And, as always, you’ll need to test routinely to find the headlines, ad copy and extensions that convince users to click and convert further down the line.