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Dynamic Countdown Ads Work, and Here’s How to Use Them

Published: February 8, 2016

Author: Kevin Vlcek

I was always curious as to how effective Google’s dynamic countdown ads were to performance in an account – specifically, how they affected CTR, CVR and conversion volume. Much to my luck, one of my eCommerce clients expressed an interest in testing it out over this past Christmas, and to my surprise it worked wonderfully!

The results

Over less than 4 weeks, we tested ads counting down the days until Christmas against our winning ad copy without any dynamically generated content. In this particular case, we tested some ad copy that provided the customer with a sense of urgency: “Christmas is only {Number of Days} Away!” The results below are pretty astounding; we saw significant increases in Conversions, Revenue, CTR, and CVR from our countdown ads compared to our static ad contender.
The outcome of this test led us to conclude that we should leverage the dynamic countdown ad feature for every holiday that normally provides a significant boost in site traffic and revenue for our client (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation, etc.).

The setup

The best part is that the set-up is extremely simple. You just have to create the function in your ad using the example parameters below (in this case counting down to Valentine’s Day):
{=COUNTDOWN(“2016/02/14 09:00:00”,”en-us”,25)}

  • 2016/2/14 09:00:00 is the date and time of the event and must follow the YYYY/MM/DD format
  • en-us is the language format for the countdown
  • 25 is the number of days between the moment the ad is launched until the event (default is 5)

I’ve provided screenshots below showing how the ad copy should look during set-up and what they look like on the Search Engine Results Page:
image005 image007
Once these are inputted into your ad copy, you’re all set to launch! The only caveat is that your countdown ad must be accompanied by a static ad in the same ad group in order to serve (perfect opportunity for an A/B test). When the ad begins to serve, the number of days left in the countdown will automatically update over the allotted time period, and the time unit will switch to hours when it gets under a day and minutes when it gets under the hour indicated in the formula.
However, the use of the AdWords dynamic countdown feature application doesn’t stop at just a countdown to the beginning of an event. This feature can be used to count down to a deal expiration or sale; in addition, you can have two independent countdowns in one ad and can reference different feed items as well.
Overall, I’d highly recommend giving this a try if you’ve run out of ideas for new ad tests or are just looking to try something new. Good luck!

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