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Make your ad copy characters count

Published: January 2, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by jack-of-all trades Account Coordinator Julie Vera, who knows her way around a bulky plural.

good ad coyp
Call to order, time frame…we’d click this.

25-35-35: Magic numbers for digital marketers. In Google Search network ads, there is very little space to get your message across to a potential lead or sale. Users only glance at your ad for a few seconds, so it’s important to grab their attention immediately with descriptive but concise language.
Here are some tips for making those 95 precious characters work for you:
1) Exercise Your Thesaurus
Regular speech is very…flowery. We use a lot of words that seem like filler and often do not get to the point in as little words as possible. Writing copy in such little space requires that we re-think our vocabulary. Instead of using a phrase of words, try using a thesaurus to find one or two words that still get the same point across. Cut down on adverbs and excess adjectives. There is always a clearer, more concise way to say what you mean! For instance, instead of “very smart,” say “shrewd” or “astute.”
2) This Ain’t Grammar School
Great sentence structure is no longer a priority. Ad copy in a limited amount of space often comes down to what the ‘main words’ are. If you want your customer to complete a purchase, consider a branded message like: “Buy Widget™ and Save Now!” as opposed to “Buy This Awesome Amazing Widget™ and Save An Incredible Amount of Money.”
3) Calls to Action (CTAs)
“Get this Brand™ Report Now and Receive All The Benefits” – not only does this sound, shall we say, cheesy, it’s also ineffective. This sentence has little sense of urgency. A call to action like this can be condensed down to “Download Brand™ Now!” or even “Free Brand™!” or “Free Report!” Never be afraid to add a sense of urgency to your ads, even though the product research-to-purchase cycle may be several weeks or months long.
Often, I create a CTA in two words: my one-word desired action and a timeline. For example, “Buy Now”, “Download Today,” or even “View Now!”
4) Highlight Deals or Sales
This is a no-brainer. Did you know that you can take “Buy our Amazing Product Today and Get Free Shipping!” down to “Free Shipping on Widget”? Is there a limited-time offer? Consider “Sale ends 12/31!”
Does your item have a price point? Consider adding that information to the headline. The up-front statement can help boost CTR in the long run (and the people who do click with full knowledge of the price are more likely to convert). However, some words of caution: if you know that your competitors have better prices, or the prices you post are a longshot for the user (let’s say you have a name-your-own-price or travel site), leave them out. There’s nothing worse than a misleading ad!
5) Limit Punctuation
Did you know that spaces are part of your 25-35-35 character limits? So are all kinds of punctuation and numbers. Don’t be afraid to use abbreviations and acronyms where appropriate. Another thing to consider when using these tactics is your audience. Does your audience know that ROI stands for ‘return on investment’ or that JDK stands for ‘Java Development Kit’? Punctuation at the end of a phrase or sentence is also something that can save you a character or two. Is a period necessary? Should there be an exclamation point instead? Another trick I like to use involves the use of plural nouns. You can save quite a bit of space by creating your ad in the singular – those S’s can add up.
– Julie Vera, Account Coordinator

1 S Wacker Drive
Suite 2250

Chicago, IL 60606(650) 539-4124


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