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Create Effective Text Ads: Google Best Practices

Test and optimize creatives

Well-written ad creative starts out as great only in theory. It’s important to establish a robust process for testing text ads.

Test and iterate your ad creative

You can learn about your users’ preferences and improve your performance by honing ad text, especially your headlines. Below are some tips to establish a testing framework that’s manageable and repeatable:

  • Be organized. Use AdWords labels. Something as simple as a calendar can help you to keep a schedule. Document start and end times.
  • Establish a testing threshold and stick to it. Wait until you have served enough impressions to be confident in your results.
  • Limit how many elements you test within your ads. Make different variations similar enough that you learn from their differences.


One great way to stay on top of your ad testing is with campaign drafts and experiments. Experiments help you measure your results to understand the impact of your changes before you apply them to a campaign.

Learn what works for you, and keep track of the findings. Don’t repeat tests that you completed six months ago. Test with purpose. Like they taught you in science class in high school: establish a hypothesis; prove or disprove that hypothesis; document results; test again.

And remember this as well: Implement 3-5 ads per ad group. The more ads that are present in an ad group, the more options you’ll have for success in an auction.

Focus your testing efforts on high-value campaigns

It’s important to prioritize your testing efforts on the places that matter most. Think about areas of your account that drive a lot of volume or value for you. You can also focus on ad groups that would benefit the most from a new set of ad creative.

Optimize your ad rotation to prefer the best performing ads

AdWords offers a couple of different ad rotation settings:

  • Optimize: Prefer the best performing ads
  • Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely

While there are use cases for each option, the recommended approach is to optimize. This option automatically rotates in the creative that is projected to perform the best in each auction. An optimized rotation can improve both your competitiveness and your bottom line.

If you'd like to prioritize conversions, the best way is to use Smart Bidding. Smart Bidding helps you tailor your bids based on the likelihood of a conversion, and will choose the ad most likely to drive that conversion. Note that if you’re using Smart Bidding, AdWords will automatically use the “optimize” ad rotation.

If you choose to rotate indefinitely it’s important to stay on top of your tests. Every impression that an underperforming ad receives is a missed opportunity, and those opportunities cost you money.

Ultimately, when you’re deciding the outcome of ad tests, you can use a combination of performance stats like CTR and conversion rate along with percent served. Looking at CTR alone can be misleading. If the system is showing an ad more often than another, it can mean that it’s better at winning impressions in the auction itself, which is often a strong reason to prefer that creative over others.


Your ad text represents your brand to consumers who search on It’s important to get the messaging right. Write ads that connect with people as they search.



Now that you've learned how to create effective text ads, check out our guide about creating effective mobile ads.


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