Search
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu
true

Highlight upcoming events with countdowns

Let potential customers know about sales or special events by adding a countdown to your ad text.

Countdown customizers come in both COUNTDOWN and GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN formats. Use GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN if you're counting down to a time that's consistent globally, like the time of a sports match.

Function What it does
COUNTDOWN Counts down to a set time, adjusted to the timezone of the person searching.
GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN Counts down to a "global" time consistent with your account's timezone. If the ad says "ends in 4 hours" in California, it will also say "ends in 4 hours" in New York.

Both countdown functions count down by day, then by hour, then by minute. So a line of ad text with a countdown customizer might say "Hurry, sale ends in 3 hours," and then 2 hours and 28 minutes later say, "Hurry, sale ends in 32 minutes."

Instructions

You can set up countdowns in any text ad.

Start editing your ad

  1. Click the Ads tab.
  2. Click a text ad you want to add a countdown to, or click +AD to create a new text ad with a countdown.
  3. Fill in your ad text as usual.

Trigger the countdown widget

  1. In the place you want your countdown to appear, type a brace ( { ) and select Countdown from the drop-down menu.
  2. Beside "Countdown ends," fill in the date and time when you want your countdown to end. Put your time in a 24-hour format (optional).
    • For example, if your end time is 6:30 PM on July 14, 2017, your date would be 2017/07/14, and your time would be 18:30:00.
    • If you don’t add a specific time, it will default to midnight (00:00:00).
  3. Beside "Countdown starts," enter the number of days before your end date you want your ad to start showing. If you leave this blank, it will start showing 5 days before your end date.
    • For example, if your end time is 6:30 PM on July 14, 2017, and you want your ad to start showing 7 days before then (at 6:30 PM on July 7, 2017), you would enter "7" here.

Using countdowns in text ad

Keep in mind, countdown customizers automatically stop showing after their specified end date.

(Optional) Set time zone and language

  1. If you want customizers to show in a non-US English language, or if you want the countdown to follow a time in the ad viewer's own time zone (rather than your own time zone), click Advanced.
  2. Select Account time zone to count down to your end time in your AdWords account's time zone, or select Ad viewer's time zone to count down to your end time in the ad viewer's time zone.
    • If you're counting down to an event that happens in a specific place, like a game, talk, concert, or conference, it's a good idea to use your account time zone.
    • If you're counting down to an event that's not geographically specific (like an online sale), you can use the ad viewer's time zone.
  3. To change the language that the countdown shows, choose a language next to "Language." When you choose a new language, you'll see an example of what's displayed.

Set the countdown and save your ad

  1. Click Set to save your countdown. You'll see the countdown customizer within your ad text.
  2. Make sure your ad text will stay within the character limits when it's displayed.
  3. Click Save ad.

Examples

How countdowns look in your ad

When your ad shows with a countdown, it displays the time remaining until your end date with "days," "hours," or "mins."

2 days before end date:
 
Battersea Kayak Shack
Ad www.example.com
20% off tandem kayaks!
Sale ends in 3 days
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3 hours before end date:
 
Battersea Kayak Shack
Ad www.example.com
20% off tandem kayaks!
Sale ends in 3 hours

The default language is US English, but you can change the language (and see a preview of what that language displays) by clicking Advanced in the dialog box.

Example

The owner of the Battersea Kayak Shack in south London wants to attract attention to the end of her winter kayak sale, on February 21. She sets up a countdown within her ad text that counts down to February 21 at 6 PM (when her store closes).

Now, when someone searches for kayaks on February 18, they might see:

Battersea Kayak Shack
Ad www.example.com
20% off tandem kayaks!
Sale ends in 3 days

If someone searches for kayaks on February 21, at 10 AM, they might see:

Battersea Kayak Shack
Ad www.example.com
20% off tandem kayaks!
Sale ends in 8 hours

If someone search for kayaks on February 21 at 9 PM, this ad wouldn't show anymore (9 PM is past the countdown's end date).

You want your ad updated for recurring events

If you're promoting recurring events, like quarterly sales, you can use customizers to update the details and date on your ad without having to reset its performance statistics.

Example

Scott's kitchen store hosts a speaker series that highlights a different culinary expert each month. He wants to show an ad that counts down to when each talk is scheduled.

Since the speaker series applies to his entire store, he'll be customizing the ads in his entire account the same way. He doesn't need to include any targeting columns in his ad customizer file, which he names "Talks." Here are a few sample lines:

 

Speaker (text) Event (date)
Beverly Baker 2015/02/01 17:00:00
Karen Cook 2015/03/01 10:00:00
Shu Chef 2015/04/01 19:00:00
Nam Butcher 2015/05/01 13:00:00

 

The ad text he enters might look like this:

Scott's Kitchen Store
www.example.com
Premium Cookware and Appliances.
Meet {=Talks.Speaker} in {=COUNTDOWN(Talks.Event)}
 

When someone searches for "Mountain View appliance store", he'll see a different ad depending on when he's searching.

On January 30:

Scott's Kitchen Store
Ad www.example.com
Premium Cookware and Appliances.
Meet Beverly Baker in 2 days

 

On February 15:

No ads are running. Countdown customizers (by default) start showing their ads 5 days before the end time.

 

On April 1, at 5 p.m.:

Scott's Kitchen Store
Ad www.example.com
Premium Cookware and Appliances.
Meet Shu Chef in 2 hours

If you know which promotions you have coming up, using a countdown customizer this way can save a ton of time.

You want to count down to a one-time event

If you're promoting a one-time event, you can take advantage of a countdown customizer without needing to upload any ad customizer data.

Example

Scott's Kitchen Store will be the first in the area to offer a much-anticipated new model of stand mixers, the ProWhip X. Scott's going to unveil the ProWhip X at his store on the morning of October 20th, and wants to set up ads that count down to the event.

To do this, he doesn't need to create a separate data file. He can put the date of the event directly in the ad text he writes:

 

ProWhip Stand Mixers
www.example.com
Large Selection of ProWhip Mixers.
ProWhip X premieres in {=COUNTDOWN("2014/10/20 09:00:00")}
 

If someone sees his ad on October 18 (two days before the event), it would look like this:

ProWhip Stand Mixers
Ad www.example.com
Large Selection of ProWhip Mixers.
ProWhip X premieres in 2 days

Related links

Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?
Reach more customers with an online ad

With AdWords, you can run ads on Google to stand out on local searches. Only pay when your ad is clicked. [Learn more]

Sign Up for AdWords