Dressing to Impress: AdWords Style

Greg Kihlström

Google AdWords is most commonly known as a time-tested platform for online paid advertising. While some find the barrier to entry quite difficult due to the vast number of elements included in implementing a campaign or ad group, planning a successful paid search campaign is possible with a fundamental understanding of the elements that create the advertisements themselves.

Just as every woman or man has their staple black dress or blue suit, which is typically paired with an accessory or two, an AdWords advertisement also has it’s staple piece which is accompanied by accessories that are necessary to address before displaying the ad to the public. The staple piece is known as the Description, where the Headline, URL, and Landing Page, are the accessories that are necessary to meet the AdWords dress code, or in-other-words, Google’s Best Practices.  

Before getting into the details of an advertisement’s staple piece or accessories, it’s important to note Google’s recently announced full switch to expanded text ads which includes an increase in the amount of characters and content an advertisement can feature. With the new expanded text ads, users are reporting an average click through rate increase of 28 percent, which is great news for advertisers. With more space than ever to communicate with customers, dress your ads to impress with the following tips for each part of your ad.


Writing a good headline can be the most important part of creating a successful AdWords campaign. The headline is the classic accessory that enhances the main body text of your campaign. Since Google AdWords now allows each campaign to have two separate 30-character headlines, you’ll need to pick out your two best accessories and make sure they match. In your your first headline, the goal should be to introduce the most important aspect of the advertisement which can be your company, a new promotion, product, or service.

The second section of the headline should further enhance your first headline, but just like with accessories, it shouldn’t add too much that it overshadows the rest of your outfit, or advertisement. Don’t forget to add important keywords to your headline as well, since keywords work to ensure the right customers see your ads.

The addition of an outfit accessory, like a classic pair of earrings or tie, should draw people in and your headline should do the same thing for your ad. Potential customers see millions of advertisements each day so it’s important to have that spark to draw them in and ensure they continue reading or even better, click on your ad.

Description Line

The description line in your advertisement is the black dress or classic suit itself. This line should include further information that supports Headlines 1 and 2, and should include a call to action. In previous years, the description line has been separated into 2 different lines. However, with Google’s expanded text ads, this is now one line that has an 80-character limit, where you can showcase the details that will make users want to click on your ad and learn more about your company, product, or service.

A staple in your wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring. Be sure the description line has a slight twist that features a call to action or details that will entice the customer. With more space, there is no reason to leave this out. Not to mention, the description can have the ability to make the difference between a shapeless and sleek, sophisticated dress or suit.


Just like the shoes of an outfit, the URL is sometimes overlooked when planning advertisements. But, don’t just throw your website’s URL in the space provided. With two new path options for URLs, the link can include keywords that will drive your ad to the top of more searches and ultimately drive more customers to your website.

Everyone knows you can’t pick out your shoes before your outfit so when it comes to choosing a URL make sure it matches the rest of your advertisement and keywords.

Landing Page

The last element of a Google AdWords campaign is the landing page. The landing page is where the URL will take you and, just like matching your outfit to your destination, the landing page has to match the URL and the rest of the text in your ad. If you were to wear a bathing suit to a wedding, everyone at the wedding would be confused, just like your users would be confused if the landing page didn’t match the advertisement’s message.

If you are placing a general ad for your company, it may make sense to direct users to the homepage of your website. But, don’t let potential customers get lost. If you are advertising a big sale or a certain aspect of your work, take advantage of the ability to be specific and send customers right where they need to be on your website.


Remember that when dressing up your advertisement, it’s important to ensure that you have all of the correct pieces and that they all match. If you don’t leave the house without your headline, description, URL, and landing page, and you’ll be good to go. In ensuring that your pieces and accessories match, you could very well be on your way to the best dressed list.

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Greg Kihlström
Greg Kihlström
SVP Digital