The Mechanics of a Google Text Ad

A Google text ad is one of the simplest forms of digital advertising. A text ad uses only text to communicate a message or idea.

Because text ads are so simple, it can hard to create ones that are effective. The first step to crafting a Google text ad that works is to understand exactly what they are. Here are the mechanics of a Google text ad.

Ad Headline – The Most Important Feature of the Ad

The ad headline is the first line of text in a Google ad, and also the most important.


An ad headline gives you 25 characters to works. That means you have to make sure your ad headline is to the point.

In search engine marketing, your ads are targeted by user search queries. When a user search’s for something in Google, your ad is triggered by targeting a keyword that matches the users search.

Try to include the target keyword in your ad headline if possible. For example, the ad shown above was triggered when I searched for “search engine marketing.”


Notice how Google has tailored their ad to match my search query exactly? By mentioning the target keyword in your ad headline, your ad is responding directly to a user search.

Display URL – Where Your Sending Traffic

Ok, so you’re not actually sending traffic to this url, but users will see this and have an idea of where their going. The display url is shown below the ad headline and can support up to 35 characters.


What makes the display url unique is that its customizable. You always have to include the domain where your landing page lives, but you’re able to customize the slug.

The display url may seem not as important as other parts of the ad, but don’t blow it off. It can have a strong cognitive effective on a user trying to choose which ad is right for them. Because you can customize the display url slug, try to include the keyword if possible.

Again, by including the target keyword, you can improve your odds of increasing ad rank and lowering cost-per-click.

Ad Text Lines – The Heart of Your Ad

Here’s where you get to have some fun. You have two text lines at 35 characters a piece to tell users why they should click.


You want your text lines to be as clear and concise as possible. Avoid using passive voice or adverbs in the text lines, they’ll only take away from a compelling offer.

It’s also good practice to include a call to action somewhere in the text lines. I prefer to use it at the end of the message because it adds a little oomph before the user is finished digesting your ad.

In the example above, Google’s call-to-action is “Learn More Now”. This is a great example – they’re telling the audience what to do and when to do it.


I know I sound like a broken record, but include your target keywords in the text line when possible. This is the easiest place to include a targeted keyword because you have a lot of characters to work with.

Ad Extensions – The Icing on the Cake

You’re not required to use ad extensions in your Google text ads. But if you don’t, you’re missing out on a powerful ad feature. Ad extensions are shown all around your ad depending on which extensions you use.


Google gives ad extensions a lot of weight when considering who ranks where and pays what in the ad auction. Using them can increase ad position, lower cost-per-click and boost your ad’s click-through-rate.

The ad extensions I’ve highlighted above are both manual ad extensions and automated ad extensions. Manual ad extensions are created by you, while automated are generated by Google. Both help your ad’s perform better.

The Google Text Ad Breakdown

These are the basic mechanics of a Google Text ad. Now that you know what they are and best practices for each, you can start your journey to mastering the craft.