By James Carswell

Recently, Google announced an exciting new AdWords feature that will be rolling out to all accounts globally over the next few weeks. Ad Customisers is the first of a new range of tools that Google will be providing over the next few months to help us manage large accounts.

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Ad Customizers allows us to make changes to ads automatically and on a huge scale. Lets start by going over the details of how they work.

How do Ad Customisers work?

Google explain this in detail here, so read through that before you start. Essentially, you will create an ad customizer data sheet in .csv format with all the necessary information, upload it to your AdWords account in the new Business Data section of the Shared Library and then finally adjust your ad text to include the ad customiser parameters.

What can Ad Customisers do?

Use ad customisers to make sure that your ad copy is always accurate and displaying the most relevant information. Placeholders in your ads will be used to update them using information provided by the spreadsheet that you upload to AdWords. There are lots of ways you could make use of this, including the following:

  • Countdown to the end of a sale e.g. Hurry, sale ends in xx days.
  • Update concert information for a venue with the band & date e.g. Next show: XXXXX on XXXXX.
  • Keep pricing in ads updated e.g. New Android tablets from only £xxx.
  • Detail the range of your offering e.g. xxx UK hotels available to book now.
  • Keep discounts up to date e.g. Save xx% on car hire using code XXXXX.

Here are some possibilities that Google have offered:

Couldn't we do this already?

Yes and no.

We have been doing much of these kinds of dynamic ad changes for years using the AdWords API (application programming interface), but ad customisers comes with a couple of crucial advantages.

  1. If we wanted to update non-numerical information in ads in the past, this would have to be done by deleting and re-creating the ad (though this could be automated using the API). A new ad starts with no history and therefore this has implications for quality score. The quality score for the ad will start again from scratch so there may be some short term drop in performance (reduced ad position and CTR, increased CPC for instance).With ad customisers, the ad isn't really changed - the ad contains a placeholder that dynamically inserts the price, rather than containing the price itself, so there's no deleting the old ad and creating a new one. This means that the ad's history remains and there isno immediate impact on quality score.
  2. Ad Parameters, an API feature, will allow us to dynamically update our ads without deleting and re-creating them, BUT crucially it only allows us to update the ads with numerical information (including prices). Ad customisers on the other hand allows us to dynamically change anything - numbers or text.

Note that while Ad Parameters is only available via the API, ad customisers is only available via manual file upload in the AdWords interface. We hope that there will be more flexibility in how we can use and update these features in the future.

Get to work!

We're really excited about ad customisers; being able to dynamically adjust our ad text, at scale, without deleting and replacing ads is a fantastic improvement. It will make building and managing large scale campaigns much easier and has the potential to massively improve performance.

Have a think about how you could use these in your current campaigns. Maybe you're doing something similar already, maybe you have some great new ideas. In any case, before you start check to see if ad customizers are available to you yet. They are being rolled out globally across all accounts over the next few weeks. If you don't see them yet (check the Business Data section of the Shared Library and see if you can add ad customizer data), keep checking back. Good luck, and if you have any questions, get in touch.

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