How to Use Google Adwords Ad Customizers to Improve Your Conversion Rate


Imagine for a moment that you’re managing multiple Adwords campaigns for your company…

You’ve got an amazing sale going on for widgets and really want to push your red widgets at the new year…

You want to create a limited time “countdown” ad, but also let customers know how many red widgets are in stock before they disappear for good…

What’s more, you need to be able to adjust the price on the fly to determine the best price point that drives the most conversions and sales.

The good news is that you can do all these things dynamically using Google Adwords Ad Customizers.

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What are Ad Customizers?

As the name implies, ad customizers allow you to dynamically insert specific details from a feed. The benefits from doing this are two-fold: You vastly improve the relevance of your ads (and thus your quality score), and your visitors get exactly what they want with less barriers to purchase. It’s a win-win.

Ad customizers go well beyond things like color or style. If you only want to make minor changes to an ad or ad group, you may be better served by dynamic keyword insertion. But for deeper, more meaningful customization, ad customizers are a better option. With them, you can dynamically adjust things like:

• Color
• Size
• Inventory/stock details (Only X left!)
• Pricing
• Countdowns (days, hours, etc.)
• Seasonal sales, discounts, events

Google’s own examples of what can be replaced to more precisely target customer searches:



The great thing about ad customizers is that you’re in complete control of managing the process and what information gets pulled. This gives you unprecedented flexibility in focusing in on and targeting precisely what your audience is looking for—right down to the granular level.

So how do you use them?

Using Ad Customizers Successfully

Ad customizers are made up of parameters which are inside braces {like this}. Each parameter includes two parts: the data sheet reference and the column reference.

An example of an ad customizer parameter.

An example of an ad customizer parameter.


The data sheet is a spreadsheet that you can download here. In it, you’ll see several columns, including price, text, date and number. These columns tell Google how to format the data you set.

Countdowns work a bit differently, since time zones get thrown into the mix—and the last thing you want to do is anger visitors who think they’re getting the deal on time but are too late. You can also use countdowns to set a one-time event, or multiple events.

Ad customizers also give you the option to specify a language, so you can target ads internationally if you wish.

For large accounts or multiple campaigns, you can save hours of time simply by copying and pasting the relevant data-pulls into your ads. The template uses sample data which you can replace with your own information. You’ll then need to fill in the appropriate attributes depending on what you want to promote.

For example, your spreadsheet might look like this:


As you can see from the example, you can mix and match different ad customizer parameters to create a unique, time-sensitive or inventory-sensitive ad that stokes that all-important urgency fire that your visitors may have in trying to find the best product for the lowest price.

Now, what’s the point of going through all this trouble when you could’ve just spent that time creating the ads themselves? This is where ad customizers really pull their weight.

Each time you change and re-upload the spreadsheet, the ads change automatically. So if you need to swap out prices, countdown events, color or number available (to name a few), you can simply make that change on the spreadsheet once, re-upload it, and have your changes reflected across all of the ads in that particular group.

And your edited ad would look like this:

An example of ad customizers using spreadsheet data.

An example of ad customizers using spreadsheet data.


The finished example that the customer will see (minus highlighting)

The finished example that the customer will see (minus highlighting)


Uploading Your File to Adwords and Launching Your Ads

Save your newly created spreadsheet as .xls, .xlsx, .csv or .tsv. Don’t use any spaces in the filename, and name it something that makes it clear to you what it is. The filename is what you’ll be referring to when you insert the actual ad customizers into your ad, which is what will come next.

To find your ad customizer upload area, simply log in to your account, navigate to Shared Data and choose Business Data. Click the +DATA and choose Ad Customizer Data.

It should be noted that Google requires you to add a standard text ad to any group with ad customizers, otherwise they won’t run. The text ad is a sort of failsafe panic button that loads if for some reason your ad customizers don’t work.

It’s also important to be mindful of character limits, since any descriptions or customizers that fall outside these limits won’t work either (even if the information being pulled will ultimately fall within limits).

As with all Adwords management tools, you can pause campaigns and view the performance of your ad customizers just as you would any ads or groups. Even when a certain ad’s customization is triggered (such as a countdown timer), that ad’s performance won’t reset, so you’ll never lose valuable analytics data.

So How Can These New Features Improve Your Conversion Rate?

Just as Google Adwords revolutionized the pay-per-click market, so too are ad customizers changing the way customers interact with ads and shop online. Ad customizers essentially blur the lines between shopping and viewing ads, so all of the relevant, important details can be shared on an up-to-the-minute basis, allowing you to remain competitive with psychological triggers like countdowns, real-time inventory details and more.

(Read more about how to leverage urgency and scarcity.)

With ad customizers, text ads now have a more level playing field against shopping results. And, while there’s still work to be done, text ads are becoming increasingly more tempting to consumers to win over that click as Google delicately tries to avoid having text ads being lumped in with “banner blindness.”

Ad customizers can nab the customer at that crucial decision-making moment with the right kind of incentive. You’re going to want to split test those ads to determine which kind of incentive attracts the right kind of customer for the product or service you’re looking to promote.

Just keep in mind, when your customers click through, they need to land on a Web page that’s an exact match to the messaging in the ad. That builds trust. And it’s key to optimiznig your conversion rate.

Examples of Ad Customizers at Work

So how exactly can you put these kinds of dynamic customizations to work? Let’s say your company is hosting conferences across the east cost of the U.S. If you were to use the countdown option, someone in Chicago could see that they have two days left to attend the November 15th conference, while someone in Florida would see an “early bird” discount ad for the conference on December 1st.

Referring back to our original widgets example, if you wanted to only highlight red widgets in your ads, you could create a single ad group with multiple ad customizers promoting red widgets, including seasonality, number left in inventory, number of models you sell, discounts available and more. One ad group—many possibilities.

Perhaps the best thing about ad customizers beyond their flexibility is how much time they’ll save. Taking the time to create ad customizers and plan out promotional strategies that leverage them might sound like a lot of work in the beginning, but it has huge potential to pay off in terms of click-throughs and conversion rates.

Are There Any Downsides to Using Ad Customizers?

At the moment, the only major issue with using ad customizer is the need to consistently update the spreadsheet for every change you want to make. That means if you need to update prices regularly, you’ll want to upload the spreadsheet accordingly.

If customers click your ads only to find that the deal you’re promoting isn’t available or the item you’re looking for is suddenly out of stock, it will not only cause your conversion rate to plummet, but will also leave a poor impression of your brand overall. So if you come away with nothing else learned from using ad customizers, remember this: Stay on top of that spreadsheet!

Also, because ad customizers are still relatively new, the parameters are still fairly limited. But remember that this is just as much an experiment for Google as it is for PPC managers and business owners. Don’t be surprised if the popularity of ad customizers leads to more parameters being created in the future.

Right now, the thing most people seem to be excited about (and rightfully so) is the countdown option. But don’t be complacent about what parameters and options you choose. Break out of the box a bit and experiment with creative that encourage visitors to learn more at every step of the buying process.

Have You Used Ad Customizers? What are Your Thoughts?

How has your experience been with using ad customizers? What do you think about the use of this dynamic technology in your pay per click advertising? Share your thoughts and perspective with us below in the comments!

Read other Crazy Egg posts by Gary Victory.

The post How to Use Google Adwords Ad Customizers to Improve Your Conversion Rate appeared first on The Daily Egg.

The Daily Egg


Supercharge your Adwords Ads with Ad Customizers


Supercharge your Adwords Ads with Ad Customizers

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For a while you’ve been able to add clever things like stock levels and live pricing messages to your ad text in Adwords without the need to manually update your ads each time. Going back a couple of years you were able to do it through the use of a feed and dynamic parameters. For several months now it’s also been possible to utilise an Adwords Script combined with ad parameters to do this job for you. While effective, there’s the issue that unless you’re comfortable with coding, the barrier to entry for these methods can be a little high (not to mention scary).

Enter Ad Customizer.

Ad Customizer is a relatively recent release by Google that allows you to drop in custom parameters and is much easier to set up than a script. There’s still a little bit of code involved, but the setup is very similar to Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) which many of you will have been using for years. Have any of you used the {param} feature in Bing where you can specify 2 {params} per keyword that can be dropped into the ad? It’s like that, but on steroids.

What can you use it for? A whole hose of things – in short, for anything you’d like to drop into an ad (characters permitting). Some examples:

  • Product Name
  • Brand
  • Price
  • Discounts
  • Stock Levels
  • Countdown

You can also apply Ad Customizers across campaigns, ad groups and keywords, so it’s very flexible. You can also combine them and feature multiple parameters in a single ad. As long as you’ve uploaded data, similar to how you would with a product feed, or the Bing {params}, you’re ready to get cracking.

It has the added advantage of helping your text ads stand out against Shopping ads. They’re not quite as dynamic, but the use of customised parameters will certainly help make them more eyecatching. Plus, because your initial template has already been approved, you don’t have to go through editorial each time a new change is submitted! Big bonus.


Here’s a quick example from Google, featuring the keyword “prowhip 300″ and the parameters that would be featured in its ad:

Image 1

The ad features the relevant parameter in the needed location. The first part of the customiser parameter in the {brackets}, (“Mixers”), refers to the name given to the data set you want to refer to – as you may have multiple ones uploaded at any given time – while the second, e.g. “Model”, or “Capacity”, points to the column that data is to be pulled from.

Image 2

Your live ad would look like this:

Image 3

So how do you set this up?

Create Your Data

1. Google provides an ad customizer data template here that you can edit as a starting point.

Image 6

2. To this you’d add any attributes that you’d like to feature in your ad, such as Brand, Price, Sale End date etc – within reason you can feature anything you’d like! If possible, it’s best to avoid spaces in your attribute names. Try replacing them with underscores as an alternative. Make sure that any values you populate are formulated as per Google’s spec:

Image 7

3. If you want to limit your customizations to specific parts of your account, you can populate columns F to H with campaign, ad group and keyword selections. You can remove these entirely if you like, or use different ones such as match types. You can find a full list here.

4. Once your spreadsheet is fully populated, remembering to remove the sample rows 2 and 3, you need to upload it to Adwords. Navigate to the Business Data section of your Shared Library:

Image 4

5. Once you’ve selected Data -> Ad customiser data, you can find your file and upload it.

Image 5

Create Your Ads

Key points to bear in mind before you create your customised ads:

1. You’ll need to include a standard, non-customised ad within each ad group, otherwise Adwords won’t show your customised ones.

2. As with standard DKI, you’ll need to remember how long your customised ads may end up once the parameters are dropped in – make sure you stick within Headline and Description character limits.

3. Use this format when dropping in your parameters: {=DataSetName.AttributeName} – make sure you’ve matched the attributed names exactly.

4. That’s it!


Here’s my top tip for you – if you want your ads to ONLY feature a countdown, then you don’t even need to bother with a spreadsheet. You just have to drop the countdown parameter into your ad. It looks like this:

{=COUNTDOWN(“yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm:ss” )}

If you’re running a sale that ends at 10pm on Christmas Eve, for example, you’d populate it as: {=COUNTDOWN(“2014/12/24 22:00:00″ )}

Your ad would then read like this:

Image 8

But to a user searching on the 20th December, it would read as:

Image 9

Once your Countdown only has hours and minutes left, the ad will reflect this and would say, “Hurry, It Ends In 27 Minutes!”, if that was all the time remaining.

While Countdown ads stop running once the countdown has ended, to be safe I’d suggest using an automated rule to pause the ads once the countdown has ended – just to be safe.

By default, it’s important to note that a Countdown only begins counting down from 5 days before. It is possible to change this if you’d like a longer countdown – we just have to amend the parameter slightly.

Image 10

You’ll see that in the above we’ve skipped a parameter (this covers Display Language, which we’re not going to get into but if you’d like to find out more you can in the article I link to at the end), and then dropped in the digit ‘3’. In this case it’d only begin showing my countdown once we’re three days out, but you could amend that to 10, or 20 – whatever you think will work for your campaign.

Personally I like shorter timescales best and I think the final day countdown is particularly effective – once you start counting down the hours and minutes it gives a real feeling of urgency!


In conclusion, there’s loads you can do and I hope you’re excited to go away and make the most of any sale periods I’m sure you have coming up in the next few weeks and months. At the very least, I hope you try Countdowns!

If you’d like to get more complex, Adwords help has a very indepth article showing all of the parameter options here as well as additional help material available to enable you to make the most of Ad Customizers.

If you want to use price and/or stock levels which may fluctuate frequently, bear this in mind as you’ll need to reupload your data into Adwords to reflect this. You may be best off avoiding parameters that may change more than once every day or so, in the interests of creating the best experience for your customers and also to make life easier for yourself!

Have you used Ad Customizers yet? Share your experiences and any tips in the comments below!


Arianne Donoghue is an Account Director at Home Agency. Having started off her digital career client side in 2006, she’s worked for both agencies and client side, specialising in search. She is now back agency side working on delivering digital strategy across a portfolio of clients.

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