Are Google text ads effective? How to create a high-performing one!

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

Running ads to drive traffic still works – especially through the Google ad network and relevant niche sites.

There are basically two types of ads I’d like to cover today:

Designed ads like this:

Text ads:

I can’t show you the example from my most recent campaign but basically it’s:


Sub headline


Call to action

It’s text! I never liked them and they all look the same to me. But then in April 2018 I was looking at things in Google AdWords and found that I could add images to text ads.

So I did the natural thing for us digital marketers. I ran a test.

I set a designed ad and a text ad with the same image to run against the same audience. Certainly, the designed ad would perform better! It looks much better. It took more effort and I had to pay a designer for it.

Let’s look at the numbers:

The first one is the text with image ad and the second row is the designed ad:

The text ad outperformed the designed ad by a lot. Certainly, it was shown to more people but it also had a much better click through rate (.38 to .14) and clicks cost half as much.

So who won? If we judge by looks – the design one of course. But if we judge by performance the text with image ad won – by a lot.

Text ads can only be created in the desktop version of Google AdWords. So as of this writing there’s no mobile way to do it. Of course, designed ads also can only be uploaded from desktop browsers.

Does that mean I won’t use designed ads anymore? Of course, not. But it means that I will give text ads a much bigger shot at winning. They seem to help.

It feels strange to say it – given that I don’t like them personally – their look, the feel, etc. But digital marketing is about performance and performing they do – and at a cheaper price.

Some of you might wonder if they led to sales. This wasn’t a sales campaign per se, but an awareness content marketing campaign. They seemed to drive the right audience members to the site.

How to write a good text ad

Interestingly, my wording was very similarly between the text and the designed ad. But the character restrictions for the text ad are very low. It was hard to get everything in there I wanted to say. So get to the point. Use active words. No word plays. I would love to say that it was the wording that helped, but it was so similar to the designed ad, that I can’t say the limiting character count was the deciding factor.

Overall, I’d say I was happy with the results and will try them some more.