Structuring a Google Ad

The following is intended as a brief, rough guide for my clients to assist them with their thinking around what they need to provide when creating ads for a Google Ads campaign.

As such it is not intended as a definitive, or complete reference.

Ads are only part of the equation. Ads sit within ad groups that have keywords assigned to them. In turn, those ads get triggered depending upon the search terms a user enters. So there will be some other, brief, related posts covering these aspects to follow.


This is how you enter the following details within the Google Ads dashboard.

The Headline

A crucial part of any ad is the headline. It might hold the fewest characters, but each one is vital to grab a user’s attention. The more enticing it is the greater likelihood of a higher click-through-rate even without holding the first position.

Google now offers three headlines. One thing to note, however, is that the third headline is not guaranteed to show. It’s typically reserved only for those ads that hold the top spots in a search, so keep that in mind when creating your ad.

Number of headlines required for each ad: 3
Headline character limit: 30

The Description

While the headline is the icing on the cake, the description is the cake itself. Here, a more expansive message is relayed, giving details or additional offers. As above, Google recently added a second description. However, it too isn’t guaranteed to show in every ad.

Number of descriptions required for each ad: 2
Description character limit: 90

This is how the ad above will appear on mobile.
And this is how that ad will appear on desktop/tablet.

The Extensions

Just as it sounds, these extensions give the ad more opportunity to convert the user. Not only do they help with quality scores, but the more extensions there are, the larger the ad grows, pushing the competition further down the page. Some examples of ad extensions include:

Call Extension

Displays a phone number, allowing people to call directly from the ad. That offers convenience to those not wanting or willing to visit your site to call. Essential.

Sitelink Extension

Allows additional links to be included with the ad, leading the user to additional pages on the website.

Callout Extension

It is excellent for either highlighting text you want to stand out or which might not fit within the headline or description. Callout extensions do not include a link and have limited characters available.

Structured Snippet Extension

Create a list from a predetermined header that will help the customer discover more details about your products or services.

Price Extension

Showcase prices of certain items available for sale. That helps attract those users that are in the buying-phase.

Location Extension

Link up with Google My Business and allow potential customers to view your location and receive directions to your place of business. Creating a location extension will also make you eligible to receive store visits.

An example of a mobile ad with call & sitelink extensions enabled.
As above, but displayed on desktop/tablet.

A note a about character limit

You should try to get as close to the limit as you’re able. Overly short headlines or descriptions are not helpful. The page on your site that the ads point to should have relevant keywords and copy – the same ones you’re using in your ads.