Taking Advantage of AdWords IF Functions

By Tony Park | Jul 13, 2017
More Articles by Tony


Since the dawn of smartphone and tablet browsers, the web has become increasingly more accommodating to mobile users. Elements like page load speed and responsive design have been at the forefront of SEO, web development and design for a long time. Now, paid search platforms are getting the hint that there may be an opportunity to use this new trend to the advantage of advertisers.

Last October, Google announced a new feature for search ads that allows advertisers to alter the elements of extended text ads, depending on which device category a user is searching on or which AdWords audience they belong to.  This dynamic feature comes to us in the form of “AdWords IF Functions”, which can be applied to the headline, description or paths of text ads on the search network.

In this post, I share how ‘IF Functions’ can be used to take your AdWords creative to the next level.

What are “IF Functions”?

If you have delved past the shallow end of Excel or have tried to learn a programming language, then you have most likely heard about or learned IF functions. An IF function is a conditional statement. If a statement is true, then perform a certain action. If the statement is false, perform a different action.

  • IF (me=hungry), then eat food!AdWords If Functions
  • IF (hour > 18), then set greeting=’Good Evening!’

Let’s say we are advertising a paid mobile game, ‘AstroBlaster’ on the Search Network. With AdWords IF functions, advertisers are able to create a conditional statement that says, IF(a user is on a mobile device), make our Headline 2 display, “Download The App Here” (If the user is not on a mobile device) default to our original text, “Available on iPhone or Android”.

Advertisers can also create IF functions for users in an audience list. For example, let’s say you want to give a special offer to members in the audience who have visited your app download page but did not actually reach the app download confirmation page. An ad using this IF function might look something like this: IF(a user is in our <App Download Page Visitors (No Download)> audience list), make our Headline 2 display, “Get 50% Off AstroBlaster Today” (If the user is not in our <App Download Page Visitors (No Download)> audience list) default to our original text, “Download AstroBlaster for $5.99

It’s even possible to use both IF functions in the same ad. Imagine in our scenario, a user that has previously visited the app’s download page and is currently on their smartphone. It’s likely that this customer is more willing to convert now more than ever. With IF functions, we are able to combine both conditional statements to increase our chances.

For example, Headline 1 could contain the function IF(a user is in our <App Download Page Visitors> list) display the text, “Get 50% Off AstroBlaster Today” and Headline 2 could contain IF(a user on a mobile device) display the text, “Download The App Here“. Below is an example of what the user would see. This allows our ads to be even more dynamic and craft specific messages to particular audiences. It is important to note that you cannot stack IN audience IF functions with customized elements for each audience in the same ad.

adwords if functions

Take Advantage of AdWords IF Functions

Apps like ‘AstroBlasters’ aren’t the only products that can take advantage of AdWords IF Functions – any product or service can! Now, advertisers have more of a reason to create multiple lists in their AdWords accounts. Each list can have its own messaging or call-to-action. Each ad can have its own “mobile version” copy. Once you sit down and experiment with AdWords IF functions, you will quickly realize the possibilities are endless.

Personally, I cannot wait to see the features that PPC platforms will deliver in the future. I can imagine a slightly uncanny advertising environment wherein names, personalized messages and favorite colors are dynamically generated in ads. In a way, AdWords IF functions are a gentle step closer to that reality, and it’s a shame most advertisers are not taking advantage of them.

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