What is 'They Ask, You Answer'?

A revolutionary approach to driving more sales from your inbound marketing.

Learn MoreLearn More

Free Courses in IMPACT+

Dozens of sales, marketing, and content courses inside IMPACT+. Start learning now.

See all coursesSee all courses
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership

Services Overview

See how you can dramatically increase your inbound leads and sales.

Services Overview

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Fast track your team’s success with IMPACT's most popular service.

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Web Design

Launch a beautiful website that consistently generates leads and revenue.

Web Design

Virtual Sales Training

Equip your sales team with comprehensive training designed to help them close more deals in today's virtual-first world.

Virtual Sales Training

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Train your company to take ownership of HubSpot and get the most out of your investment.

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Case Studies

See dozens of examples of companies succeeding with Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery and They Ask, You Answer.

Case Studies
Become a Certified Coach
Become a Certified Coach

The only Google Ads copywriting formulas you'll ever need

The only Google Ads copywriting formulas you'll ever need Blog Feature

Jason Linde

Google Ads Lead, Paid Media Specialist, 5+ Years Experience Creating PPC Strategies, 20+ Years of Digital Marketing Expertise

June 26th, 2020 min read

So, there I was — a digital marketer thrust into a world of paid media advertising and I was just handed my first big budget Google Ads client. 

I was hungry. I was ready. 

I had done all I could to learn my new craft and was excited to start blending the best of these worlds together.

I just knew I was going to be more successful from the others before me and with the added bonus of being a digital marketer my ads were going to stand out. 

My ads were going to be unique, creative, and thought provoking. My new client was going to just love them and me and we were going to make a ton of money together. The end. 

At least, I wish that were true. 

Unfortunately, when the day came where I was asked how our ads were doing, I was completely mortified at the results. 

At first I didn’t know what the issue was, but from the initial results we reviewed, we were able to determine that people were looking at my ads, but just straight up ignoring anything I had to say. How rude!

OK, confession time. 

Remember back when I mentioned that I did everything I could to learn my craft? Well that is still 100% accurate except I chose to ignore the science side of paid advertising and lean into my artsy side. 

I mean, after all, we’re only given a small number of characters on search engine results pages (SERPs), so we have to make them count and bedazzle our ads to make them pop, right? 


My copywriting wasn’t working. My target audience didn’t know what exactly I wanted them to do or what to expect from clicking my ads. I was overly vague and fluffy, and I had effectively sabotaged my ads without evening knowing it. 

🔎 Related: Ultimate Google Ads getting started guide

Simple mistakes like I made could end up holding you back from getting the results you and your client are looking for. That's why today, I want to share with you my top five Google Ad copywriting formulas that will help you nail your next campaign.

The biggest swing and miss of ad copywriting

Before we jump into any sort of formulas, we need to get an understanding on what makes for bad ad copy.  

The biggest offender of all is that you miss your searcher's intent

You have gone to general, become passive in your tone, or have shown up to the SERP party with the wrong ad context trying to force conversations searchers just are not ready for. I know, it all can seem so bleak.

Let’s take a quick look at how this can play out.

Say I want to know what the best (customer relationship management) CRM is in 2020 and search “best CRM 2020.” 

I want to know this because I am considering moving into a new CRM platform and want to know who I should be considering as options. 

(And yes, I wanted to stress that the importance of my search intent was around consideration. This is where I am at in my journey — my intent — and it is key to how I feel about the results delivered back from Google.)

What I get as I search are two ads showing me the benefits and features of their respective tools, but what am I not getting? 

What I asked for: the “best crm.”

Who is the best? Who should I even be comparing or considering? 

These ads just aren’t what I want.  

So let’s say I run another search using the same keywords again. 

Maybe the Great Google will offer me something more in the ballpark of what I am actually looking for...

Ah, now we are getting somewhere. 

This feels more like what I wanted. 

I wasn’t ready to sign up or commit to anything as seen in the first search results that were delivered to me. I simply wanted to know who the best are in the industry, an easy starting point for my CRM journey. This isn’t speed dating after all. This second round of ads took my intent and exact words into consideration. They spoke directly to my needs. 

By not taking into consideration my intent to research who the top CRMs are in 2020 the initial set of ads were just simply wasting my time. 

The framework that first connected the dots 

Once I realized the importance of search intent and saw that my ad copy was simply failing I needed a solution fast! 

Enter MECLABS Institute

“MECLABS is dedicated to using the Web as a laboratory to gain an understanding of the factors that influence human choice. MECLABS develops robust partnerships with leading businesses and universities to conduct real-world research that continuously validates and updates our library of insights.

The smart folks at MECLABS crafted a conversion formula they were able to visualize a while back that quickly became a framework for successful ad copy creation.

MECLAB Conversion Formula

In essence what you are seeing in this formula is that the probability of you getting a conversion is primarily based on:

  • Your searchers' motivation (i.e., intent): Are they ready to buy or take that action you expect them to?
  • Your proposition: Why should they buy from you? Why do they need what you have?
  • Your incentive: What should they expect and what is the friction to obtain?
  • Anxiety: How much personal information are you asking to complete the action?

What most in the search marketing biz, including myself, took away from this was that we needed to focus on each of the elements listed above with better discipline to ensure that we are touching all angles within our ad copy and that we don’t forget any important points we are looking to achieve. 

Ultimately, what this did was help bring structure that would still allow for us to lean into our artsy side as promised. Win!

Google Ad copy formulas you say?

Just to stress this again, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to ad copywriting (womp, womp), but utilizing MECLABS conversion formula as a base structure, very specific ad copy formulas have risen to become toolbox staples when it comes to crafting ads. 

Let’s take a look at my go-to starter formulas, in no particular order. 

Keyword-focused ads

Headline 1: [Keyword]?
Headline 2: Value Prop or Incentive.
Headline 3: [Keyword] Anxiety
Display path URL/[Keyword]
Description 1:  Incentive / Anxiety Reminder
Description 2: [Benefit 1]. [Benefit 2]. [Call to Action]

This one is a go-to for me when crafting my initial set of first round ads for most clients. The main goal here is to highlight your high-value keywords within your ad copy. 

Example (keyword "Virtual Selling"):

Headline 1: Virtual Selling
Headline 2: How to Close Deals Remotely
Headline 3: Don’t Let Your Sales Stall
Display path URL/virtual-selling
Description 1: Empower your salespeople to effectively engage customers in virtual meetings & close deals!
Description 2: Contact us for delivery options of our brand-new "Virtual Selling Skills Program.

Landing page ads

Headline 1: [Headline from Your Landing Page] |
Headline 2: [Subtitle Part 1 from Your Landing Page] |
Headline 3: [Subtitle Part 2 from Your Landing Page]
Display path URL/[Keyword]
Description 1:  [First sentence from your landing page].
Description 2: [The Call To Action from Your Landing Page].

This one is fun! Pretty much with this formula you are looking to mirror your landing page copy so the searcher’s user experience is consistent  in terms of initial messaging and your call to action. 

Example (keyword "Virtual Selling"):

Headline 1: Selling and Managing Virtually 
Headline 2: Don’t Stop Building Skills
Headline 3: Be Proactive, Go Virtual
Display path URL/virtual-selling
Description 1:Virtual sales program built to provide the skills and confidence your sales people need.
Description 2: We've Trained Over 100,000 Sales Professionals in Over 35 Countries. Get Started Today! 

“Informer” ads 

As the name suggests, these ads lead with information and “inform” the viewer of something compelling. Searchers LOVE seeing numbers in ads. They really do stand out in a sea of letters. Our eyes are often drawn right to them.

Headline 1: [Surprising Statistic]
Headline 2: Anxiety (negative or positive)
Headline 3: [Your Product/Service Name].
Display path URL/[Keyword]
Description 1:  [Benefit or Features Related to Statistic].
Description 2: [Short Benefit or Features Related to Statistic]. [Call To Action].

So by capturing them right away with a quick number stat and following up with something deeper they can relate to or need your odds of winning that click skyrockets. 

Example (keyword "shopping cart abandonment"):

Headline 1: 72% Cart Abandonment
Headline 2: Stop Losing Your Revenue 
Headline 3: BizGennie 
Display path URL/cart-abandonment
Description 1: Discover high-impact personalization strategies to stop shopping cart abandonment. 
Description 2: Trusted by top retailers for 15+ years - Book a demo now.

Hyper-local ads

Now, this is great for local services and shops. 

Headline 1: [Keyword] + [Location/City]
Headline 2: [Value Prop]
Headline 3: [Location/City] & Surrounding Areas.
Display path URL/[Location]
Description 1:  We understand [State name] [Condition Related to Your Business].
Description 2: [Offer] for [Location/City] residents.

I know it seems like location overkill, but in the end remember that this is meant to have the searcher know that you are local and available. 

Find the right space to address your targeted location; it doesn’t have to be all of them.

Example (keyword "roof repair near me"):

Headline 1: Maryland’s Best Roof Repair
Headline 2: Fix Your Leaky Roof Today
Headline 3: Charm City Roofing
Display path URL/maryland-roof-repair
Description 1: Prevent further damage to your roof by calling the #1 roofing experts in Maryland today.
Description 2: Over 10 years in business - Call now.

“VIP” ads

If you really want to make the ad seem super special and catered to your target audience – possibly in an remarketing list for search ads (RLSA) campaign — this is the formula for you. 

Headline 1: For [What Your Target Audience Calls Themselves] Only
Headline 2: [Your Product / Service Name]
Headline 3: [Benefits]. [Benefits].
Display path URL/[What Your Target Audience Calls Themselves]
Description 1:  [Keyword] by /[What Your Target Audience Calls Themselves] for /[What Your Target Audience Calls Themselves].
Description 2: We are [Keyword] Experts. [Call to Action].

Mention your target audience directly by your tribe’s name.

This adds that personal touch and sense of community that immediately connects with your searcher. Having that trust gives you the extra hand over your competing ads. 

Example (keyword "faux fur rugs"):

Headline 1: For Our Wolfpack Only
Headline 2: Save An Extra 15% Today
Headline 3: Animal Inspired Faux Fur Rugs
Display path URL/wolfpack-special
Description 1: Bring your adventurous side into everyday life with our latest faux-fur rugs. 
Description 2: This sale ends June 20th - Hurry while they last!

Remember that these are baseline formulas that should be paired with MECLABS conversion formula while you’re off homebrewing your next round of ad copy. 

The journey is always going to be from A to B for your target audience. It's about connecting on their intent and eliminating friction. Yep, all in as little amount of characters as possible. Thanks Google!  

What next?

I know, I know, you are all wondering whatever did happen with the client I mentioned above? 

Well, the honest answer: It took me some time to get it right, but after discovering what I have shared with you above, I was able to adjust the way I approached ad copywriting and diligently worked towards rolling out new ad copy with a lot of testing ads waiting in the wings. 

I am happy to report searchers weren’t ignoring my ads anymore and that client turned out to be one of my most successful in my early years.

 [Insert roar of the crowd!]

By taking advantage of the formulas above along with my testing framework, I was able to concentrate more on the other fun aspects of paid advertising which in turn helped scale faster for my client and the others that ended up following after. 

No matter which formula or formulas you find fit your ad copy needs best, remember to test, test, and keep on testing. This is my last ask from you. 

Without testing your copy, you are simply not improving your results! I can not stress this enough. Test with a purpose and get your messaging right.

You will want to learn and understand what makes your searchers feel good about clicking on your ads that will continue to help you improve your ad performance. 

A simple little framework that helps me with my testing looks something like this:

  • Labeling: Reminding me of my ad intent.
  • Scheduling: Keeping my ad run times in check
  • Setting my testing thresholds: Having enough people looking at my ads to be confident in my results.
  • Limit my testing elements: I always want to make sure that I am keeping my variations similar enough to learn.
  • Keep track: Find a way to keep track of your testing so you don’t end up repeating the same test twice. 

If you have questions or concerns or want to share your Google Ad copy experiences, hit me up on IMPACT Elite. I would love to have a conversation or help in any way I can.

Want to learn more about digital sales and marketing?

Master digital sales and marketing when you join IMPACT+ for FREE. Gain instant access to exclusive courses and keynotes taught by Marcus Sheridan, Brian Halligan, Liz Moorehead, Ann Handley, David Cancel, Carina Duffy, Zach Basner, and more.

Sign up for free
Take a peek

Access hundreds of FREE courses and keynotes

Free Course
Digital Sales & Marketing Framework for Today’s Buyers
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
A New Way to Compete & Win
By: Brian Halligan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
How To Genuinely Feel Confident, Be Likable, And Build Trust On Camera
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Future of Marketing is Conversational​
By: David Cancel
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
HubSpot On a Budget: Getting Started with HubSpot Starter Hubs
By: Courtney Caldwell
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Assignment Selling: Content is Your Greatest Sales Tool
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Big, Bold, Brave New World of Marketing​
By: Ann Handley
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Investing in Incredible Digital Sales and Marketing Results
By: Chris Duprey
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
How To Show Your Content Makes Money With HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
The Visual Sale
By: Marcus Sheridan & Tyler Lessard
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Marketing Tech: What’s Now, What’s Near and What’s Not Anytime Soon?​
By: Dharmesh Shah
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Inbound Lead Generation & Conversion Optimization
By: Carina Duffy
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
Fundamentals of Videography: You Can Be a Great Videographer Too
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
The Ultimate Customer Service Toolkit for Any Budget
By: Andriti Gulati
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
6 Topics Subject Matter Experts Need to Address
By: Kevin Phillips
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Fanocracy: The Power of Making Business Personal​
By: David Meerman Scott
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Power of Pillar Content
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
SEO for the Future
By: Franco Valentino
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing
By: Stephanie Baiocchi
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
A Practical Guide To Video Graphics
By: Colton Trcic
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Session
How To Get Your Community To Know, Like, And Trust You With Video
By: Marki Lemons Rhyal
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Video Sales and Marketing Strategy
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Here Are Some Related Articles You May Find Interesting

Want to Contribute Content to impactplus.com? Click Here.

A FREE online learning community with on-demand courses, hundreds of expert-led sessions, thousands of your peers ready to support you, and much more.
Check it out
Hundreds of courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE
Check it out
Access hundreds of digital sales and marketing courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE