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How to use AdWords IF functions4 min read

4 min read

Earlier this year, Google rolled out AdWords IF functions. This offers the advertiser more control and allows them the ability to further tailor their ads for the searcher – right down to how they perform their search.

How it works

Text ads that make use of an IF function statement have the ability to change their ad copy. This will depend on a number of variables defined by the advertiser and can vary depending on the desired focus – either focusing on users within a predefined audience list within AdWords, or focusing on the device on which a user is performing their search.

This opens up a whole world of opportunity to the advertiser and promotes better engagement between them and the consumer. By using IF functions you are better equipped to entice back basket abandoners, by offering exclusive promotions to your client, such as special free delivery offers. This will in turn encourage more mobile users with CTAs such asTap Here To Order From Your Mobile . By making your ads as relevant to your audience as possible, the potential to increase revenue streams are endless.

Why you should tailor your ad copy

By tailoring ad copy – even ever so slightly- to the searcher, you can drastically increase your overall click-through rate and performance. This can prove to be incredibly beneficial in a number of ways relating to KPIs such as leads, quotes, orders and more.

The most compelling draw to using IF functions is equipping the user with better control and instilling a confidence that assures them of having the most relevant and appealing ads over their client’s competitors.

Example IF function ads


IF functions can be inserted anywhere within a text ad – headline, description, anywhere other than the URL (we sense more updated IF function opportunities later in the year…). Where you put them in your ads will depend on your client, or indeed your personal experience. If your searchers within your relevant market only look at headlines, insert the IF function there for maximum impact.

Currently, IF function ads can only be used on the Search Network itself. They use the same principle as ad customisers in the sense of altering an ad’s copy depending on a predetermined parameter, but don’t rely on a feed in the same way. Instead, they use the parameters you set within the ad itself – making them super easy to setup and deploy.

What if your IF function breaks?

If, for whatever reason, your IF function ad breaks, Google has all bases covered – an ad group with an IF function ad must also have another ad without, to use as a backup. Therefore, no matter what happens within your IF function, Google always has another ad to show to make sure you’re always visible for searches.

Device or audience?

IF functions can be written both offline in Editor and live in the interface. To start with, you’ll need to decide which customisation is most important to your client’s users – device or audience. You then insert the below parameters around the text to be used in the ad itself:

{=IF(device=mobile, text to insert):default text}

{=IF(audience IN(<userlist1>,<userlist2>),text to insert):default text}

You might want to deploy these in an experiment campaign – to really see the effects of having an IF function ad within your ad group.

Despite their somewhat intimidating code-y appearance, IF functions are relatively easy to write and, once you have the IF function formula itself down, you can add one to each ad group in your accounts relatively simply. The only downside at the moment is being unable to preview the ad within the interface to make sure it works – it’ll just show you the coded text you entered.

For retail clients, we’ve seen huge success when tailoring ads, oh-so-slightly, to the device on which a user performs their search. Mobile continues to be an extremely important device – not just for shopping around, but also for ordering on-the-go.

Performance so far

After just over a month of using IF functions to tailor an ad to a mobile device, simply adding a relevant call to action depending on the device the user searches on, we’ve seen an uplift in click-through rate of 173%, delivering 260% more orders than a normal expanded text ad, at a CPA 3% lower.

Not bad for ‘just ad copy’!

Croud prides itself on its creative work, being the first to test new products and new ways of resonating with searchers. If you’re looking for some support or advice on how to tackle these kinds of issues or simply to improve ads and the performance of your advertising, then please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!