Using a Buyer Persona to Create a Text Ad in Google AdWords

A buyer persona is a valuable tool for identifying your customer base and developing advertising that best caters to their interests. A buyer persona is a detailed description of who your target audience is, and should contain details like background, demographics, goals, and the challenges they pose. A buyer persona can be as simple or robust as you want it to be, but the more information you have on your target audience, the easier it is to tailor your message to them, making marketing efforts more precise.

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For online advertising like pay-per-click, a buyer persona can help you craft your ad’s message and identify search intent. ‘Search intent’ is the motive a user has for entering a search query. Understanding the intent behind the search increases your chances of ad engagement, because you’ve created an ad that answers a question or a need that the buyer persona has. In addition, search intent can be categorized into four categories: navigational, informational, commercial, and transactional.

Putting all those pieces together can be challenging, so I have broken down how to structure a text ad in AdWords that speaks directly to your buyer persona.

“Sam” – Sample Buyer Persona

DemographicsMillennial, female, lives downtown.

Background – Is the executive assistant to the CEO of a small company. She manages the CEO’s calendar, acts as an office manager, coordinates events, and is basically a jack of all trades. She is at the beginning of her career, so she wants to do a good job and impress her boss so that she can eventually get promoted.

Challenges – Because she acts as a jack of all trades, her biggest challenge is time. She doesn’t have a lot of time to spend on the phone asking a lot of questions. She needs to gather information efficiently.

Goal – To collect as much information as possible about local online marketing companies and present this information to the CEO.

I would categorize Sam’s intent as transactional, meaning that she’s a person who is researching and gathering the information necessary to make an informed purchasing decision.

Creating your basic text ad in AdWords.

A text ad in AdWords is made up of five different fields: URL, headline 1, headline 2, path, and description.  The URL is the landing page where a person is directed to after clicking on the ad, while the other areas make up what you see in the ad itself.

Let’s start with how we determine the best landing page to put in the final URL. Since Sam is looking to gather as much information as possible and get answers quickly, we want to direct her to a page that has information on services along with a way for her to contact us to receive more information if needed.

An example of a landing page.

In the example above, you can see that the landing page offers a brief overview of the services, and a convenient call to action that would allow Sam to get in contact with the marketing company.

Next, we focus on the headlines for the ad. For each headline, you have a maximum of 30 characters to grab Sam’s attention, so we need to use the space wisely by including trust signals and speaking directly to her search intent.

A trust signal is an element that helps customers feel more secure in their decision to engage with your brand. Without the ability to use a visual label in your text ad, you instead have to be descriptive with the trust signal, and use words like guarantee, review, or ranking.

To address Sam’s search intent, we want to include keywords relevant to the search query.  Since we know she is looking for an online marketing company, it would be safe to assume that she would use that phrase—or a synonym—in her query. I have included part of the search query and her goal to find a local company within the headlines­­­­­­ to attract her attention.

Headline 1 and Headline 2 fields in AdWords.

The path field appears below headlines and is 15 characters in length. It provides an idea of what they will find on the webpage once they have clicked on your ad.  It does not change your landing page URL, only acts as a description of the destination in a URL-style format. For Sam, I want to include anything that I think would be relevant to her intent and persona that I didn’t have enough space to address within the headlines. In this case, I’ve taken a broad approach and included references to SEO, PPC (pay-per-click), and “Web” (i.e. web development).

Path field in Google AdWords.

This leaves the final field, the description, where you have 80 characters to try and entice a click. For Sam, this means including a call to action that indicates that she can receive an immediate answer to her specific questions at no financial risk. Letting her know we can provide value at no cost and in a timely manner speaks directly to her goals and intent.

Below, we can see the ad that Sam and customers like her will see on Google:

Path field in Google AdWords.

Include ad extensions to increase the appeal of your ads.

AdWords gives you the options to include ad extensions  to showcase additional information about your business beyond the basic ad structure. With the additional real estate that ad extensions provide, you can highlight business ratings, locations, reviews, and provide additional links. AdWords will select which extension appears based on the relevance to the Google search, so for maximum exposure it is advised to use any and all ad extensions that make sense for your ads. You can review which ad extension to use in AdWords Help.

Sam is a millennial, and considering that Millennials put a great deal of trust in recommendations from other customers when searching, I chose to use a review ad extension for our ad:

AdWords extension featuring customer review.

Once your ad is up and running, be sure collect enough performance data so that you can evaluate its effectiveness. Although it was constructed with the buyer persona in mind, reviewing engagement analytics like click through rate and conversions provides concrete information on what is working and what might need to be adjusted.

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