IF statements in AdWords ads allow advertisers to customize expanded text ad copy based on qualifiers. This functionality sidesteps the need for a feed, allowing all variations to be set up directly inside the ads.

As of now, the systems supports ad copy variations based on device and audience. Using these two factors, advertisers may alter messaging without the need to create multiple ads. This is not only useful from a customization standpoint but allows for some semblance of mobile preferred ads, which were lost in the transition to expanded text ads.

In this article, we will cover what IF statements are, what they can do, and how to set them up in your AdWords account.

What Is An IF Statement?

IFs are simple conditionals based on a single argument. You may be familiar with them through valuetrack parameters, scripts, or Excel.

If a condition is met, show this ad copy, if not show the default. In this sense, they work very similarly to DKI.

For example, if a user is on a mobile device your ad copy may include “shop from your phone”, while everyone else sees the standard “shop online and save.”

For audiences you could alter messaging based on the time since the last visit – “come back and see our new deals” for visitors who haven’t visited in a week – or switch messaging to refer to accessories or add-ons for previous purchasers.

Where Can You Use IF Functions?

IF functions can be used anywhere in a Search Network ad except in the final URL. Headlines, description, and URL paths are all editable.

You’ll most likely use IF statements in the description as it has the most room to work with but URL paths may be an option in select cases. As you can only use paths, you can no longer switch your display URL to a fake subdomain. Inserting mobile into one of the paths may be the best option to imply that you have a mobile-friendly site.

Setting Up IF Functions

IF functions are simple to set up and you’ve probably written something very similar before. While in the interface, typing {=IF into a field will bring up examples.

If you aren’t using the interface, you will need to write them out by memory (or just use a second window). The good news is these are not too difficult to memorize!

The IF statement itself exists within brackets, {}. These denote the opening and closing of the statement. Within those brackets, you’ll start with,


You’ll then fill in the conditional argument within the parentheses. As of now you can only use device= or audience IN,


The modified text follows the comma after your first argument (just like an Excel formula),

{=IF(device=mobile,Shop From Your Phone)}

Finally, you’ll update the default messaging. This differs slightly in that the default will exist outside of the parentheses and instead be placed after a colon.

={=IF(device=mobile,Shop From Your Phone):Shop Online and Save}

This can be abstracted to,

={=IF(condition, alternate text):default text}

If you wanted to use a range of arguments for audiences you would modify this slightly to,

{=IF(condition IN(option 1, option 2, option 3), alternate text): default text}


The most common examples are mobile specific message and cart abandoners. You are in no way limited to these groups, though. Depending on your business, customers, and audience composition, you could:

  • Sync ad copy with email messaging for your newsletter subscribers.
  • Add a sense of urgency to ad copy and remind previous visitors of the status/length of a current promo rather than focusing on the promo itself.
  • Highlight additional support or available accessories to previous purchasers.

By utilizing your remarketing lists through AdWords or importing your Analytics audience lists, you can build creative messaging for your specific audience.


IF functions are a useful addition to AdWords ad copy. There will still be many times where you opt for separate campaigns but a simple IF should take care of the easy ad copy changes. Making the most of IF statements will limit your campaign management overhead and keep things more organized under one bucket.