Editor’s Note: This article is a part of our Hero Conf London Guest Post Giveaway. Based on a combination of pageviews, shares and editorial review from the PPC Hero writing staff, a winner will be chosen from the finalists we post throughout the week. Today’s post comes to us from Jelle Wieggers (@Jelle_Wie), Acquisition Marketeer at Kato Group B.V.

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Delivery duration is one of the most influential arguments online retailers have in their arsenal. Nobody likes to wait for the products they order. With daily countdown timers counting down to the next day delivery deadline you can increase the urgency for shoppers to make purchasing decisions quickly, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Ever since AdWords gave us ad customizers we have been able to write text ads with dynamic elements without using scripts. There are several published cases on the impact of countdown timers while running a sale. To summarize and paraphrase, they’re powerful and increase your conversion rate. I wanted to bring some of the awesome to my regular ads and I found my accomplice in ad customizers.

  • The good: increased conversion rate and you don’t need scripting knowledge!
  • The bad: to track the experiment you will need to use Google Analytics.
  • The ugly: you need one or more active ads without ad customizers in your ad group.

The Experiment

I introduced the countdown ads in my branded campaign. The customizer ads start right before lunch time and I stop them twenty minutes before my same day dispatch deadline. The first ad sentence contained the countdown timer with a full stop at the end to allow for prominent headline placement. My goal was to increase the number of transactions, which I refer to as conversions.

The Effect

The ecommerce conversion rate of the control ads was 3.23% while the experiment converted at 6%. The customers in the experiment did not only do impulse purchases either, the order value increased by 8.5%. These figures made the value per session increase almost 102%.

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No Device Is Created Equal

As expected the ad customizers have different impacts on different devices. The impact of the countdown was only small on desktop devices, a mere 26% increase. The effect on tablet traffic was huge, an increase of no less than 366%. And let’s not forget about mobile traffic. The conversion rate for mobile traffic increased by 413%!

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How To Get Started

You can read how to set up ad customizers on the AdWords support page or follow the steps below.

Step 1: Excel

  • Start date: The moment in time the ad becomes eligible for display.
  • End date: The moment in time the ad is no longer eligible for display.
  • End (date): The moment in time we are counting down towards. The parentheses with “date” are a requirement to specify the row contains dates.

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Follow the format above as AdWords is strict about the formatting of the file. Be sure to use cell formatting matching this format: “yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm:ss.” You should set the desired dates based on the AdWords account time zone settings.

Step 2: Upload

Go to the Business data section in the Shared library of your AdWords account. Create a new ad customizer feed. Name it appropriately, e.g. SameDayDispatchAd, and upload the file.

Step 3: Start Running Ads

Almost there! Implementing ad customizers is easy, but you will need to count the number of characters the customizer will add maximally. In English “XX minutes” (10) is the maximum number of added characters. Customizers can display days, hours and minutes. Use the characters left for your ad creative.

Syntax: Next Day Delivery: {GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN(SameDayDispatchAd.End,”en-US”)} left.

  • GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN: will interpret the feed end date based on the time zone the Adwords account is using.
  • SameDayDispatch.End: This is a reference to the data we uploaded. The first part refers to the name of the ad customizer feed in the shared library. Following the full stop is the name of the column the countdown timer is based on in the feed.
  • “en-US”: The language you would like to countdown in. A full list of all the options can be found on the ad customizers support page.

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That’s all there is to it!