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How to Refuel Your Advertising Campaign: Text Ads
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How to Refuel Your Advertising Campaign: Text Ads


No matter how advanced, every engine powering an online advertising campaign relies on a steady supply of fuel. And what is fuel in terms of online advertising? You guessed it – it's the advertising creatives, or just 'ads' as most people call them. 

So what's the most trustworthy and efficient source of advertising fuel out there? Why, it's text ads of course! Simple, robust and effective – text ads have kept the wheels of advertising spinning since the most ancient of times.

Anyway, simple as they are, text ads need to come in multitudes to power even a mid-sized advertising campaign. Modern online marketing techniques burn through ads, forcing marketers to make sure their campaigns are always operating at their peak. So, if you feel like your paid traffic effort is running on fumes, it might be a good idea to pit for a quick refuel with SEMrush!

Who is This Guide For?

Ultimately, this workflow guide is here to help:

  • User Acquisition Managers
    Breathe new life into the text ads you're running on Google by tapping into an endless source of quality examples generously provided by your competitors.
  • Media Buyers
    Turn the mundane task of producing a bazillion generic ads for your campaign into an efficient and enjoyable process and save precious time and budget by running tests at the expense of your rivals.

The Challenges

Here are the specific challenges we're hoping we can help you with:

  • Ad burnout
    Advertising creatives and approaches burn out rather quickly. This puts you in a constant need for fresh ideas, but, at this pace, a reliable source of inspiration may be hard to come by.
  • Beating tunnel vision
    If you and your team work on the same project long enough, you might exhaust your own source of creativity. Repetitive tasks tend to eat away at fresh ideas, resulting in tunnel vision, 'empty screen syndrome' and other nasty things you want to avoid;
  • Cutting down on test expenses
    Inventing new combos is fun if you're playing a Street Fighter game, not so much when it comes to trying out a number of targeting/placement/keyword combos in Google Ads. By the time you're spot on, there would be a lot of time and money wasted. Not to mention the effect on your mood.

The Tools We’ll Use

Here's a short list of tools we'll use to make the everyday life of an advertising specialist a lot more livable:

  • Advertising Research
    The Advertising Toolkit's finest! This report allows you to get a quick overview of your online rivals' entire advertising efforts, ad copy included.
  • Ad Builder
    Think of Google Ad Builder's better-looking cousin who's spent some time in a prestigious business school in Europe. The SEMrush Ad Builder lets you create ads powered by competitive intelligence on the go and export them right into a Google Ads-compatible .csv file.

1. Researching Competitors with Advertising Research

If you believe every tactics textbook out there, gathering intelligence makes for a great 'Step 1'. So that's exactly what we're going to do! Now is a great time to check out your best (or worst, depending on how you look at it, really) online competitors and see what they have brewing in the advertising department.

1.1 Spotting Competitors

Thanks to the wonders of technology, the spying game these days is a lot less tricky than the Jason Bourne movies would have you believe. All it really takes is:

  1. 1. Opening the Advertising Research tool by clicking on the corresponding button in the left-hand navigation menu:
    Advertising Research navigation
  2. Typing your competitor's domain into the search bar,
  3. Picking which region you would like us to get you data for,
    Advertising Research query
  4. Clicking the 'Search' button.

And that does it, really.

Don't Know Who Your Competitors Are?

Or perhaps just looking to expand the list? We’ve got you! No matter how sneaky your competitors think they are, SEMrush can help you spot them with no trouble at all. Here's how you do it:

  1. Type in your own domain name in Advertising Research,
  2. Switch to the Competitors tab.
    Competitors tab in Advertising Research
  3. Scroll down to the Competitors table. Here you can see a pretty detailed list of other domains competing with you for traffic in Google Ads.
    Paid Competitors table

To learn more about any particular competitor in the list, you can navigate to a full report for that competitor by clicking on their domain name.

1.3 Checking out the Ads

Let's keep our main mission in mind though. The 'Ads' section is what we're really after. So, whenever you feel like you're running dry on good ideas for your Google ads, you can always visit the Advertising Research report and borrow some from your competitors. Let's hope they don't mind.

Here's how you do it:

First, switch to the 'Ad Copies' tab:

Ad Copies tab

The first thing you can do from here is to check various text ads that your competitor of choice has been running on Google:

Advertising Research ad copies report

There's a lot more you can do with the Ad Copies section, but here are the key takeaways that synergize well with this workflow:

  • You can also check out which keywords your competitor is running specific ads for.
  • You can analyze your competitors' landing pages
  • You can get a pretty accurate estimation of how much money your competitors are willing to spend on specific advertising approaches they're running.

If you're curious to learn more about the Ad Copies section of Advertising Research, and what other powers it has, please feel free to consult this article in our Knowledge Base.

Free Ad Testing with Keyword Ad History

The Ads History tab is great for spotting which ads constitute the powerhouse of your competitors’ advertising strategy. The basic idea behind this method is pretty simple:

  • Track the first seen/last seen appearances of particular ads from multiple domains at once
    Ad history report
  • If you see an ad/keyword combo that has been running consistently, it's a good sign that it might be delivering actual results.
  • You can then mimic (or even improve) certain ad copy/keyword approaches.
  • One of the perks of this report is that it allows you to find ad groups from multiple advertisers targeting one specific keyword.

And that's how you do it. Why waste time and money, when your competitor already has all the tests figured out?

To learn more about the Ads History section, please check out this detailed article in our Knowledge Base.

Step 2. Creating Ads with Ad Builder

At long last, let's get to the most thrilling part of this workflow – creating ingenious ads with ease, efficiency and – you guessed it again! – style. Let us begin by clicking on the 'Ad Builder' button in the left-hand navigation menu:

Ad Builder navigation

2.1 Setting Up a Project

Before we start, let's run some final pre-flight checks. Accessing the Ad Builder requires an active SEMrush project. So at this point, you can either choose an existing project from the main menu or create a new one on the go by clicking on the 'New Ad Builder' button, as shown in the example below:

Using the New Ad Builder button

If you'd like to learn more about SEMrush projects, please feel free to consult the corresponding article in our Knowledge Base.

2.2 Creating New Ads

To begin creating new ads, simply switch to the 'Text Ads' tab and click on the 'New Ad' button, as shown in the picture below:

Creating a New Ad

This will open up the Ad Building interface. If you've ever used the native Google Ads tool, this menu should look pretty familiar. Except for one handy feature – the 'Ideas for your ads' section:

The ideas for your ads section

The name is a huge tell – this section allows you to tap into an endless source of inspiration for your own ads by displaying those of your competitors.

Just type in a competitor's domain or a seed keyword, and the Ad Builder will provide you with fresh ideas on the go.

Create Ads Using a Template

If inspiration, ideas and quality references are good enough for you, you can proceed by creating your own ads from scratch, right in the builder. But there's a more efficient way to do this!

If you find an ad you like, you can use it as a template for your own creative. To do this, simply click on the '+' icon at the top-right corner of the ad:

Using ad as a template

This will copy the ad's headlines and descriptions right into the builder, saving you from the troubles of routine work. You can then adjust the content to your own liking much quicker than if you had to start from scratch. 

Why not give it a try right now – try creating new ads the SEMrush way and see if it works for you. You can always preview how your ad will be displayed to the end user in the preview section:

Ad Preview with Ad Builder

Finally, when you're done with your first ad, just click on the 'Save ad' button.

Basically, this is how it works – just rinse and repeat until you're happy with the final result.

3. Exporting Your Ads to Google Ads

Congrats, you've made it! All that's left is incorporating the products of your hard work into your actual Google Ads campaign and... well, launching it! 

Both the PPC Keyword Tool and the Ad Builder allow you to export an advertising campaign structure with keywords and all associated ads (respectively) into a .csv file compatible with Google Ads.

To do so, simply click on the 'Export' button either in the PPC Keyword tool or the Ad Builder (or both) and pick the 'CSV' option:

Exporting ads with Ad Builder

This will export all data into an external .csv file that you can safely import into Google Ads.

4. Benefits Recap

And that does it for this guide! Great job mastering a new workflow and learning how to use various SEMrush tools to produce top-tier Google search text ads with speed, efficiency and style. Here’s a quick recap of how you can put this newly acquired knowledge to good use:

  • Tap into a virtually unlimited source of fresh ideas for your ads. The best part – these ideas have already been tested at the expense of your competition;
  • Borrow the best ad ideas, approaches, targeting/placements/keyword combos from your competitors;
  • Learn from your competitors' mistakes and run tests at the expense of your online rivals;
  • Create ingenious ads and fully fledged Google Ads campaigns right in SEMrush. When you're done, all it takes to go live is uploading two .csv files into your Google Ads account.

Thank you for your time learning how SEMrush tools can improve the workflow of an online advertising specialist. Hopefully, what used to be a routine task dreaded by many marketers will now become a lot more bearable, or better yet – bring the joy back into the process of crafting search ads!

We're anxious to know what you think! Was this article helpful, or did you find it lacking? Please do not hesitate to share your feedback via the form below.

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