There’s a reason why retail stores hold sales only on specific days and infomercials warn that you only have 20 minutes left to call and secure your widget at the advertised rate. When consumers see that they’re under the clock, they act quickly to avoid the disappointment of a missed opportunity. That’s why countdown ads have become such a powerful feature for advertisers who use Google AdWords.

What Are Countdown Ads?

As their name suggests, countdown ads are AdWords advertisements that feature a countdown to the end of your sale or promotion. Essentially, it creates a ticking cloth that encourages potential customers to act quickly so they don’t lose the excellent price or favorable terms you’re offering.

Depending on where the ad appears, the countdown will be located underneath or next to the ad copy. It might say “Sale ends in 5 hours” or “Only 3 days left.” Google’s algorithm will automatically adjust the number of hours or days remaining as time passes, which makes it entirely automated. It’s an ideal way to create urgency among your audience and inspire immediate conversions.

How Can Brands Benefit From Countdown Ads?


Consider using countdown ads if your team wants to boost conversion rates quickly.

You can take a page from the books of skilled retail marketers who understand the value of a deadline. The more urgency you create, the faster consumers make purchasing decisions.

Additionally, users won’t have to click through to a website or conduct their own search to find out when a sale or promotion ends. This saves them time and increases the chances of turning them into loyal customers. Plus, Google makes it easy to keep the countdown accurate for all users. It will automatically adjust based on the user’s time zone so you don’t have to worry about confused (or irate) prospective customers.

The proof is in the numbers. Countdown ads boast a 225 percent higher click-through rate, a 116 percent better conversion rate, and a 101 percent increased return on ad spend than standard ads.

What Are the Countdown Ads Best Practices?

As with any tool, you don’t want to overuse countdown ads. If you continually run these promotions and users encounter them frequently, you’ll lose credibility. It’s just like the infomercials that run the same countdown gag every night. People know that they can score the same deal tomorrow if they’re so inclined.

Make your countdowns as specific as possible. Instead of writing “Sale ends soon” as your CTA, for instance, use specific times or deadlines, such as “Sale ends in 12 hours.”

If possible, don’t start the countdown until you’re three or four days ahead of the deadline. The sense of urgency increases as the deadline approaches, so you’ll get more mileage out of the ads if you start closer to the end game.

Countdown ads perform extremely well across all industries and sectors, so give them a try if you’re hoping to boost conversions in a limited time frame. To learn more about improving your ROI on online advertising, read our case study: Gilt City Increases PPC Clicks by 16% While Reducing CPA by 20%.

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