For the last 15+ years, the Standard Text Ad format has been able to hold its head high, but today, January 31, marks the end of its reign.  Google is now rolling out AdWords IF functions globally.  These functions will give advertisers the ability to customize their ads in close to the same way ad customizers allow, but without the feed.

With IF functions it’s possible to tailor text ads based on if users are on mobile and/or a member of an audience list.  Frederick Vallaeys, as an example, wrote about using the IF function for mobile last fall when the feature was originally announced as a way for advertisers who were running mobile preferred Standard Text Ads to continue customizing ads for mobile users.

In the example below from Google, we see an IF function being used to customize the description offer based on whether a user is in the advertiser’s Cart Abandoners” retargeting list.  If the user is on the list, users will see a “15% ” promotion.  If not, they’ll get a “10% off” offer.

Broken down, the syntax for IF functions is:

  1. Start with “{=IF”
  2. Add an open “(” after IF
  3. Follow with the targeting of “device=mobile” or “audience IN”
    1. If you’re using audience targeting, put the list you want to target inside parentheses. If you are targeting multiple audience lists, separate them with a comma.
  4. Put a comma after the targeting.
  5. Add the text to insert when targeting criteria is met.
  6. Close “)”
  7. Follow with a colon “:”
  8. After the colon, add the default text that will be used when the targeting criteria is not met.
  9. End with the closing curly bracket “}”

Put together it looks like this:

{=IF(device=mobile or audience IN(audiencelist1,audiencelist2), Custom Text): Default Text}


A few more things to note by :

If you’re creating ads in the web UI, the IF function option will become available when you enter a curly bracket “{“. However, for now at least, it defaults to the mobile targeting syntax: {=IF(device=mobile,insert text):default text}. You’ll have to change it for audience targeting, and be sure to use the exact list name.

IF functions can be used anywhere in an Expanded Text Ad except for the final URL. They are only eligible to run on the Search Network.

And last but not least, with the default text provided with IF functions, advertisers don’t have to have an ad that doesn’t use customizers in their ad groups.

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