The difference between the new AdWords IF function and ad customisers on the search network | Articles

In February 2017 Google has implemented a feature for AdWords which allows advertisers to customise their ads. Through this article, we will introduce to you the new feature and the difference towards the standard ad customiser.

Ad customisers in AdWords

The ad customisers help the advertiser to tailor the message in accordance to each search or webpage. This allows to customise the text ad by showing a relevant ad to the potential customer. The ad customiser has some flexibility in the sense that you can implement it either in the headlines or in the description of the text ad. In terms of format, ad customiser are quite similar to the keyword insertion since they have parameters that go within the known bracket format {…} and use those parameters to insert the keyword used for targeting into your ad text. Therefore, when a user makes a search and upon which your ad is triggered, the parameters are replaced by the relevant dynamic text. You must wonder how to set that dynamic text. The ad customisers are based on the data feed that you have to upload in Adwords in the form of a spreadsheet file. In terms of targeting, you have the ability to target by keyword, by location or you can just focus on a campaign/ad group.

Moreover, you are able to define default value and the automatic updates that occur when your ad is triggered do not reset the ad’s performance data.

IF function in AdWords

Such as the ad customiser, the IF function allows to customise the text ad in accordance to each search which makes it more relevant for a potential customer. Moreover, the new function also uses parameters within braces. Thus, when your ad is triggered by a person’s search, those parameters are replaced by the text you defined upfront. However, in contrary to most ad customizer formats in AdWords, you do not need to upload a data feed in order to implement the IF function. In terms of attributes you can either customise your message towards two categories: devices or audiences. Regarding the audience, you are able to use any valid user list name in your account. This is definitively something new with respect to the standard ad customiser.

Thus, the IF function gives more flexibility in the implementation. In addition, taking into account the digitalisation trend where the mobile devices and understanding audiences are becoming more and more crucial, this function through its dimensions can definitely have an impact on a business.

If you are familiar with ad customisers, by using default values within the braces, you no longer need to have a standard ad within the same ad group alongside with the ad that contains ad customisers.

The IF function framework code:

            - Mobile:

                        Code: {=IF(device=mobile, text to insert):default text}

            - Audience:

                        Code: {=IF(audience IN(<userlist1>, <userlist2>, text to insert):default text}

In AdWord:

By analysing the data of your business, you realise that the period of delivery has an impact on the volume of orders. Thus, you decide to catch your potential customer on the go with a customised message that highlights that they can get their order in few hours.

Implementation of the IF function
Code: {=IF (device=mobile, free delivery in less than 24h): free delivery on order over €50}

In the new ad text format (ETA’s)

          Headlines:  Headline 1 - Headline 2
            Description: Our latest products online and benefit from our {=IF (device=mobile, free delivery in less than 24h): free delivery on order over €50}

Description in AdWord:

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When the condition is met and in this case someone is browsing on a mobile device:

Ad triggered on mobile device

            Headlines:  Headline 1 - Headline 2
            Description: Our latest products online and benefit from our free delivery in less than 24h
Default value:

Ad triggered on desktop
           Headlines:  Headline 1 - Headline 2
           Description: Our latest products online and benefit from our free delivery on order over €50

 Table: Ad customisers vs. IF function in AdWords




How it works

Standard attribute

Targeting attribute

Default value


Ad customisers

-Tailored messaging



Each search

Data feed that you have to upload in a spreadsheet



-Start date

-Custom ID

- Target location or restriction

-Keyword and keyword match type


-Campaign / ad group

Need ad text without ad customiser in the same ad group

Only Search Network

IF Function

-Tailored messaging



Each search

If the condition is met



-Campaign / ad group

The default message is directly in the IF function

Only Search Network

As a recap - IF functions are similar  standard ad customiser. However, it does not require a data feed. Therefore, the function IF is easier and quicker to implement but the advertiser has less options in terms of attributes. With this solution Google provides a clean and easy solution for advertisers to who customisation is relevant, but doesn’t require complex feed construction and implementation. In a digitalisation world, the importance of tailoring the message towards audiences becomes crucial in order increase the pertinence of your message. The ability to now customise your text ad in accordance to your audiences permits to the advertiser to get a wider panel of customisation and thus, positively impact its business.
publication author placide mugenzi
Placide Mugenzi

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