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What Are Ad Customizers in Google Ads?

What Are Ad Customizers in Google Ads?

10/25/19 UPDATE: Hello Facebook Agency Visitor Person!  We’re delighted to have you visit this awesome post. About a year ago, ZATO stopped offering Facebook Ads solutions so we could focus solely on what we do best: Google Ads. Because of this, we’re always interested in partnerships with great Social Advertising agencies (like yourself, wink wink!) and we offer referral fees for signed clients!  Anyway, back to it, and happy reading…

Post Summary

  • What is an Ad Customizer in Google Ads?
  • But What About PMax? 
  • Common Use Cases for Ad Customizers
  • Some General Words of Caution and Pondering
  • Setting Up Ad Customizers in Google Ads - Step by Step

Have you ever wanted to specifically call out your specific Product Name, price, or the city your users are currently in, right within your ads so users see your ad and think, “aha! This is exactly what I’m searching for!” BUUUUUTTTT you are (rightfully) nervous about Dynamic Keyword Insertion since all sorts of messy things can occur with that used incorrectly? 

Well, hey, sounds like you’re wanting to use Ad Customizers!

What is an Ad Customizer in Google Ads?

Let’s start by defining ad customizers. What are they?  Well, as explained above, they allow you to set certain unique parameters within your ad text, that matches what your customers want to see. As we all know, targeted ad text tends to be a better form of marketing since people like to know what they’re clicking on, and if you can automate that… then shoot! That’s slicker than snot on a hog’s back (ewwww, that got a little more gross than I intended)!

But What About PMax? 

Unfortunately, and perhaps the biggest bummer of Ad Customizers at this time, is they work only with Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) and not any other ad type (such as PMax). 

  • Pre-Made Insertion Customizers - these exist already in your Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) and are triggered by typing { into an ad, and then choosing one of the three dropdowns to use: keyword, countdown, or location.
ad customizer google ads promotion price

  • Bespoke Ad Customizers - (I wanted to say custom ad customizers, but that sounded redundant) these are managed in a separate section of the UI and then show up as options in the { dropdown in RSAs. 
using ad customizers in google ads

Once you add the Attributes (in this case, a product price), you then have the option to select it in your account when you type { into an RSA: 

using ad customizers in RSA responsive search ads in google ads

ad customizersfor price google ads

If you want to view Google’s documentation on these, you can see those here: 

Common Use Cases for Ad Customizers

  • Specific discounts on specific products - you may want to apply specific % promotions to specific products. For instance, if you have a sale with some products at 15% off, and others at 20% off. In that case, you can use use customizers to ensure these are shown correctly. 
  • Specific state/city your customer lives in - you may want to connect more deeply with a customer based on where they live, without splitting everything into unique campaigns. Customizers are a great option for this: “Buy the Best Bike in {city}”. (Avoiding spurious claims, of course!).
  • Product price - you may want to show the specific product price for specific products being advertised in your Search campaigns. This option allows you to show unique pricing to users searching for those products! Pretty cool, but there are definitely some things to consider here, and that’s what we’ll discuss next. 

Some General Words of Caution and Pondering

As we consider using customizers, I want to note at least three cautionary notes to consider as you build these. 

  1. Should you consider the Landing Pages for these customizers, and if so, should you instead segment into unique campaigns or ad groups instead of using customizers? Remember, customizers only change the ad text itself, not the landing page. This to me, could be problematic in matching up customer interest with the landing page (and thus, possibly impact your CVR and Bounce Rate). Think of it, if you have specific product names and prices showing to a user in an ad who asks for that product… and then they land on a super generic page without that product anywhere in site, they’re less likely to stick around to it find it. Or, if you have a strong need to segment by Country, for instance… perhaps you should simply break countries into different campaigns (our suggestion anyway) so you can also better control bidding and budgets. There are things to consider here, and one of them is that you should first ask: is what I’m using this customizer for, actually a problem of segmentation?
  2. Should you use DSA instead? Similar to our first point, you may want to simply consider using better categorized DSAs so Google will be more likely to match up the user query with the user landing page. Though I will say, it is VERY annoying that you can’t use Customizers with DSAs!
  3. Don’t forget to update your spreadsheet! This is more of a general comment, but if you are tying dynamic attributes such as prices to your products, then you actually need to ensure the information you are uploading for the pricing (in spreadsheet format, we’ll discuss this soon) is accurate… which means constant editing and updating! This is a crucial point, otherwise your Customizer information could be erroneous leading to either ad disapprovals, or customer distrust.
  4. Customizers only work with RSAs. I’ll note it again, but unfortunately customizers do not currently (at the time of writing this article) work with DSAs or PMax assets. Hopefully this changes soon, especially with PMax!
  5. Why not just use Assets (Formerly Extensions, gosh I hate that Google named multiple things "assets" )? As you ponder what you want to do, you may realize that just using the promotional, or pricing assets within Google Ads accomplishes what you are trying to do, and does a better job of it anyway! Instead of going through an overly complex spreadsheet promotional upload, for instance, perhaps you need to simply utilize Promotional assets, save an hour of work, and call it a day. Just a suggestion!


google ads promotions asset in search network

Setting Up Ad Customizers in Google Ads - Step by Step

Now that we’ve run over the basics, I wanted to give you helpful information for actually setting up customizers. The problem is, it gets pretty complex and Brett Bodofsky just wrote a detailed walkthrough over on Tinuiti, so I’d suggest you go check it out there. Even with a walkthrough, it can be kind of complex. 

Read Brett’s Walkthrough on Customizers Here

tinuiti article on ad customizers by brett bodofsky

Just remember, when it comes to customizers, consider my previous cautionary notes… it may just be a better option to utilize another functionality within Google Ads unless you have a strong use case for them. 

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Kirk Williams
@PPCKirk - Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 6 years in a row (2016-2021), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter or Linkedin.

In 2023, Kirk had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Billings on one of his many passions, Stop the Scale: Redefining Business Success.

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