AdWords IF functions roll out for ad customization as Standard Text Ads sunset


IF functions arrive to let advertisers customize ads based on device and retargeting list membership.

First, a moment of silence for the Standard Text Ad format that held on for 15+ years. Today marks the end. And with that, Google is rolling out AdWords IF functions globally to give advertisers the ability to customize their ads in much the same way ad customizers allow, but without the feed.

With IF functions, text ads can be tailored based on whether users are on mobile and/or are members of an audience list. For example, Frederick Vallaeys wrote in his column about using the IF function for mobile last fall, when the feature was first 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, an If function is used to customize the description offer based on whether a user is in the advertiser’s “Cart Abandoners” retargeting list. If they on the list, users will see a “15% off” promotion; if not, they’ll get a “10% off” offer.


Broken down, the syntax for IF functions is:

Start with “{=IF”
Add an open “(” after IF
Follow with the targeting of “device=mobile” or “audience IN”
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.
Put a comma after the targeting.
Add the text to insert when targeting criteria is met.
Close “)”
Follow with a colon “:”
After the colon, add the default text that will be used when the targeting criteria is not met.
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
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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s