It can be all too easy to get yourself into a marketing rut using the same ad formats over and over, but we love playing around with different formats for different occasions – and we get a kick out of it when something works well for our clients. Google’s timer ads – or countdown ads –  let you change your ads in real-time to countdown to a specific event, making them ideal for certain seasons and occasions throughout the year.

image cred: unsplash

So. What’s so great about them? Here are some of their superpowers:

They create a sense of urgency that will encourage action

The countdown feature is active in the search results page and counts the seconds, minutes, hours and days down in real-time as a user views displayed paid and organic search results. This ‘rolling countdown’ creates a sense of urgency – “I better book before it’s too late! – and also helps generate a ‘FOMO’ – fear of missing out – in the potential booker if they don’t act ASAP. There’s been multiple psychological studies done that show when we feel a sense of urgency, we’re more likely to do things like perform unimportant tasks, and buy more! This is for sure a contributing factor as to why ad formats like these work.

They create exclusivity around an offer

We live in an age of FOMO where niche, ‘exclusive’ experiences in all areas of life are sought out like gold dust. The same idea applies to making a certain time period exclusive – use countdown ads to highlight  limited dates available for whatever offer you want to push, enticing potential guests into booking so they can be “part of the club”!

They make your ads stand out

Brace yourself… apparently, the average person sees anything from 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day. Besides that piece of information being mildly disturbing (!), it also highlights the undeniable necessity to try and make your ads stand out. As well as relevance, text, colour and imagery, the type of ad is obviously important too. If used correctly, countdown ads stand out with their animated countdown clock that actively changes as the seconds, minutes and hours go by, helping to catch the roving eye.

Just a few months ago, we ran some Google countdown ads for a handful of clients during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout the Christmas season. Here’s how they fared!

Hotel A: We ran an offer for their Cyber Weekend Sale where we set up the ads to countdown 5 days until the end of the offer. The click-through rate on the countdown ads was 5% higher than the average click-through rate of other ads running in the same campaign during the same time. The conversion revenue coming from the countdown ads represented 11% of the overall value coming in from that campaign during the period the ads were live in.

Hotel B: We ran an offer for their Black Friday 24 hour sale. In this case, we used the ads to countdown until the offer was to start, and then once it was live, the ads counted down from the start date of the offer until it was over. Click through rate on the countdown ads during their run was 22% higher than any other ad format in the same campaign during the same time period.

Hotel C: For this hotel, we used the ads to run their Cyber Weekend offer for four days and then to countdown to the campaign’s end date. In this four-day period, the click-through rate was almost exactly on par with the other ads running in the same campaign, however, the conversion rate was 52% higher for the countdown ads.

How can you make them work for your property? Here are a few tips. 

It’s urgent!

Use your words to create that sense of urgency we mentioned earlier. Think phrases like, “Hurry! Offer ends in…” or “Limited offer, only # days remaining to book!”

Know your limits

Use them for offers that really do have a limited timeframe. Think about it – “10+ days remaining” won’t incite the same kind of mad rush “3-5 days!” will.

That said… don’t be too limited

You want to emulate a sense of urgency, but you also want to give the offer enough time to gain traction and attention. Try to make it a minimum of 24 hours, if you have enough search traffic.

The right timing makes all the difference

Using countdown ads the right way means you’ll need to consider the time periods/seasons/occasions you’re using them for. Their nature makes them ideal for high-peak purchase times like Easter, school holidays and summer sales! Keep in mind when considering them as part of your marketing strategy.

Need help or more advice? Email us at hello@netaffinity.com – we’d only be delighted to hear from you.