Google Ads Lessons from the Beano

A couple of weeks ago my seven-year-old daughter had an inset day. (UK parents of school-agers will know this particular joy well…).

I bit the bullet and took her to my office for the afternoon.

Among the multi-layered defences I set up in an (ultimately futile) attempt to protect my working day, I bought her a copy of the comic Beano.

(Again UK parents of school-agers may know this particular joy well… but probably haven’t glanced at a copy for a few decades, as I hadn’t before I spotted one in WHSmith while hunting for potential daughter-distractions.)

She quite liked it ✔︎, but once I started to flick through it myself, I predictably found myself indulging in a nostalgia-fest.

I also started to appreciate it in a new way…

As PPCers, we spend quite a bit of time (though often not as much time as we probably should) trying to find good ways of conveying ideas clearly within very tight character limits.

Boy do comic writers have that down to an art!

Look how much information is conveyed with 30 or so words in these three panels.

All credit to Nigel Auchterlounie (words), Hunt Emerson (Art) and the Beano.

How few words can you use to tell it the same story? (I’m down to 60*, and it’s a lot less fun to read)

Of course, the images help the words go much further… but still, aren’t those words impressively concise? (See how much work is done by the name ‘Escaped Estovan’!)

In paid search advertising, concision is one of the skills we need to hone when it comes to the ad copy side of our trade.

We need to convey both the what and the why of our products in the most streamlined way we can.

We may have more characters to play with than we used to, but are users taking the time to read more of them? I suspect not.

Of the three headlines and two description lines available in Google’s text ads, we can probably assume that we need to convey our key messages in headlines one and two. That’s a narrow window of opportunity… we’d better make the most of it – and inspiration can be found hiding in all sorts of places…


Here are some more conventional sources for honing your ad copy:

…or is included in my course – Google Ads Level Up – which also has a four-unit module on getting the most out of your ads.

*A young martial artist finds an apparently safe way to practice her skills by attacking a suit of armour. On realising that she has inadvertently beaten up the suit’s hidden occupant, she fears punishment from an approaching police officer. The officer instead thanks her for having apprehended an escaped convict… She gladly takes the credit rather than revealing her mistake. (I told you it was less fun to read 🤣)

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