It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for B2C ecommerce businesses, that is!

If you’re selling products direct to consumers this year, it’s likely that the Christmas period is a key selling time for you. That being said, many advertisers do not take full advantage of the Black Friday weekend, often dismissing it as a cheap tactic that has little benefit.

However, with online shoppers being decidedly more active during this period, ecommerce advertisers can make the most out of the sales weekend by creating a sense of urgency.

One of the most powerful ways to do this is with AdWords’ countdown ads; something all B2C ecommerce advertisers should be doing.

Fear of missing out

Loss aversion is a psychological theory that refers to our natural preference for avoiding loss, rather than producing gains. For example, we’re often more motivated to go to an event from fear of missing out, rather than the perceived beneficial experience.

For online advertisers, this can be a key theorem to act upon. Make sure that your customers are aware of the limited opportunity, and you’ll likely see higher click-through and conversion rates.

Whilst you can set up more advanced sales countdowns using AdWords scripts, it is still possible to create effective countdowns from within the AdWords UI.

How to create dynamic countdown ads

The AdWords interface now makes it very straightforward to input dynamic countdowns into your ads. Simply type “{=COUNTDOWN}” anywhere into a text field, and the UI will guide you through the setup.

Choose a countdown end date, time and the time zone you wish to associate it with. Do not worry too much about the countdown start date, as we’ll only be pushing these ads live once the sale has started.


Once you’ve set this up, the countdown will dynamically change depending on the date and time, switching to ‘hours’ rather than days when it suits


To ensure ads go live when they need to, smart advertisers will favour using automated rules to push these live. I’d recommend attaching labels to your Black Friday ads, and creating a rule to push these live on Friday at 12am.

Other applications of dynamic countdown ads

Countdown ads aren’t just useful for B2C and ecommerce. A variety of other sectors can make use of urgency creation, in order to boost conversion rates (see below).


Additionally, you can increase the experience of urgency on your landing page, by including a similar countdown on your site.

Key Takeaways

  • Create a sense of urgency with dynamic countdowns in your ad copy in order to boost click-through rates and conversion rates
  • Use automated rules to enable and pause campaigns when needed, in order to spend more time focusing on other areas of the account.
  • Countdown ads can be used across a variety of sectors, not just B2C ecommerce.
Liam Wade

Head of PPC

Head of PPC @ImpressionTalk. Obsessive about PPC, paid social and online advertising. In my spare time I like to collect stamps, count marbles and create intricate architectural sculptures out of wheat-based cereals. @Digital_Liam

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