Show a countdown to an event in your Expanded Text Ad

Show a countdown to an event in your Expanded Text Ad

Countdown customizers are tags you can insert into your Expanded Text Ad title, body, or paths that show an automatically-updated countdown to an event.

Not everyone has this feature yet. If you don’t, don’t worry. It’s coming soon.

Countdown customizers let you easily add a countdown — by day, hour, and then minute — to an event in your Expanded Text Ad. The countdown, which automatically updates as the event draws nearer, is eye-catching and gives potential customers greater incentive to click your ad.

For example, you can use a countdown to draw attention to a sale that is ending:

Ad with a countdown in hours

...or to promote an upcoming event:

Ad with a countdown in days

Ads with countdowns only run while the countdown is relevant — they won't start running until a specific day and time that you set, and they'll stop running when the countdown timer expires.

How to create an Expanded Text Ad with a countdown expando image
  1. From the Ads tab, click Create ad and select the ad group you want this ad in.
  2. Where you want the countdown to appear, type a { (known as a left brace or a left curly bracket). A countdown can appear in either part of the title, either path, and the ad text.
  3. Click Countdown from the dropdown.
  4. For Countdown ends, select the date and enter the time you want the countdown to count down to. When this date and time is reached, the ad will stop running. Note: If you leave the time box empty, it will default to midnight at the very beginning of the date you selected.
  5. For Countdown starts, enter how many days before the Countdown ends date/time you want this ad to start running (the maximum is 999). Note: If you leave this empty, the countdown will start five days before your Countdown ends date/time.
  6. Optional: By default, the Countdown ends date/time is based on the ad viewer's local time zone. If you would rather it be based on your account's time zone, click Advanced and then, for Time zone, select Account time zone. Note: If you use the ad viewer's time zone, your countdown's syntax will start with "=COUNTDOWN"; if you use your account's time zone, it will start with "=GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN".
  7. Optional: By default, the countdown will appear in English (for example, "3 days"). If you would rather it appear in a different language (for example, "3 jours" or "3 Tage"), click Advanced and then, for Language, select the appropriate language.
  8. Click Set. You will see this countdown's syntax appear where you typed the { .
  9. Enter the rest of the Expanded Text Ad's URLs, titles, paths, and ad text as usual.
  10. Click Save.
Example of a countdown in action expando image
Let's say you're going to have a big online sale. You pick 12:00 AM on February 17 as your Countdown ends date/time, enter 3 for Countdown starts, and base the date/time on the ad viewer's time zone. Here's when your ad would run and examples of how it would look:

Timeline showing when the ad would appear

With the countdown syntax, this ad's Title Part 2 would look like this when you create it: "Sale ends in {=COUNTDOWN("2018/02/17 00:00:00",”en-us”,3)}!".


After an ad's countdown ends, the ad will stop running but will retain the status Enabled. You can make the ad start running again by either:

  • Updating the ad's Countdown ends date to a point in the future, or
  • Removing the ad's countdown syntax entirely.

Best practices for Expanded Text Ads with countdowns expando image
Don't have all of the ads in an ad group use countdowns
Having a countdown in an Expanded Text Ad means that the ad won't start running until a certain date and time, and then will stop running a few days later. If all of the ads in an ad group use countdowns, it's easy to end up having no ads running for some periods of time. To ensure that you always have ads running, we recommend having at least one ad without a countdown in each ad group.
Don't have multiple countdowns in a single ad if they have different date ranges
It is possible to have more than one countdown in an ad. However, if they are based on different time ranges, the ad will only appear when the two time ranges overlap. We recommend avoiding this scenario.
Keep character limits in mind
Your ad won't be eligible to run if the countdown text pushes the total character count of the ad part over its limit. Ad title parts cannot be longer than 30 characters each, paths cannot be longer than 15 characters each, and ad text cannot be longer than 80 characters. In English, the longest possible countdown character count is 10: "xx minutes". Non-English maximum countdown character counts vary.
Choose the right time zone setting
  • If you're counting down to an event that will take place at a specific location — such as an in-store appearance, sporting event, or convention — it's probably best to base the countdown on your account time zone.
  • If you're counting down to an event that isn't tied to a specific location (like an online sale), it's probably best to base the countdown on the ad viewer's time zone.

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