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Google releases expanded text ads

Expanded text ads

I recently attended a webinar on Google's latest release Expanded Text Ads (ETA). The webinar was facilitated by an exceptional PPC company Wordstream. This post discusses the most important aspects of that webinar and what it means for your PPC account.

In short:

  • Google's expanded text ads allow for the use of 47% more characters;
  • Wordstream reports expanded text ads have resulted in 20% higher click through rates (CTR) across campaigns;
  • With expanded text ads we are no longer able to differentiate ads across devices;
  • Old style text ads will be phased out by Google towards the end of 2016 / early 2017;
  • If we have not converted our ads to ETAs by then, our ads will simply not show.

Text ads as we know them

Text ads as we know them

The image above shows Google text ads as we know them:

  • Title => 25 characters
  • Description 1 => 35 characters
  • Description 2 => 35 characters
  • Display URL => 35 characters

These are very tight and we became wordsmiths trying to write meaningful and enticing copy within these parameters.

Google Expanded Text Ads or ETAs

The new Expanded Text Ad

As we can see, with Expanded Text Ads, Google has given us a LOT more space to write copy. This is 47% more space. In addition:

  • Two headlines, not one
  • 2 x new 15 character URL paths
  • 80 character description

Which ad would you click on??

Which ad would you click on?
The new Expanded Text Ad in action - which ad would you click on?


A few key points

The ability to add 'Old style ads' will last until the

26th October 2016

Standard  ads will stop serving sometime in

Q4 2016 / Q1 2017

It would be advisable to start converting now. 

A few best practices

Wordstrem has been experimenting with Expanded text ads and has come up with the following 7 best practices:

  1. Write NEW ads, don't just convert existing ads.With ads that had been converted negative performance figures were recorded. With the practice of writing new ads for ETAs, up to 400% increase in click through rates were recorded by Wordstream. Realistically across campaigns CTR is increasing up to 20% which is still impressive. 
  2. Include the most important messages in the headlines;
  3. Headline #1 is more important than headline #2;
  4. Don't pause old ads right away - this is so as to be able to benchmark and improve the ETAs over the transition period;
  5. Write cross-device ads. 90% of users use multiple screens (move between devices) sequentially to complete a task. With ETAs we are unable to write mobile specific ads. If we want to target mobile, then we need to make mobile only campaigns;
  6. Include top keywords within the display URL paths;
  7. Update extensions.

Contact me

If you need help with your AdWords, please do not hesitate to contact me. Otherwise please leave a comment below.

Patrick Bands

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