Expanded Text Ads & How To Optimise Them

AdWords text ads have been upgraded by Google to "Expanded Text Ads" - what does this mean and how can advertisers optimise the new ads?

Expanded Text Ads & How To  Optimise Them
Date: 30th August 2016
Categories: Pay Per Click Advertising, Google AdWords

Google AdWords Expanded Text Ads

On 26th July 2016, Google began to roll out a significant change to text ads. The format of the old text ads was as follows:

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Description Line 1: 35 characters
  • Description Line 2: 35 characters

The format of the new “expanded text ads” is:

  • Headline 1: 30 characters
  • Headline 2: 30 characters
  • Description Line: 80 characters

What this change means

More characters

The expanded text ads allow advertisers to use 140 characters in total across the headlines and description line – that’s 45 more characters than the old text ads. Therefore, advertisers are now able to articulate their message in more detail.

More space

More characters means more space. Larry Kim described to the additional space provided by expanded text ads perfectly:

“Imagine for a moment that you’re a painter. For years you’ve been working with a canvas that’s 30 x 20 inches. But now you suddenly have a canvas to paint on that is twice as large.”

Advertisers are artists and the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) are their canvas. Therefore, advertisers need to be creative when writing their ad copy for extended text ads and ensure that the extra space is being taken up by engaging and meaningful copy.

How to optimise expanded text ads

Split Test

Split-testing is arguably one of the most effective ways of establishing how ads can be improved. It is extremely important to test ads in a controlled environment and ensure that only one element of the ad is being tested at a time, so that any difference in the performance of the ads can be attributed to the change that is being tested.

Split testing is a continuous activity and shouldn’t stop once an advertiser feels the click through rate is at the highest it can be; as one experiment ends, create a new experiment to test other elements of the ads.

Focus on headlines

The headline of text ads has always been the most important part of the ads, however now that the headline is much longer, it is imperative that the headline is engaging and relevant to the keywords in the ad’s ad group. Advertisers also have limited control over how the second headline is displayed; Google may show both the headlines on the same line, or with the second headline underneath the first – they may even truncate the second headline if it won’t fit on a user’s device.

It is highly recommended that advertisers utilise the Ad Preview Tool to ensure that ads are appearing as they should.

Consider all devices

With Google taking back some control over the appearance of text ads, it is vital for advertisers to consider how their ads will appear on different devices. This is particularly important because expanded text ads are eligible to appear on all devices and do not come with a device preference option.

Advertisers need to think about whether the message, the length of message and the call to action in their ads are relevant to users on all devices, as they can’t be tailored to users depending on their device.

Need help upgrading to Expanded Text Ads? Contact us here and we'll help you out.

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