Expanded Text Ads: Lets Get Ready To Rumble!

By Tariq Elmenstirly, June 22nd 2016 in Ad copy
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Google has announced one of the biggest updates in the history of AdWords, changing the way advertisers promote and the way audiences see ads by making them even bigger.

No longer shall you be restricted or conflicted by the limitations of your creativity. No longer will you have to abbreviate words like management into mgmt, or near into nr.  No longer will you have to worry about punctuation (well maybe a little – spelling is still important).

Expanded Text Ads: What Are They and How It Affects Advertisers?

Considering the rise of mobile devices, Google had to rethink and rebuild for mobile-first. With the removal of side ads, giving a more unified experience to users across all devices, expanded text ads seemed like the next step. They are designed to naturally fit on the screens of the most popular mobile devices. Early reports have indicated up to a 20% positive impact on CTR’s so it is expected to make quite an impact for advertisers.

Google has announced that the expanded text ads will be as much as twice the current size and no longer be limited to 95 characters. Instead, this will increase to a total of 140-characters of ad copy with more prominent headlines and longer description lines to maximise presence and performance.

How Do They Look?

Attached are a couple of examples.

google adwords expanded text ads expanded text ads

Display URLs are also changing. AdWords will automatically extract the domain from the final URL. Advertisers can then add up to two paths to enhance the display URL (using up to 15 characters)

Google hasn’t officially revealed when all advertisers will have access to Expanded Text Ads, however we will keep you updated.

How To Prepare For The Change To Expanded Text Ads.

  1. Improve the Quality score (QS). QS is one of the most important metrics and it is about to become even more important so focus on improving these where applicable. Be cautious of appearing below position 2, especially on mobile devices as these expanded text ads may mean your ad becomes unseen.
  2. Rethink your ad copy. With the number of characters, look to do more than just add another headline on current running ads. Instead, evaluate the better performing ads and create a new ad copy that is more compelling and/or creative. Then conduct a/b tests and optimise again.
  3. Focus on headlines. With twice as much space and characters, the performance of text ads may predominantly be affected by it’s content and quality. If CTR’s are weak – it could be a strong indicator the headline is poor as it receives most of the attention so focus on writing the best headline possible.
  4. Effective messaging. Calls to action such as “Call Now” can be useful however with the expanded text ads – focus more on your USP’s and specific actions that center on users searching the product/service. Essentially put yourself in their shoes and think “how would this benefit me?” so they click on your ad.
  5. Prioritise which Ad groups to test by volume and impact. Decide which ad groups to test first. Think about which ad groups you would expect to benefit more from expanded text ads and test. Remember this is a new ad format and making this change across ad groups that are performing well already could risk an increase in CPA.
  6. Adjust ad rotation settings. Check if your settings are on standard text ads and change this to optimise for clicks or conversions (dependent on your goals) to avoid the old text ads showing more and give the new expanded text ads a fair chance.
  7. Monitor lost impression share. While we expect CTR’s to increase across the board, this would mean more clicks and therefore more budget spend. This is one of the reasons to prioritise ad groups as budget caps will likely be reached sooner in the day, which can lower impression share. Therefore, it may be wise to test more valuable campaigns and ad groups first. If budget is static, then look to re-adjust budget from other campaigns or alternatively lower CPC bids.

Summary: Expanded Text Ads

Expanded text ads are one of the biggest changes Google has made in over a decade and could see very positive results for advertisers. With the upgrade to expanded text ads, messaging will have more of an impact and will fit well across all devices. This could be very good news for the PPC industry but a big blow to SEO.


Tariq Elmenstirly

Tariq, also known as the snowboarding enthusiast of the team is one of our core communicators. Not only can he manage and optimise campaigns for great results, but is also an avid blogger and is always up to date with industry news

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