MacAdam Lea
By MacAdam Lea | SEM | January 25, 2017

Expanded Text Ads Replacing Standard Text Ads

Back in August 2016 Google introduced their new Expanded Text Ads. In the past, text ads have been limited to 95 total characters, but with the Expanded Text Ads we’re able to use up to 145 characters. This 50% boost in ad length helps push competitors further down the page and allows for more call to actions or product highlights in the ad itself. Nick Rennard has an excellent video blog focusing on the specifics of Expanded Text Ads that I recommend for anyone just learning about the new format.  You can see an example of the difference between Standard Text Ads and Expanded Text Ads in the image below:

Expanded Text Ad vs Standard Text Ad

SOME OF THE KEY DIFFERENCES:

  • Expanded Text Ads have two Headline Fields – In the past you were limited to 25 characters for a text ad headline, but with the Expanded Text Ads you now have two separate headline fields allowing for up to 60 total characters. Notice how the two headline fields are automatically separated by a hyphen (-), so keep that in mind when writing your ads.
  • The Description Lines have been merged – Expanded Text Ads have one long 80-character description line rather than the two separate 35 character lines used in the Standard Text Ads. It’s an increase of 10 characters for the Expanded Text Ads, and it makes it a bit easier to fit a selling point and a call to action into one line.
  • Display URL is now pulled from your Final URL – In the old Standard Text Ads you could pretty much put whatever you wanted for your Display URL, but now the URL itself is pulled from whatever your Final URL is. You can still add more detail to your Display URL in the new “Path Fields”, which you can see in the Expanded Text Ad image above (www.example.com/Example/Advertisement).

Google has been testing the new Expanded Text Ads since August and are now preparing to phase out Standard Text Ads starting on January 31st 2017. Standard Text Ads that are still live on January 31st will continue to run, but they will no longer be editable. Starting on January 31st if you want to create a new text ad it must be an Expanded Text Ad. Here are a few of the best practices that Google recommends for getting the most out of your Expanded Text Ads:

Best Practices

  • Test multiple versions of your Expanded Text Ads – Split testing is a common industry best practice that applies just as much to Expanded Text Ads as it did to the old Standard Text Ads. Always be testing multiple versions of your ads and keep rotating out the worst performers for fresh ads.
  • Focus your testing on headlines – Headlines are the most prominent part of text ads so try some different split tests here in the beginning. Adding a call to action in the second headline of an Expanded Text Ad can be a great way to clearly state what action you want a user to perform once they click on your ad (Form Fill out, phone call, etc.).
  • Replicate what worked for your Standard Text Ads in your Expanded Text Ads – If you had Standard Text Ads that have worked great in the past then try that same ad copy out on your Extended Text Ads. Just because the format is changing doesn’t mean starting from a completely blank slate.
  • Consider shorter headlines on brand terms – If a user searches your brand name then chances are they’re looking for you specifically. Don’t feel the need to use every single character in the Expanded Text Ads. It can result in unnecessary clutter when someone isn’t looking for that additional info.

Let us know in the comments what kind of success or failures you’ve had with the new Expanded Text Ads, and contact us at DRA if you’re interested in a free audit of your online advertising efforts.

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