This past July, Google launched their new expanded text ads in Adwords to replace their old standard ads. This is the largest change to Adwords since it was first launched 15 years ago.
The expanded text ads (ETAs) are designed to maximize presence and performance for mobile searches. However, these changes also apply to desktop users as well. ETAs feature wraparound text for optimization on all devices.
While these ETAs are expected to improve the user experience, boost click through rates, and boost conversion, it also means that businesses and agencies around the world will have to adjust ads and create new ones to take advantage of these changes.
Changes in Expanded Text Ads
The most important change in expanded text ads from standard ads is that now, advertisers have almost 50% more text allowance than before. The previous allowance was 25/35/35 – 25 characters for a heading, and two 35-character lines for a description. Now, it’s been increased drastically to 30/30/80 – two headings at 30 characters each and an 80 character description. This provides a much greater opportunity to convert users.
Another important change is that the display URL automatically extracts the domain from your final URL to ensure accuracy. You can add two extra path fields at 15 characters each. For example, www.vivosweb.com/expanded-ads/guide/.
You can continue to create standard ads until October 26, 2016. After this, you’ll be unable to create or import standard ads and will be required to use ETAs. Google won’t be removing standard ads yet completely, however, as they want to give businesses enough time to get fully accustomed to ETAs. There’s no word yet on when standard ads will be completely eliminated from Adwords.
Google is also introducing device bid adjustments. You can no longer create ads separately for mobile devices, but you can manage your bids for them. The new adjustments will allow you to manage your campaign for users across devices and give you an opportunity to come up with new bidding strategies. These will take some getting used to, but the freedom to manage campaigns across devices is a welcome addition.
With all these changes, early statistics showed that the click through rate of ETAs increased an average of 20% over standard ads. As changes continue to roll out and businesses get used to the new format, we could see a sharp increase in CTRs and conversions in the coming months.
Taking Advantage of These Changes
So how can businesses and agencies take full advantage of all these exciting changes?
Firstly, and the most time consuming, is to rewrite ads. Simply adding a second heading or rearranging your existing ad isn’t going to attract attention as well as those who take full advantage of the added space. Remember, you wrote your existing ads with certain limitations in place. It makes sense that now that these limitations have changed, you should change your text as well.
In writing new ad copy, it’s best to keep the most important information in the headlines. Many users won’t read past the second headline. The first headline is the most important, as Google has stated there may be situations where they truncate the second headline (even if it’s within the character limit). You can see a preview of your ad while you’re creating it, so you should be aware of a truncation, but this may not always be the case.
Also ensure that you’re speaking to users across devices. Since you can no longer target ads for mobile vs. all users, you have to make sure that all your ads will speak to all users no matter the device they’re using. Writing ‘Shop on your mobile today!’ won’t appeal to someone who saw your ad on a desktop search.
The path fields, an addition for ETAs, are a great place to target keywords. Having these extra 30 characters to target locations and keywords will help increase the ad ranking and relevance for the user. Although adding this path field is optional, it’s a great way to give your ad more credibility and build trust with the user.
Because ETAs have just been launched, businesses are still experimenting and learning to see what works and what doesn’t. Take time before the end of October to compare your new ETAs with your old standard ads, see what variations perform best, and see how you can improve your ETAs. Experimenting using various campaigns with different text, calls-to-action, and tone is necessary to learn how to get the most out of your ETAs. Overwhelmed? VivosWeb can help with your Adwords management in updating or creating expanded text ads for you.
Have you tried Google expanded text ads yet? Let us know what you think in the comments!