Expanded Text Ads
While the advertising platform offered by Google has added new features in ad formats, reporting and automation, Expanded Text Ads will be the first change of its significance in many years.
Coming over the next several months for AdWords advertisers, this change to the numbers of characters for each line of text will give you 45 additional characters to use for repeating keywords, adding more details and clarifying your offerings. Early estimates indicate nice improvements in CTR, which should in turn drive conversions for most websites.
The current text ad format offers a single headline featuring up to 25 characters, two 35-character description lines and a manually entered display URL line. Soon enough, these new ads will have a very different format. Instead of a single, 25-character headline, there are two headline rows, each containing up to 30 characters. A single description line with a length of 80 characters replaces the two 35-character description lines. The display URL is now generated automatically from the domain, and adds two sub paths of up to 15 characters each.
There are some great examples of the before and after AdWords looks across the web. Here are some from the folks at WordStream:
The image below shows how the ads are to be configured.
Prioritizing Ad Updates
Start by looking at your top performing ads, then work your way backwards through the ad groups and campaigns. Prepare a new version of all of your top-performing ads with the new lengths of copy in mind.
Look at conversions, cost per conversion, conversion rate and CTR to determine your best-performing ads. If certain products are more valuable than others, be sure to consider the conversion value per conversion.
How to Deal with the Change
Recognize that this change can lead to great opportunities for your ads. Every advertiser should periodically update ad copy. It is easy to let many months (or even years) go by with ad copy that is mostly the same as when you started. Since people’s search patterns change, things like search terms (and many other relevant attributes) evolve and good ad campaigns take advantage of that by improving content and ad copy.
This change is also a chance for advertisers to use more of their popular search terms. The ads now have 140 characters for expressing your offerings, and they also include up to another 30 for two 15-character virtual paths. Rewrite your existing ad copy to take advantage of the new space by adding additional keywords where possible, and enhancing your description to help the best prospects decide to click through.
Here are some tips to help you get started with adapting to the new format:
Use the most popular terms in an ad group at least once in the headline text.
- Examine traffic, CTRs, and Quality Score to separate terms that belong in a new ad group.
- Consider using keyword insertion when using many broad or modified broad match phrases in an ad group.
Where logical groupings exist, use those groups or categories as parts of the new extended path space.
- For a site that has products in a heavily searched category, use that category name (look for the highest volume synonym) as the first part of the extended path, then end the path with the product or offering.
- When natural distinctions exist, such as geography for companies with sites in specific areas, consider using the city name as the first part of the path and follow it with a product, an offering, or a special feature of the products or offerings, like “FreeTrial” or “SaveOnline” to draw attention to the path.
Results are TBD
How these new ads actually perform is something that remains to be seen; however, this is a great opportunity to do some work on your ads and reevaluate the way you currently organize your keywords. Google has indicated roll-out for the summer, with some speculating these ads will see wider expansion over time, beginning in July.
While it may be later for your organization, getting ready with revised ad copy is a must for future success.