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How to Make the Most of Google Expanded Text Ads

By Annie CallahanMar 6, 2017

Google Expanded Text Ads-2.jpgGoogle expanded text ads are here, and marketers using AdWords should be aware of how things have changed. This will have a significant impact on the results from campaigns.

If you don’t know what Google expanded text ads are, or how they could affect your advertising, it’s time to get caught up.

What is an Expanded Text Ad?

Expanded text ads are exactly what they sound like. They are simply bigger than regular text ads—two times bigger to be exact.

This extra space means more prominent headlines and longer descriptions. This change should help maximize click-throughs and draw more attention to ad content. This is good news for advertisers.

These expanded ads will be shown on all devices, from desktop computers to smartphones.

There have been relatively few changes to AdWords since it first launched. But with the proliferation and increased usage of mobile devices, Google has been looking at ways to better serve today’s mobile-first world. The emphasis on mobile is one of the main reasons you no longer see side ads, even on a desktop.

Here’s an overview of how this change will affect advertisers:

  • You can have two 30-character headlines as opposed to one 25-character headline.
  • You can have a single 80-character description line instead of two 35-character description fields.
  • Google will automatically generate a URL for your ad—you won’t have to enter it manually. You’ll still be able to customize the path, however.

Expanded text ads already are available to all advertisers; old formats were phased out in January.

Will Your Advertising be Affected?

The answer is both yes and no.

You’ll be able to create ads just as you’ve always done. You’ll need to set your targeting, monitor analytics and optimize. You’ll get more clicks and more visibility for your ads because they are bigger and because they will appear in the most prominent position in search results. Aside from that, only the character limit has changed.

However, you may need to rewrite your copy to fit the new format. As we’ve already seen, you’ll have two 30-character headlines as opposed to a single 25-character headline. You’ll want to spend some time testing various double headlines.

With the extended description, you’ll be able to enter up to 80 characters. Some advertisers will certainly want to take advantage of the extra space, but it’s also important to keep in mind that your headline is what people see first. If you’re going to obsess over one or the other, put more time and energy into crafting a compelling headline, because people aren’t looking at descriptions as much.

The extended character limit will also give you the chance to use calls-to-action, either in your headline or description.

Making the Most of Expanded Text Ads

These best practices will help you get optimal results from the new ad format.

  1. Place your main keyword in the first headline, even if it’s a long-tail keyword. This is where your most vital information should go. Use your second headline for supporting information, highlighting the benefits of the offer.

    Note: Google may trim your second headline because they are more concerned with pixel count when displaying ads than they are with character count.

  2. The description is the perfect place for your call-to-action. As noted earlier, people viewing your ad may not pay as much attention to your description as your headline, but it is the last chance you’ll have to persuade your prospect to visit your website to start their free trial, download their whitepaper, buy the product or whatever profitable action you want them to take.
  3. Use keywords in your display URL. These fields may be optional, but you can use them to highlight or recap your offer and call-to-action. If you want to use competitor names or trademark terms, this is the only field where Google will allow this (you cannot do this in your headline or description).
  4. Adjust your ads for mobile. Google introduced expanded text ads mainly to cater to mobile users. You’ll be able to preview how your ad will look on mobile before you approve it, so adjust your copy as necessary (for instance, you may want your headline to appear on a single line instead of two lines).
  5. Improve your quality score, this will help you get better results from AdWords overall. This ensures your ads are relevant to users, which helps you get more clicks, and sends a signal to Google that people are finding your ad relevant and valuable. Including keywords in your headline and display URL fields, and using the maximum number of ad extensions can help you increase your quality score.

Make Your Ads Stand Out

If you’re inundated with tasks that take precedence over your advertising campaigns, don’t obsess over these changes to AdWords. You can make small tweaks to your existing ads and test them. What was working for you before should still work now, and you can simply make quick adjustments to fit the new format instead of completely rewriting your ad copy snippets.

For most, this will be a good time to review or audit ads to ensure you’re getting the best ROI possible. Small tweaks to your ad copy should help you take advantage of new character limits, and if your ads aren’t adequately focused on specific keywords, now would be the time to ensure all ads have a clear focus.The 2017 Guide to Paid Media

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Annie Callahan
The Author

Annie Callahan

As a paid media and SEO manager, Annie has extensive knowledge and experience in digital marketing with expertise in SEO and PPC as a Google Certified Professional. She brings years of agency experience to Kuno, working with companies to strategize and execute successful search marketing programs.
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