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Google Expanded Text Ads - Again!

March 6, 2019 | Northwoods Team, Your Trusted Digital Trail Guides

5 Minute Read

Why did Google expand text ads? (By the way, Bing did it, too.) What does expansion mean for you and your Google Ad campaigns?

What Exactly Did Google Expand?

Google text ads now offer:

  • Three headlines (up from two)
  • Two descriptions (up from one)
  • 90character descriptions (up from 80)

In Q2 of 2016, Google’s ad character limit rose from 95 to 140. Now, the company has expanded text ads from 140 characters to 270. Here’s an example of Google’s new expanded text ads in action:

Example of a Google Text Ad

How Do Google Expanded Text Ads Impact Performance?

With the first expansion, in 2016, the consensus within the paid search industry held that the increased character count alone drove a 20 percent increase in Click-Through Rate.

Google’s latest expanded text ad rollout, in Q3 of 2018, also appears headed for CTR success. Early data from Google and Wordstream show a 28 percent jump in CTR for Google new expanded text ads.

CPA has improved along with CTR. Theoretically, a user who sees more information before clicking, will be a more qualified visitor to your landing page.

At Northwoods, we’ve performed numerous ad tests in all the accounts we manage for clients. We’ve compared old format ads to new, expanded text ads. Expanded text ads won across the board:

Old format ads compared to new expanded text ads.

Key Considerations In Creating Expanded Text Ads

1. Headline No. 3 and description No. 2 do not always show!

This is extremely important to internalize and think about while you write your ads. Be absolutely sure to place the most essential information in your No. 1 and No. 2 headlines and in your description No. 1, because you cannot count on No. 3 and No. 2.

As you create your ads within the Google Ads interface, toggle between mobile and desktop views to see how your ad copy is likely to appear in each format. Note how your copy displays; consider whether your audience will interact with your ads primarily on mobile, primarily on desktop, or in a fairly even split.

2. Use your past and current best-performing ads as a basis for your new ads.

Digital advertising = creativity + data. If you’ve tested ads and the tests show winning copy in the old text ad format, use that as a starting point. Create new, expanded text ads with similar messaging, but add new selling points and calls to action. Test some fresh messaging if you like, but start with your proven winners.

3. Don’t shut off all your old ads and replace them with new ones.

Ad performance generally – but not always -- improves with expanded text ads. More words = more variables = more room for error. Instead leaping blindly into the new expanded text ads, test a handful of new ads against your best ad in the old format.

Digital marketing gives you the power to test. Use it. Don’t simply take the word of other marketers with completely different campaigns. Test expanded text ads. Gather data. Prove that the new ads win before pausing your old ones.

4. Bing’s expanded text ads.

Expand your reach. Include your new ads within your Bing account to migrate from Google.

Expanded Text Ads – Benefits Beyond CTR

  • We get it. Expanded text ads improve ad performance. But there’s more: Expanded search engine real estate increases your visibility.
  • Increased opportunity to include unique selling points, calls to action and brand messaging.
  • New variables allow for more ad testing, optimizing, and better longterm performance.
  • Fine tuning of user expectations before users click on your ad.

Bottom Line: Should I Create Expanded Text Ads for All Campaigns and/or Accounts?

Yes. Update all accounts to the new expanded text ad format. Failing to do so means losing traffic and business to competitors with the brains and drive to take advantage of the new format.