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Why You Should Update to Expanded Text Ads Now!

Written by:   |  Search Engine Marketing  |  October 12, 2016  |  0 comments

Do you ever experience FOMO (fear of missing out)? In our industry, things change quickly and it’s easy to miss out on emerging trends and products if you don’t keep your eyes open. That’s why our team is continuously watching for new developments, and constantly harassing Google into granting us beta access to stay ahead of the game. This is how we learned that Google was making the biggest change in 15 years by introducing Expanded Text Ads (ETAs).

New Google Expanded Text Ads

If there’s one thing you should have FOMO about in the digital world right now, it’s ETAs. Officially released to all AdWords users on July 26, this change is about to impact everyone who is using AdWords. Don’t miss out on this trend!

What’s the Difference?

It has always taken a creative balance to fit the ad copy into the prescribed character limits; 25 for the headline, and 35 for each description line (left image below). But now our specialists have been given new rules to play with, as ETAs get two, 30 character headlines and one, 80 character description line (right image below). That’s 45 more characters to convey our client’s message and to capture the user’s attention!

expanded text ads example 1

Standard Text Ads vs. Expanded Text Ads

Why the Hype?

You can see right away in the comparison above that the expanded ads are much more robust and also take up more of the page. But how is that going affect your performance?

  1. More space = more clicks – Google has reported that advertisers using ETAs are seeing increases in click through rate (CTR) compared to standard ads. In some cases, up to double the CTR has been reported! While your CTR may not be double, you’ll likely see an increase in CTR compared to standard ads.
  2. More space = more messaging – Up until now, the toughest part of ad copy writing was finding ways to fit full phrases into each description line. Now we have two headlines and a continuous, 80 character description line to work with. Whether that means adding more brand messaging, promotional offers, or product descriptions, we can now give the user more information to encourage them to visit your site. How you decide to use the extra space depends on your strategy, but you have more freedom to say what you really want.
  3. More space = more page domination – More space being used by your ads means you’re pushing your competitors’ ads further down the page. On mobile, this means owning more of the extremely valuable screen real estate.
mobile domination

Expanded Text Ads (left) vs. Standard Text Ads (right) on Mobile

When Should I Update My Ads?

As soon as you can! If the reasons above don’t convince you to update them now, here’s a few more to really hit home.

  1. Google is phasing out standard ads on January 31, 2017 This means you will only be able to create expanded text ads after this date. Your standard text ads will still show, but Google will start to put them in expanded form, which will look bad as it is basically stretching out the regular sized ads to make it work with the new format.
  2. If you switch your ads early, you’ll be ahead of the game. Testing this new format early in the game will give you a head start on the best ways to use the ETAs. Remember, this is a new challenge for all advertisers, and it will be a race between you and your competitors to see who can figure out the best way to use this new unit for your industry. If you get there first, you’ll reap the benefits!
  3. There’s nothing to lose. Google does its homework and tests everything meticulously before making new products available. If it wasn’t going to work better than standard ads, they wouldn’t have changed it.

Getting Ahead of the Game

Google has highlighted some best practices to consider when creating or testing your new ads:

  1. Don’t just add lines to your existing copy – While this may seem like the quick and dirty way to get the benefits of ETAs, this may not drive the best results. You have the opportunity to say things you’ve never said before – take advantage of it!
  2. Focus on headlines – The headlines get a lot of attention when it comes to what users see first, and how Google ranks your ad. Good headlines can go a long way, great headlines will drive great results.
  3. Test, test, test! – The glory of online advertising is that the data tells a story. If you’re not sure if something will work, test it! You’ll never know what works until you try it out.

At Vovia, all new ads will be created in the expanded text format so that your new ads are using the most up to date format. If you are running standards and need help expanding them, drop us a line!

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