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What We Know So Far About Expanded Text Ads

17/08/2016
A 7 minute read

In July Google officially launched expanded text ads. These extra-long ads have double headlines which are optimized for the screen sizes of the most popular smartphones, featuring two headlines, each with 30 characters and one 80-character description line.

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This places the focus on headlines, allowing you to fit more information in. Standard text ads will be shown alongside expanded text ads until October 26th this year, when you’ll no longer be able to create or edit standard text ads.

What We Know

There have been problems with the second headline getting cut off, with Google suggesting keeping the character count at 33 across headline 1 and 2. Google has published a new best practices guide on using Expanded Text Ads and device bidding, which will also be getting a big update. This can happen to descriptions as well, however Google has said it “generally won’t be truncated” if it shows the full ad in the Ad Preview Tool.

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As it rolls out Separate device bidding, which allows advertisers to set base bid adjustments for mobile, tablet and/or desktop, over the next few months, Google is pushing its automated Smart Bidding tools, recommending advertisers not to go back to separating their campaigns by device type.

Dynamic keyword insertion is supported in Expanded Text Ad headlines, however, there is no more mobile preferred option. This is a significant change for advertisers who have been writing distinct ad copy for mobile – the only option now is to designate a separate mobile landing page.

Testing methodologies

Google has been telling advertisers that they should completely rethink their ad messaging with Expanded Text Ads.

Brad Geddes of Certified Knowledge and PPC ad testing and management software company Adalysis says advertisers using his software are primarily doing these three things:

  1. Taking current ads and ensuring the first description line ends in a full stop to get extended headlines then creating expanded text ads with almost the exact same text and testing to see which does better.
  2. Try moving their d1 vs d2 as the new h2, allowing them to see if they should focus more on benefits or calls to action in these titles.
  3. Testing short vs long descriptions to see if it makes a difference.

Brand and non-brand Click Through Rate Trends

Sophie Newton from UK-based agency Brainlabs says they have seen “ETAs of 10-30% higher CTR with CPCs up to six percent lower… Going a bit deeper into device, we’ve seen the best CPC improvements with tablet ETAs and the best CTR improvements with mobile ETAs.”

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