How to Make the Most of Google AdWords’ Expanded Text Ads

Google Adwords Expanded Text Ads · 6-MINUTE READ · By Misty Faucheux on August 8 2016 ·

Leveraging the Potential Power of Double Headlines and Longer Descriptions.

After months of  announcement, Google has finally released the Expanded Text Ads (ETA) for AdWords campaigns, and now marketers have more room to advertise their goods and services. You, however, need to know the potential and potential risks of these new ads. We’ve pulled together a guide to help you understand the new ads and what you should be doing now to prepare for the permanent change.

 

Understand New Guidelines

The new expanded text ads are optimized to fit the screens that most people use nowadays – mobile. Google states that they updated the text ads because “longer ad headlines are more useful to mobile users because they provide additional information about your business before they click your ad”.

The new expanded text ads include:

  • Two headline fields as opposed to the single one on the standard text ads, accommodating up to 30 characters each versus 25.

  • One long description field (up to 80 characters versus 35*2) as opposed to two short description fields.

  • One display URL section. No more need to input both a display and final URL. The ads will just pull your display URL from your final URL.

  • Two “Path” fields (up to 15 characters each). The path fields allow you to add two or more of your keywords to your website’s domain – but they don’t have to match the final URL. For example, if your final URL is http://supermetrics.com/blog/#!quickly-improve-google-analytics-skills, your display URL could be http://supermetrics.com/google/analytics-guide.

 

Use the Path Fields

While the Path fields may be optional, don’t ignore them. Always take advantage of this opportunity. Why?

Well, as marketers, we’re constantly instructed to use our top search keywords in our ads to improve the likelihood of someone clicking on it. While sage advice, sometimes it’s difficult to ensure that the main keywords are in every ad because maybe we’re testing messaging or simply don’t want every ad to sound alike.

The amazing part of the Path fields is that you can still use your top keywords without ever having to put them in the headlines or description. You simply add them to the display URL.

To use the new Path fields, simply:

  • Go into your Campaign and Ad Group.

  • Click Ads, +Ad and then Text Ad.

  • Start filling out your Final URL, Headline and Description copy.

  • In the Path section, Add Keywords.

  • Save ad.

 

Don’t Turn Off All of Your Current Ads

While standard text ads may no longer be accepted after October 26, that doesn’t mean that you should rush to turn off all of your current ones. In fact, a recent study by Merkle reviewed early results of click-through rates on the new expanded text ads, and the results are mixed.

  • 16-percent lift in CTR for median site and ad groups on desktop

  • 4-percent lift in CTR for mobile phones

  • 8-percent lift in CTR for tablets

For the latter two, this is far lower than the 20-percent increase in CTR that Google promised.

 

google-expanded-text-ads-nonbrand-ctr-merkle

 

Tip: Add a few new expanded text ads into your mix, and see how they do. Don’t convert all your ads to the new format. You may suffer drastic drops in clicks.

Hopefully by the time the standard ads go away, we’ll see improvements here.

 

Don’t Try to Recycle Your Old Ads

You’re going to have to write new ads. Yes, it’s going to be a pain, but it’s necessary.

You can’t just add more words to your current ads and hope for the best. Your ads need to make sense. Plus, the goal of the new ads is to give advertisers more room to create more compelling copy.

WordStream recommends

  • Using the extra characters to bolster your existing offers and to improve CTAS

  • Updating your ad extensions since they might be redundant with the new ad copy.

These ads eliminate the need to create mobile-only ads since they allow you to speak to people across all devices. You can still make mobile-only ads, but it’s not necessary.

 

Experiment with AdWords Script

 In case you don’t want to new ads from scratch, check out this AdWords Script tool. It provides a “starting point” (make note of that) for new ads by fetching the title tag of a website and breaking it up into two lines of 30 characters.

Most title tag lengths are between 50 and 60 characters – which makes them rather ideal for headlines.

 

 

The tool also grabs the website descriptions and converts those into the new, longer description. The problem with the latter, however, is that most descriptions are more than 80 characters. The script simply truncates the sentence at the last full word before it goes over 80 characters.

HoweverI’d recommend using this for inspiration only. Especially if you’re having trouble coming up with new ads for a client or stakeholder, the script could provide some brain fodder. Don’t use it beyond that.

 

Preview Ads Before Launching

With the standard text ads, you can easily start a thought or sentence in one description line, and finish it in the next. When the ads come up on desktop, the page is long enough to make it a single description. On mobile, it’s neatly broken up into two lines.

 

With the new text ads, however, you need to be careful with this. Allowing the headlines to run into each other, or one of the headlines into the description can lead to some goofy-looking ads.

 

 

Preview the ads carefully before the launch to ensure that your headlines are two distinct sentences. AdWords provides a preview of both the mobile and desktop versions on the right-hand side of the setup screen. If you’re generating them in AdWords Editor, you’ll have to go into AdWords to preview the ads.

 

 

Update Ads in AdWords Editor

Since its launch, AdWords Editor has been one of the best tools to update multiple campaigns, or copy ads, ad groups or whole settings into a new campaign. Google has released an update to the AdWords Editor that lets you make and edit the new expanded text ads.

  • Download the latest version of Google AdWords Editor.

  • Open up Editor, and then your account if you have multiple.

  • Select the Campaign and Ad Group.

  • Choose Ads-> Expanded Text Ads.

  • Click on Add expanded text ad.

  • Post your new changes to AdWords.

 

 

Update Your Reports Built with Supermetrics

The AdType for the expanded text ads in reports is EXPANDED_TEXT_AD so you can distinguish them from current ads. You can choose to include the following fields into your AdWords reports:

  • HeadlinePart1
  • HeadlinePart2
  • Description
  • Path1
  • Path2

To ensure that you’re capturing all the latest statistics, refresh the data in your Supermetrics reports by either scheduling a daily refresh or hitting the refresh button.

 

Takeaways

Since the ads only recently launched, we can’t say whether they will be click-through saviors or simply another dud in the history of online marketing. You should, however, start experimenting with the ads and see what is working for you and/or your clients.

We will all be pushed to use these in a few months. So, don’t wait until the last minute to begin testing the new ads to see what is and is not working. And use these tips since they’ll help you navigate the new world order of AdWords.

 

 

About Misty Faucheux

20140725_0031Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Flickr.