6-MINUTE READ · By Tina Arnoldi

Responsive Display Ads and Price Extensions are two new AdWords features that can result in more dynamic ads.  Visually appealing ads along with more room for your messaging will result in a better ROI.  If you are unfamiliar with the recent changes from Google, take a look at a recent post on here about Expanded text ads before you dive into these features.


Responsive Display Ads

Responsive display ads were launched along with Google’s Expanded Text Ads in AdWords.  These ads are automatically generated from a headline, ad description, image, and a URL. This is a great feature to have for image heavy ads since AdWords will not support flash ads after this calendar year.


Ability to choose your image

Responsive ads are eligible to display across the entire Google Display Network (GDN).

Why this new format matters is because it allows advertisers to control the image shown in the ad rather than a default to the one Google pulls from a website which may not be the best reflection of the brand. This new format opens the door for professional looking ads for people who do not have design skills.  When creating a responsive ad, you will have the option to upload your image or let Google scan your site.

But there is some fine print because Google may still auto populate your ad with an image they select from your site rather than the one specifically uploaded. (I have not seen this happen yet, but understand it is possible). Even so, the responsive part is very appealing, knowing that an ad will adapt to where it is displayed and is easy to create.


More characters for  your ad

There are more characters available for the responsive display ad copy than even the expanded text ads.  This broadens the opportunity for messaging. The primary headline for responsive display ads is 25-characters with a second headline of 90-characters and description of 90-characters. The grand total of 205 characters for a single ad is a huge deal for display advertisers! Like with the old format, Google tracks the character count so you can easily see how many characters are left for your message when you write an ad.



There are some limitations of what can be done, one of which reminds me very much of Facebook. Text cannot cover more than 20% of an image which is something Facebook generally shuts down quickly with their ads. This limitation could be a challenge for advertisers with text heavy logos.  Other style requirements require advertisers to use only the recognized name of the business in the business name field and are not permitted to use animated images. Overall, you can see it is a huge improvement to Google Display Network (GDN) ads when comparing the old and the new format side by side below.


Price Extensions

Price extensions look very similar to a Shopping Ad simply because the price is displayed in the search result for these ads.


Currently, these are only eligible to display with mobile or tablet ads and only when the result is served in the top position.  This is definitely worth testing since, like other extensions, there is no additional cost to use extensions with an ad.  Of course, the obvious first step is to ensure you have a mobile friendly website. If you are not sure, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to get a quick look at how Google views your website.


Getting started

Like other extensions in AdWords, these are created from from the Ad extensions tab by clicking red +Extension button. The basic information required is straightforward with a 25-character header, a 25-character description, price, and the landing page (Final URL). Selecting the Type will change the sample ads. In this example, you can see how a Services type extension would display in the top right.



Below is slightly different with an example of an Event type ad.


Best practices

As you can see in the above screenshot, multiple rows – price extensions – show different products and services with some basic information about the offer along with the price.  Be sure you are descriptive. I had price extensions in a campaign that listed pricing for an event as “Day 1”, “Day 2”, etc., which was disapproved by Google. You need to be more descriptive as shown above –  “Day 1- Bluegrass”.  Following best practices, the link on each extensions should take the visitor directly to the page with information about that specific item. If the multiple items in your price extensions are listed on the same page of your website, that works fine. There is no need to create a new landing page for every single item. The point is not to send people to a generic home page for everything.



Currently, Price Extensions are only available in English and for USD, CAN, GBP, EURO, AUD, and NZD currencies. Also, at least three extensions must be in the account before Google will potentially display that ad.

Advertisers can be granular at the ad group level or a little more broad at the campaign level. For example, with a limited time deal, a group can be created for a specific short-term promotion with relevant start and end dates.


There will be competition!

Competition will be fierce to get in this spot. The space alone makes this an incredible opportunity. Advertisers not only have their headline, message, and description displayed on the screen, but multiple lines depending on how many extensions are used. Searchers may see only that result when they search because those extensions push the organic listings down. If you are fortunate enough to have that top spot on mobile with price extensions displayed, you can qualify leads even before they click. Even though there are similarities to Shopping Ads, retailers running Shopping Ads should not use Price Extensions as a replacement. Instead, it will be interesting to compare the two options on mobile to determine possible differences between ads with Price Extensions compared to those created as a Shopping Ad.


Next Steps

These recent changes by Google cannot be ignored. Especially with Expanded Text ads since standard text ads cannot be created or edited after October. To implement these features in your account, start with an overview on this new format and make it a priority when you work on your AdWords account to get up to speed.

Once you have the basics down with your text ads, responsive ads are a no-brainer and are very simple to use. Those without graphic design skills can jump right into creating beautiful ads that respond to the user’s device.

And if you have a service or product with clear pricing AND a mobile friendly site, start to test this option and tweak it so you can get to – and stay at – the top of the search results on mobile devices. Although I do not immediately jump on every single feature that Google releases for AdWords, these are ones I am very excited about and know the results will be worth the investment.


About Tina Arnoldi

 Tina Arnoldi is Analytics and AdWords Qualified and one of the few people in the United States recognized as a Google Developer Expert(GDE) for marketing. Her agency, 360 Internet Strategy, is also a Google Partner. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn


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