Expanded text ads have arrived and you can be forgiven for being a little apprehensive about such a large update to this lucrative marketing channel. Google describes the change as “the biggest update to our ad creative since we introduced AdWords more than 15 years ago”. The reasons cited by Google for this change are a focus on mobile experience “Expanded text ads are optimized for the screen sizes of the most popular smartphones”. Indeed, expanded text ads are already optimised for mobile meaning you no longer need to create separate ads from mobile devices!

Expanded text ads are available on Google Search Network and the Google Display Network and are of course supported by all AdWords tools which currently work with text ads as well as ad extensions, this will not change. What is changing however is the format in which these ads are displayed.

What’s the new headline character limit for expanded text ads?

Expanded text ads have two headlines instead of one, with up to 30 characters per headline as opposed to 25. This is more than double the retail space!

What’s the new description character limit for expanded text ads?

What was previously two lines of description has now been merged into one. So instead of two 35 character lines of description, expanded texts ads will feature one 80-character description line, which means the end of endless tinkering with your ad copy to get it to fit within two 35-character description lines!

How has the display URL changed on expanded text ads?

Gone is the display URL, and instead is the very similar use of the final URL domain with two optional “path” fields that you can include.

Expanded Text Ads Format

Image source: Inside AdWords

When will I transition from text ads to expanded text ads?

For the time being you can continue with standard text ads or move to expanded text ads, they will both continue to run. When creating new ads these will be in the expanded format by default but you will be given the option to switch back to traditional text ads. 

This will be changing on 26th October 2016! When the choice gets taken away and standard text ads can no longer be created or edited.

What does the future look like for expanded text ads and advertisers?

This is certainly a good opportunity for brands to better showcase their products and offering in expanded ads, to have more room to describe products and sell in the benefits is likely to increase click-through rate, especially on mobile. The early impact seems positive for expanded text ads with some brands reportedly doubling click-through rate!

Whilst it’s still very early days, the change is inevitable so start testing your expanded text ads now to improve your value proposition and call to action. The concept of how to write your ad copy is exactly the same, there’s just more space to do it in.

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