Paid Search (PPC)

In late May 2016, Google put on a big event to announce some pretty significant changes coming to AdWords.

One of most significant and perhaps biggest announcement at the event was expanded text ads for the search network. As a result, you will soon have text ads that will be twice as big.

How Big Will The Expanded Text Ads Be?

When the changes come into effect, you will have up to twice as many characters at your disposal. So the current 25-35-35 limit for each line will be done away and replaced with a 30-30-80 ad format. This will allow you to get more creative with your ad copy and generate more emotionally driven ads to catch the user’s eye.

Features of Expanded Text Ads

Here are the upcoming changes to each element in more detail:

Headline: This is the biggest change. You will now have two headlines at 30 characters each, instead of one line 25 characters.

Description: You will soon have just one consolidated line at 80 characters instead of two descriptions lines at 35. So while you only get an extra 10 characters for your description, it will still go a long way to creating more detailed and eye catching messages.

Display URL: AdWords will now pull through your domain automatically and you will be able to add two paths to optimise your display URL.

How Will The Expanded Text Ads Look?

At the Google Summit, the AdWords team gave everyone a first look at the new expanded text ads compared to the current ads. The examples shown below illustrate the significant difference in size. On a mobile device you get greater depth. On desktop you can now see why Google decided to scrap ads on the right side of the results pages:

Look of Expanded Text Ads

Below you can see how the changes will reflect in the AdWords interface. There’s much more space for your description, and your domain will now be automatically pulled through with better customisation of your display URL:

Expanded Text Ads in AdWords

Will the Expanded Text Ads Have an Impact on Click Through Rates?

Given the fact that your text ads will soon be twice a big on desktop and mobile devices, you might expect your click through rates to soar. Google announced at the summit that early testing of the expanded text ads generated a 20% improvement to click through rates.

When Will Expanded Text Ads to Come Into Effect?

Google began testing expanded text ads back in Q2 of 2016, but they haven’t officially revealed when the changes will come into effect. We can be sure though that it will definitely be in 2016, perhaps as early as this summer. Also expect Microsoft to apply similar changes to Bing text ads too.

How to Prepare for Change

The announcement has already started causing a few headaches. We all want to avoid missing out on better CTRs and it’s a big job to undertake depending on how big and complex your AdWords account is. So what’s my advice? Don’t panic and start planning for the change as soon as you can.

This is perhaps the biggest shake-up for AdWords in 15 years so it’s important that you’re well prepared. AdWords will simply adapt your current ads to the new format, so you don’t have to worry about ads becoming disapproved when the changes have rolled out to you. However if you decide to just let your current ads tick along and not optimise to the new format, expect your click through rate to take a hit and your competitors jump ahead of you. Not recommended!

To prepare yourself for the change, create a new Excel spreadsheet and start putting together your two new headlines, description and display URL lines for each of your campaigns and ad groups. This is a big task to undertake depending on the size of your account. So I would recommended prioritising campaigns and ad groups that receive the highest volume of traffic and then work your way across the account. Also consider setting up custom ad scheduling to help manage your time.

What do you think of Google announcement to expand text ads? We’d love to hear from you and how you plan to prepare for the changes.

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