New Generation Text Ads Put User Experience First

12 July, 2017

In the biggest creative change since AdWords was first introduced, Google has evolved its service to close the gap between desktop and mobile devices. With right-hand side ads no longer available and a high focus on a mobile-first world, Google’s next generation of text ads continues to put the user experience at the forefront.  

Advertisers will now be given two headlines of 30 characters each, 80 characters for a single description line, and two optional path fields for the display URL worth 15 characters each. That’s a total of almost 50% more text to highlight products and services, providing consumers with that much more reason to click through to your website.

Given that original text ads will eventually be retired, advertisers must use this time to test whether expanded text ads work for them and their industry. You may endure some short term pain as you rethink your ad copy and create new communications, but this is necessary in order to gain invaluable insights. A Found Digital, we’re making this transition easier for you by sharing what we’ve found out and the best practices we’ve implemented. Don’t worry — it’s easy and effective!

Do Expanded Text Ads work better than Standard Ads?

Found Digital has access to a range of beta programs that allow us to test new AdWords features before their official public launch. We use these programs to gain invaluable data and insights in order to best cater for each and every client. The expanded text ads are no exception and we used this time to assess whether the change was for the better.

The tables above contain the results of two tests conducted for two clients within very different industries. These tests were isolated to lower funnel, non-branded keywords that indicated medium-to-high customer purchase intention.


How do I write the best Expanded Ads?

1. Write Ads from scratch

The quickest and easiest method is to use the existing ads and add in a second headline, but doing this is effectively saying the same thing using more words, and it doesn't necessarily make the ad more compelling to users. Although most advertisers have seen a CTR increase from expanded text ads, the benefits are noticeably larger for those that have written entirely new ads. Doing this allows advertisers to supplement existing offers and include more value propositions than was previously possible with standard text ads. The focus should be on what makes a product or service unique and testing new CTAs that might work even better than the existing ones.


Example of an old ad

Example of a new ad

2. Include the most crucial messages in the headlines

Despite the new 80-character description being the largest field in the expanded text ads, it still attracts far less attention than the two headlines. Therefore, you should include the most important messages in the headlines. When it comes to A/B testing for expanded text ads, it is recommended that you focus more on the headlines, as you’ll find that these are the aspects of the ad that improves the CTR the most.

3. Headline #1 is more important than headline #2

Both headlines can be up to 30 characters long, however, headline #1 will always appear consistently, while headline #2 can appear in a number of different ways: for example, it can extend the length of headline #1, appear after a line break, or, if it’s too long, it may be truncated. Although Google’s Ad Preview tool can show you how headline #2 should appear, there’s no certainty that it will appear how you want it to. Due to this fact, it is recommended that you include the most important information in headline #1.

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

4. Include relevant keywords in the path fields

With the new expanded text ads, there is no longer a need to manually specify the domain for each ad as this is automatically pulled from your final URL to your display URL. That being said, advertisers have the option to add up to 2 path fields to append to their display URL. Including keywords relevant to your ad groups in the path fields is highly recommended, as this can improve your ad’s quality score and effectively reduce your CPC.


5. Make sure your Ads speak to all devices

Previously, advertisers were able to create mobile preferred ads to serve different ads on mobile devices. Expanded text ads, however, have no device preference. This means the same ad will be served on all devices (desktop, tablet and mobile). Since a large proportion of Google searches occur on mobile, it is important that the new expanded text ads speak to users across all devices. More specifically, ensure that the CTAs included in the ad are universal and make sense on all the different devices. For those advertisers who have existing mobile preferred ads in their ad groups, expanded text ads are just as eligible to show on mobile and so there is no way around this.

6. Don’t pause the old Ads immediately

Although expanded text ads are eligible to show for all your keywords at all times, it is recommended to hold off pausing your old ads until you are happy with the performance of the expanded text ads, as there is no guarantee that they will outperform the old ads. Best practice would be to introduce expanded text ads to all your ad groups (alongside the old ads) and monitor performance. If performance of the expanded text ads isn’t as good as your old ads, then keep testing them until you are satisfied with their performance, and then you can pause all of the old traditional format ads.

Talk to Found Digital’s Search Engine Marketing team about how we can optimise new generation text ads for your business:

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