AdWords Extends Timeline for Transition to Expanded Text Ads

Google knew they were making news when they announced Expanded Text Ads at their annual performance summit in May. The standard ad format of 25/35/35 characters had been the norm since AdWords was introduced in 2000. The change to the SERP with ETAs is a BIG one (quite literally – ETAs are 50% larger than the traditional ad format) and may be the largest change to AdWords in 16 years!

Just two months later, Google released Expanded Text Ads to all advertisers with the forewarning that advertisers would only have three months to transition all their ads to the new expanded ad format, as AdWords would no longer support the creation of new standard text ads after October 26.

The short transition timeline was stressful to small and large advertisers alike, many of whom realized that the October 26 deadline would mean adjusting to an unfamiliar new ad format right during the middle of their holiday seasons in November and December. Gratefully, Google seemed to be sensitive to SEMs’ concerns when they announced yesterday that they’d be allowing advertisers three more months to create standard text ads before retiring the standard ad format on January 31, 2017.

On the official AdWords blog, Google reports:

“To make sure you have ample time to test and iterate your expanded text ads for the holidays, we are giving advertisers more time to upgrade your creatives. You now have until January 31, 2017, to make the transition to expanded text ads (instead of the original date of October 26, 2016). This means starting on January 31, 2017, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit standard text ads.”

This means that advertisers rushing to meet the original deadline in six weeks can take a quick breath of relief and make sure they’re creating their best ads for their holiday season.

So I Can Wait Until January to Create Expanded Text Ads?

Absolutely not! We still recommend that you create Expanded Text Ads now. We’ve seen countless clients have early success with this new ad format, with some advertisers seeing their CTR DOUBLE after transitioning to Expanded Text Ads!

But not all advertisers have had success with expanded text ads on their first try – some saw their CTRs or conversion rates drop after creating their first expanded text ads! It really depends how you use the extra space. Smart advertisers will take the extra three months to test creative new expanded text ads and discover the new best practices for expanded text ads. After testing your expanded text ads alongside your other ads, advertisers will be confident that when they’re forced to only create expanded text ads in January, they’ll be ready with their best paid search ad copy.

The delayed timeline should also help Bing Ads advertisers make the transition to Bing’s expanded text ads later this year. Bing Ads is currently testing their expanded text ad format in pilot but doesn’t expect all advertisers to have access to the new ad format until this December. This means that advertisers will have more time to test what works well on Google and import their best performing expanded text ads over to Bing when they’re ready.

Google has given advertisers 16 years to perfect their traditional ad format, but that era is quickly coming to an end. We may have gotten three more months with our old text ads, but the future is clear – Expanded Text Ads are coming and they’re here to stay.

Data Sources

Data is based on a sample size of 11 accounts (WordStream clients) using Expanded Text Ads on the Google Search Network in June 2016.

About the author:

Mark is a Senior Data Scientist at WordStream with a background in SEM, SEO, and Statistical Modeling. He was named the 14th Most Influential PPC Expert of 2016 by PPC Hero. You can follow him on TwitterLinkedIn, and Google +.

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