Update: Expanded text ads are retiring on June 30, 2022. Learn seven things to do with your ETAs and RSAs before then!
– – Original post – –
When Google first released Expanded Text Ads in 2016, advertisers rejoiced. Overnight, ads grew 50% in size and the possibilities for new ad copy seemed endless. On average, advertisers saw their ads’ click-through rates (CTR) increase by 20% after making this change.
But over the past two years, so much has changed. Our devices have become larger. We search more often, for more specific answers, and need more information. 140 characters wasn’t enough for Twitter, and Google realized the same thing.
That’s why today, Google is improving your Expanded Text Ads by making them even larger – by adding an extra headline and description to all your expanded text ads!
As of today, this new ad format is available NOW in the Google Ads UI.
Let’s review what’s actually changing and what you need to do about it.
2021 update: ETAs are still available to advertisers, but they are no longer the default ad type in Google Ads. Learn more here.
Today’s improvements to your Expanded Text Ads will give you even more space and opportunity to differentiate yourself from competitors on the SERP. You’ll now be able to have three 30-character headlines (compared to just two headlines available previously).
In addition, Google is adding a second description line and expanding both descriptions to contain 90 characters (compared to just one 80-character description). These improvements mean your ads can now be nearly twice as large, with up to 300 total characters
Expanded Text Ads
|New & Improved
Expanded Text Ads
|# Headlines Shown||2||Up to 3|
|Headline Length||30 Characters||30 Characters|
|Domain||Taken from your ad’s Final URL||Taken from your ad’s Final URL|
|# Display URL Path Fields Shown||2 (Optional)||2 (Optional)|
|Display URL Path Field Length||15 Characters||15 Characters|
|# Descriptions Shown||1||Up to 2|
|Description Length||80 Characters||90 Characters|
|Total Max Length||170||300|
No! The ads you were running yesterday will not go away or stop serving. Google has no plans to stop serving the smaller ETA format or even the older Standard Text Ads in the foreseeable future.
Of course, these older and smaller ad formats will become relics of the past as your competitors start using these giant Expanded Search Ads, so now may be a great time to update your ads to take advantage of this new ad format!
Google found these larger ads received 15% more clicks than other ad formats. This is similar to what Google said when they first released Expanded Text Ads in 2016. During that transition, we saw that advertisers increased their ad CTR by an average of 20% after making the change.
But even though ETAs were ultimately successful, many found that migration difficult. One out of three advertisers originally learned that larger ads didn’t necessarily mean better ads. Don’t immediately pause your older ads. Test your new larger ads alongside your old ads, monitor their performance, and tweak your ads until you’re confident they perform better than your old ads.
No! On smaller screens, if there is not enough space for a 300-character ad, your ad may show without the third headline or second description. However, your first and second headlines and first description will always show, just like they currently do.
With that in mind, make sure to write your ads so that they’re still great with just 2 headlines and 1 description. Use the third headline and second description to enhance and reinforce your messaging, but include any critical information in these fields, as they may not show!
Google also recently announced that Responsive Search Ads would be coming out of beta very soon. Just like the improved ETAs, Responsive Search Ads also show up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions, totaling up to 300 maximum characters.
Unlike Responsive Search Ads, though, Google’s improved ETAs offer full control over how your ads will show on the SERP. Responsive Search Ads will mix and match up to 15 different headlines and 4 descriptions and can be arranged in any number of 43,680 different ad permutations.
While that might be an exciting opportunity, it also may be terrifying to some advertisers who are worried about controlling their brand’s message or want to have more insight into how to improve their ads. Google’s new extra-extra-large ETAs will always serve the same messages in the same order and give you the most control over how your ads appear on the SERP.
Mark is the Director of PPC at SearchLab Digital. Previously, Mark worked at WordStream and was named the Most Influential PPC Expert of the Year by both PPC and Microsoft.
See other posts by Mark Irvine
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