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Google Expands Your Search Ads AGAIN! What You Need to Know

August 22, 2018

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!

search-result-new-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.

What Changes Are Happening to Your Ads?

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

Ad Component

Previous

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

Are My Old Ads Going Away?

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!

How Do Google’s New & Improved Expanded Text Ads Perform?

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.

Will My New ETAs Always Show All 3 Headlines & 2 Descriptions?

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!

What’s the Difference Between Improved ETAs & Responsive Search Ads?

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.

google-new-expanded-text-ads

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.

Want to Get the Most Out of Your New & Improved ETAs?

We’re excited to start testing these new and improved ETAs and will be learning a lot over the next few weeks. If you want to be the first to learn how to make the most out of the largest ads on the SERP, join us for a special webinar on Wednesday, September 12 at 2 pm Eastern.

Mark Irvine

Mark Irvine

Mark is a Senior Data Scientist at WordStream, focused on research and training for the everchanging world of PPC. He was named the 5th Most Influential PPC Expert of 2017 by PPC Hero.