Google is in the process of making substantial changes to AdWords. Recently we reported on the impact of scrapping the AdWords sidebar, and now Google’s latest innovation is Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). The rollout of ETAs will place a heavy emphasis on the importance of mobile advertising, and undoubtedly will have a huge impact on advertisers. Here we explain exactly what ETAs are, how they will change the scope of AdWords, and some steps that you can take to ensure that you make the best of their potential benefits
WHAT ARE EXPANDED TEXT ADS?
Essentially Expanded Text Ads are approximately fifty percent bigger than conventional text ads. Following the Google philosophy of “mobile first” they are designed to make the best of mobile advertising and will wrap automatically to match the size of device on which they are viewed.
In addition to their ability to adjust to the display, the major changes are:
The single 25-character headline will be replaced by two 30 character headlines
The two 35-character description line will be replaced by an 80-character description line
The URL will be extracted automatically rather than entered manually, though two paths to the domain name may be added.
THE IMPACT OF EXPANDED TEXT ADS
Following initial beta phase testing with selected advertisers, Google has reported encouraging results with reported the click-through rates of up to 20% higher than those with conventional AdWords. But will this be maintained when everybody is using them?
While this can’t yet be answered it is clear that ETAs will further relegate the importance of organic search results which are getting pushed even further down the screen; first by increasing the number of ads above the organic results after scrapping the sidebar, and now by increasing the content of paid-for ads.
MAKING THE BEST OF EXPANDED TEXT ADS
If you have ever been frustrated about the traditional restrictions of AdWords, you might be pleased to be able to say more about your products and services in your ads. Handled properly, the changes mean that you have better control over the second headline, you can deliver a longer and more creative message, and a more effective call for action. However, don’t underestimate the potential pitfalls of this extended advertising real estate.
Previously AdWords ensured that we gave a great deal of thought to every character we used; the discipline trained us to deliver short punchy messages that grabbed the attention of our target audiences. It is important that we continue to do this and avoid the temptation to use the additional text simply to add over-flowery descriptions and hyperboles that can have a negative impact on CTR.
Also it will be even more important than ever to maintain a high quality score to ensure that your ads feature on the first page and you keep the Cost per Lead within budget. As mentioned, we have yet to see the long term impact of ETAs on CTR, but if there is an overall increase, as Google hopes there will be, it could mean that the Cost per Lead or Cost per Sale increases due to reduced conversion rates.
For some time, mobile search has been gaining ground, and Expanded Text Ads is another step in this direction. The ability to deliver a consistent extended message across all platforms is a real boon for advertisers, but to make the best of its potential you need to ensure you stay at the top of the game.