Google announced this week that it is extending the transition period from traditional short format text ads to the new Expanded Text Ad (ETA) format. The original deadline was October 26th but Google has moved the date to Jan 31st stating that “some advertisers are still learning how to use it effectively”.
From the 31st of Jan you will no longer be able to create or edit standard text ads.
Along with the extension of the transition deadline Google has published the following tips and guidelines for ETAs:
- Test multiple versions of your Expanded Text Ads. Try different approaches with the new space your ads now have. Shoot for 3-5 new ads per ad group. Advertisers who test multiple creatives see better performance.
- Focus your testing on headlines. Headlines are the most important parts of your ads, and you now have an extra line to experiment with.
- Replicate what works in standard text ads in your Expanded Text Ads. For example, if you mention pricing or use keyword insertion in a successful standard text ad, carry those over to expanded text ads.
- Consider shorter headlines on brand terms. Sometimes “Your Company’s Name – Official Site” might be all you need. You aren’t required to use all of your available characters. Test shorter ad copy, especially on terms where someone might not need a lot of additional info.
- Leave your standard text ads running until the new versions are consistently outperforming them. An expanded text ad isn’t guaranteed to be a winner simply because you have more characters.
- Leave your top performing ads running, regardless of their length.
- Review your pre-existing ads for previous success with longer headlines. Consider promoting description line 1 in a standard text ad to your new headline 2, especially if that ad performed well in the past.
Why should you care?
Initial indications are that Expanded Text Ads do have higher clickthrough rates (CTR) and, at the time of writing, we have already rolled out the new format to our clients’ accounts (for most campaigns).
Expanded Text Ads take up more space, and give you greater opportunity to tailor your messaging. These two factors alone should be reason enough to make the move. While for those accounts with a large number of ads (you know who you are) it can be a lot of work, adding ETAs needs to be done. And anyone investing time in testing messaging and calls to action (rather than leaving it at simply reformatting the old ads) will see the benefits.
On the other hand, businesses and agencies who hold off until forced to update their ads risk their ads becoming less noticeable and getting fewer clicks. And, while we all know PPC is not just about clicks and visits, when CTR drops then Quality Scores usually follow, leading to higher cost per click prices and worse return on ad spend.
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