Google Ads

Expanded text ads: more time to test and iterate

Earlier this year, we introduced expanded text ads so advertisers can provide more information about your business right in your search ad. While many have seen great results with the new, longer ad format, some advertisers are still learning how to use it effectively.

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 — you’ll only be able to create and edit text ads using the expanded text ads format. Existing standard text ads will continue to serve alongside expanded text ads.

 Expanded text ads can deliver great results, particularly for those who have invested in writing and testing new creatives. Please use this additional time to experiment with new expanded text ads of your own.

Focus on quality through testing

Over the last few months, we reviewed a lot of text ads data. It confirmed what we already know to be true: the quality of your ads matters. Extra characters don’t solve any performance problems on their own. It’s very important to be thoughtful and compelling with your additional headline and characters.

To that end, consider these best practices as you move forward with expanded text ad optimization:

  • 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 you new headline 2, especially if that ad performed well in the past.


Making a smooth transition to expanded text ads

In addition to those tips, here are a couple of things that you should avoid:

  • Don’t implement the same expanded text ad across many different ad groups. Your ads should be tailored to users’ searches.
  • Don’t blindly insert a new second headline without changing the rest of the ad. Add content that is relevant to the query and fits well with the rest of the creative.
  • Don’t write expanded text ads that lose their relevance to a user’s query. Remember that user query in your text.
Example query: articles about college financing

  • Don’t leave out specific benefits or attributes of your product that had proven to be enticing in the past. Test all of your benefits to find what works in the new format. 

Additional resources

If you’re still getting up to speed with expanded text ads, check out our best practices for creating effective ads. We’re also hosting an upcoming Hangout-on-Air to go over some of the considerations as you make this important transition.
Here’s to a successful holiday season filled with great, user-friendly text ads - be they standard or expanded.