How to Use Expanded Text Ads to Your Advantage

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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Digital marketers have a little more time to figure out Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). Google had originally planned for October 26th to be the cutoff date for advertisers to transition from Standard Text Ads, but now the date has been extended to January 31, 2017.

That’s good news for the procrastinators out there, but we advise a more proactive approach. Any change is an opportunity, expanded text ads delivering potential to seriously boost your CTR. To use them effectively, you will need to rethink your PPC strategy. Here are some ways for you to use expanded text ads to your advantage and get ahead of the competition:


Make Longer Ad Copy Count

ETAs simplify the search experience by creating more room and functionality for the headline while reducing the number of lines contained by the ad. ETAs will display two headlines next to each other, both with a maximum of 30 characters. And instead of two description lines with 35 characters each, there will be only one, longer description line with 80 characters. That is a lot more room for advertisers to play with.

It’s incredibly important that you take advantage of this extra copy because mobile users, in particular, find this extra copy helpful in their search queries. The longer descriptions give consumers more information about your business before they click on your ad, which leads to higher click-through rates.

For more details, you can check out Google’s early testing results of expanded text ads that revealed a 20 percent increase in CTRs. Long story short—use that extra ad copy to your advantage and make every character count!

There is one caveat. Google allows a total of up to 60 characters for your headlines, but they have suggested that you only use 33 characters to avoid headline truncation. This still provides more space and the ability to separate keywords and calls to action in the headline itself. Why wait for the deadline to increase your CTR by 20 percent?



Emotions > DKIs

Dynamic keyword insertion, or DKI, is an old technique but still extremely important, and very important to consider for expanded text. DKI allows you to customize an ad to the keywords of the search query, but often the resulting headline is lengthened by this practice. We have even seen a number of campaigns attempt to set DKIs in both headlines, but none of these ads are attractive.

It’s important to remember that you are working with only so many characters with your expanded text ads. Google may allow you to get away with setting DKI in both of your headlines, but this can actually decrease your CTR if you aren’t careful.

Consumers aren’t looking for an unhelpful, keyword-stuffed ad. Instead, they want a strong message that appeals to their emotions and sucks them in. This means that you need to take the time to craft headlines and descriptions for your ETAs that make them irresistible.

ETAs provide a better template with more room to communicate, but a good ad still needs to use the space wisely. One of our tricks is to insert the keyword into the URL, instead, and focus on making the message powerful.

Refresh Your Ad Extensions


You probably used ad extensions in your previous ads. Now that the deadline for expanded text ads is approaching, you are most likely updating your old ad copy, which could make your previous ad extensions redundant.

Refresh your ad extensions for the new content. The same rules apply for using ad extensions in your ads. Since they are free to use and can significantly enhance your ad’s visibility, why not take advantage of them? Just make sure you don’t have the same information in the description or in that extra headline space.

Callout extensions, structured snippets, sitelinks—there are plenty of ad extensions that can maximize the value of an AdWords campaign. Additionally, they have been shown to improve CTR and Quality Score. For us, ad extensions is less an “if” question and more about “which one.” The right ad extensions will greatly optimize your ad spend.


Finally, Don’t Forget About the Post-Click Experience!

You’ve crafted an expert ETA with compelling copy and added the right extensions for ultimate visibility, but have you given much thought to what happens once the potential customer clicks on your ad? It would be a shame to spend all that time only to let a sale slip away due to a poor landing page or difficult site navigation.

To ensure that your landing pages are set up to convert customers, our search marketing experts can audit your website for free to determine your website’s performance. With our free audit, you can make those extra little tweaks to boost conversions, taking full advantage of ETAs and that extra 20% CTR.

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