It is all change at Google ads recently with the recent rebrand as reported by Clear Ads, the changes to the UI and now changes to the ads themselves.
It has been around two years now since Google first rolled out its Expanded Text Ads, and although the process of change and migration was a headache for many, the benefits are starting to become apparent.
The reason Google pushed out Extended Text Ads was two-fold: to give advertisers using the format more space for targeted copy and to help push Google’s Ad services toward the rapidly emerging mobile-device market. It was a smart move – as Google’s moves usually are – and now Google is pushing ahead with more changes to the format of its text ads.
The new Headline 3 and Description 2 fields will again give advertisers more space for copy, but these expanded fields will also make it easier for the search engine to provide more detailed, targeted information to users of the platform when searching.
Below, we’re going to run through the new fields and tell you exactly what they mean, as well as outlining the potential benefits of the new Text Ads formulation.
The New Google Text Ad Fields
While Text Ads from Google have proven enormously beneficial to millions of businesses and advertisers, the old format did throw up some annoying compromises when it came to the information you could impart. With only two headlines to work with, advertisers using the platform regularly had to decide what information or content to leave out of an ad. When it came to choosing between things like the company or product name, the site address and other information, something had to fall by the wayside.
But now that problem is gone. With three headlines to play around with, advertisers can decide what they want to include rather than what they have to leave out. When it comes to an overarching, branded message, Headline 3 is the perfect addition to the Text Ads format, with advertisers able to include their brand slogan on every ad. Or, if you prefer, you can now place a call to action at the heart of all Text Ads, which simply wasn’t a viable option before.
When it comes to crafting a description for a product or service, the old Text Ads setup made it hard to include everything you wanted to say. With only one description line of 80 characters, finding the perfect wording became something of an obsession – even an art form – among advertisers and businesses.
Description 2 enables you to create another product description of up to 90 characters, which opens a whole new world of possibilities for promoting the features and benefits of products. Now armed with two description lines of 90 characters each, advertisers have much more leeway when it comes to fleshing out benefits and illuminating pain points. In this regard, the new form of Text Ads isn’t so much as a redesign as they are a redefinition of intent.
Google wants advertisers to feature more detail and richer ads because that’s what enabled the platform to best match searchers with what they want. Clearly, this is in Google’s interests, but it’s also an extremely positive development for advertisers and businesses using Text Ads.
You Don’t Have to Use the New Format
When Google first expanded out its Text Ads back in 2016, one of the primary reasons many people found the process so hard to master was because Google hadn’t really made any changes to how they worked since their introduction in 2003. Thus, many people felt forced to use a resource that felt very alien to their ongoing advertising practices.
But Google ads has learned from their mistakes, and that’s why they aren’t forcing a wholesale changeover to the new format. Instead, the new features are yours to use – or not use – as you see fit. It’s probably in your best interests to take advantage of expanded, improved advertising space but you can do so at your own pace.
The Effects of Expanded Text Ads
ETAs Increase Click-Through – Eventually
The ultimate goal of any Text Ad is to get those all-important click-throughs, so you can help guide the visitor toward conversion. A WordStream study on expanded Text Ads found a median increase in click-through rate of 28-percent, which is a very healthy number. But results can take time to come.
Much of this slow reveal of performance is to do with users having to adjust to the next expanded format. More space to use means that advertisers and businesses are still working out the best ways to leverage the increased space into real results. This was the same story back in 2016, and we all know that it just took a little time for people to understand the new capabilities at their fingertips.
What this means in real terms is that you shouldn’t immediately abandon your older Text Ads. Instead, work on formulating your new, longer text ads with your previous offerings still in circulation. Then slowly roll out the much-expanded Text Ads over time and assess how they perform. Do some A/B testing and see what formulation of headlines and descriptions work best, and you’ll have the insight you need without the whole process becoming a stressful affair.
You Need to Consider Mobile
While you’re putting your new, expanded Text from Google Ads together, you need to know that not all elements will show up on smaller, mobile device screens.
With expanded Text Ads carrying 300 characters at their longest, Headline 3 or Description 2 could fall under the axe on smaller screens. The result is that you will still have to ensure the first and second headline and first description still perform as well as they did in the past. This makes it vitally important to include all the relevant, targeted information in the same fields used in the older Text Ads, with Headline 3 and Description 2 bolstering your message.
Essentially, you can still write Text Ads with the same methodology you used before, but with increased space for bringing home your message.
Users – and You – Benefit from Enhanced Information
When it comes to viewing Google’s actions and the changes they make, it’s always useful to view it through the prisms of the user experience and Google’s need to refine their offerings. Google has a core approach – and need – to ensure that the users of its platform can both find what they want in seconds and benefit from a personalised experience.
Expanded Text Ads fit into the approach perfectly precisely because they boost the amount of information available to both the platform and the user, making for a more refined, targeted experience. But this is also great for advertisers on the platform because the extra information they provide can help get them in front of a motivated audience. The whole thrust of Google’s approach is about making their platform the only place people need to go to find information and products, and it’s in their interest to display your well-written, perfectly formulated expanded Text Ad to the ideal audience.
How Do ETA and Responsive Search Ads Differ?
On the surface, Responsive Search Ads and Expanded Text Ads are very similar. Both feature three headlines and two descriptions, with a maximum of 300 characters on offer. It’s there that the similarities end, however.
In the case of Responsive Search Ads, you supply Google with four descriptions, fifteen different headlines and they do the rest. Google combines these headlines and descriptions to create ads for you and push them out across the platform. For those who like a bit of automation and trust Google, this is great. For those that want to have direct control over their advertising and messaging, however, this approach is a little too hands-off.
Expanded Text Ads, on the other hand, give you ultimate control over every single word – down to the letter – of your brand message and how you advertise a specific product or service. There’s no automation here or loss of control, just an expanded platform under your total control.
Can I Use an Expanded Text Ad/Responsive Search Ads Mix?
Because Google wants to make advertising on the platform as easy as possible, they are neither forcing Expanded Text Ad advertisers to use Responsive Search Ads nor are they drawing a line between the two.
Instead, Google ads is making it quite simple to use the resources from Expanded Text Ads as a base for creating Responsive Search Ads. You can opt to use the new headline and description fields of Expanded Text Ads with no inherent expectation or insistence on applying these to Responsive Search Ads – but the option is there.
Perhaps again learning from the 2016 rollout, Google ads gives you the option of folding your Text Ad headlines and descriptions into Responsive Search Ads, which does, admittedly, make the process of creating these ads very efficient and easy. Ultimately, the new Text Ads approach is about flexibility for advertisers, giving them the option to either go with expanded descriptions and headlines or not, to make use of Responsive Search Ads or not. The choice is yours.