Google’s annual Performance Summit in San Francisco kicks off today, Tuesday May 24. During the summit, Google announced ten changes, including new product features and a redesigned AdWords interface. One of the changes is expanded text ads. In this blog entry we’ll dive into this change specifically and what it means for marketers.
What Are Expanded Text Ads?
As part of a closed beta, Google is testing a new ad format designed to maximize an advertiser’s presence in search results. The new format, called “expanded text ads”, has been in effect for whitelisted brands since May 12th, and gives advertisers approximately 47% more ad copy space. The new format features an extra headline and 10 more characters in the description line. In addition, the display URL extracts the domain automatically and allows for two path fields, which are essentially manually selected keyword qualifiers.
While the new format impacts all devices, it is intended to drive a better mobile experience and increased engagement. Pictured below is a breakdown of the new format.
What Are the Benefits of the New Ads?
The new format comes with a series of new perks for advertisers, including:
- Extra real estate with more prominent headlines
- Ability to showcase and test PODs and CTAs
- An anticipated increase in click-through-rate (CTR), with as much as a 20% uptick
- Consistent look and feel across devices
Our search managers are eagerly awaiting the release of the expanded ads, as the new structure will allow them to create more enticing ad copy, a longer message to better answer the consumer’s search, and more effective testing. Currently, the only way to get a longer headline is to use strategic punctuation placement in ad copy, such as adding punctuation to the end of the first description line to include it in the heading. Even then, format isn’t always consistent, making for a poor testing environment. At times, the current formatting system combines sentences in a way that may be unclear to the user; needless to say, the added control the new format will provide will be welcomed.
Here’s a look at the current ad format versus the new expanded format:
Do you think the new format looks more like an organic listing? We do! Also, given the recent decision by Google to remove right-side rail ad units, this new format can appear in any position. That could make it even harder to distinguish between paid and organic listings. We wouldn’t be surprised if Google started incorporating paid ad units in-between organic listings as a test.
If this test is successful, which we think it will be, we anticipate Google will roll the new, expanded format to all AdWords advertisers this fall. It’s more important than ever to have strategically and structurally sound implemented PPC campaigns. Google will always be testing, and by the looks of it, they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Ensure your brands are getting whitelisted and taking advantage of such betas, as well as all of the associated benefits and impacts.