Google has made a historic change to its creative format with the introduction of a mobile optimized format called “Expanded Text Ads” (ETA). In this post, we provide information to help you understand what’s changing, why it’s a positive thing, and how to automatically make your existing ads ETA-compatible. (Pro tip: Skip to the end of this article if that last point is what you’re after.)
What Are Expanded Text Ads?
Expanded Text Ads are a mobile-optimized ad-format designed to maximize an advertiser's performance in mobile search results. This is accomplished by providing the advertiser significantly more ad copy to highlight their product or service. Expanded Text Ads also apply to desktop search results.
This change is a big deal because it’s a fundamental shift away from the legacy AdWords text ad format that’s existed for well over a decade. As such, this change will require every AdWords advertiser to rewrite their ads to be ETA-compatible. To learn how to automatically do this, skip ahead to the end of this post.
What’s Changing, Exactly?
Advertisers now have two headlines instead of one, and these headlines are joined with a hyphen. The good news – this copy expansion allows ads to occupy 50% more space on the search results page. Early results indicate that this increased presence improves CTR, which makes sense when you compare the old format (left) to the new format (right):
Here are the nitty-gritty details:
- Headline 1 and headline 2 are 30 characters each. This is a 240% increase over legacy text ads, which historically had just one headline and a 25-character maximum.
- For the description line, the character count is also increasing. Instead of two 35-character description lines, there’s just one that’s 80 characters.
- The display URL will now be automatically extracted from your destination URL. You can set up to two path fields like “golf” and “shoes”.
As marketers, we’re excited by all of these updates, and think that the addition of a new headline is only going to help performance, especially in a mobile world.
A Positive Change, for Multiple Reasons
Why is this change a net-positive for advertisers?
- You gain a new, second headline.
- More characters for longer messaging increase the odds of connecting with your target audience.
- We’re seeing better overall performance in our early results.
Why is Google Making This Change?
A couple of obvious questions are: Why is Google making this change? And why now?
The short answer: Consumers have shifted to mobile as their primary method of accessing the Internet. And, advertising dollars are following in rapid succession. eMarketer estimates that in 2016, over 60% of all digital advertising spend will go to mobile. It’s also expected that mobile will continue to gobble up market share through 2020.
Google is staying ahead of this trend by shifting to mobile-optimized ads, which is consistent with the elimination of right-hand ads back in February. In the next 12-24 months, we should see more mobile-centric changes from all major publishers, as they train their attention on perfecting mobile monetization.
How Can I Automatically Make My Ads ETA-Compatible?
Stay tuned for more details, insights, and data as we continue to report on Expanded Text Ads.