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Google Ads Adds Further Expansion to ETAs

Two years ago, Google introduced Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) to AdWords (now known as Google Ads) and these became the default format with the original ad format being discontinued. This meant that advertisers had more space to add content but also had to convert the old ads to the new format. Now Google has added several more content fields, so further expanding the Expanded Text Ads!

This change suddenly appeared for all advertisers in July, with the new content providing advertisers with a third headline (of 30 characters) and an additional description line (both of which are now 90 characters, up from the previous 80). This presents advertisers with a new opportunity, but also quite a task to review and amend the existing ad format to the larger content option.

So why has Google done this? Firstly they say that tests show an increase in clickthrough rate from the larger ads of over 10%, and the space these ads now take up will be more prominent and noticeable, especially if the various ad extensions, such as sitelinks, callouts or structured snippets are also shown as a similar proportion of ad impressions. It can also be seen as a way for Google’s cash cow – the ads – to take up more space at the top of the search results on desktop and mobile, and push the organic results further down the page.

As noted above, advertisers should see this as a good opportunity to use the extra space and test different ad formats to include more messages and content to get the clicks to their site. Taking an early lead in this will also mean that there could be benefits from getting more prominent ads showing compared to competitors who may be slower at implementing these new formats.

Making use of the new ETA content options

The challenge, however, may be how to use this extra content. The best practice use of ETAs over the past 2 years have focused on the users’ search terms in the first headline and a call to action in the second – so what is the third headline section now to include, as this will require a rethink and restructure in the way the headlines will be formatted.

Also with the extra description line, if most advertisers have already used this line to add some extra content about the business or product, what can the extra description line add?  There can be a danger that the core message will be diluted, or on the positive side, more sales-related content can be shown.

We suggest testing some of the new format ads – so keeping the best 2-3 performing standard ETAs running in each adgroup, and then adding some additional expanded ads to see how they perform with extra or revised content. Think about the way the new expanded ads will be viewed and where the key messages should be placed in the headlines and description lines. Like anything in Google Ads, testing is the key, and to see what works best for your business.

It may also be worth reviewing your ad extensions and taking some of the best messages or content from these to now incorporate into your ad text, or use the new text space to add content that extensions haven’t allowed. We have to assume these new formats are here to stay and so it may take a shift in thinking about the way ads are now written, but start testing and see which work best for you.

If you’d like to know more about the new expanded ETAs or would like help with testing these in your Google Ads account, please contact us for help.