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Google have extended the forced transition date to Expanded Text Ads from October 26th 2016 to January 31st 2017. Why have they done this? What does this mean for you? What do you need to consider? We explore all of the hubbub and more…


The hubbub…

Inside Adwords

Search Engine Land

Search Engine Journal

Mo4ch News


What are Expanded Text Ads?

First of all, if you are asking this question; where the have you been?! You can find all of the information you need by clicking on the below…

The main thing to remember is that Google are now giving advertisers more time to test an optimise Expanded Text Ads. To reiterate, you now have until January 31st 2017 to fully migrate your Ad Copy to Expanded Text Ads; at which point, you will no longer be able to upload or edit Standard Text Ads you may have in your account. This is instead of the original deadline which was the 26th October 2016.

So why are Google giving us more time?

Mixed results for advertisers so far

Let’s face it, Google’s biggest ever change to Ad Copy wasn’t always going to be a completely smooth ride for everyone. Advertisers have so far reported mixed reviews on the performance of Expanded Text Ads. The performance does tend to vary between different industries and sectors; some are reporting much higher CTR versus their standard text ads, and others are reporting lower.

Why? Judging by Google’s latest post on Inside Adwords, they believe that it’s the advertiser’s fault for not testing properly. You can definitely sense the frustration on the subject:

Expanded text ads can deliver great results, particularly for those who have invested in writing and testing new creatives. Please use this additional time to experiment with new expanded text ads of your own. (Inside Adwords – 2016)

What do you need to do?

Don’t just assume that bigger is better…cough

Just because you have more characters doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed a win! You need to test, follow best practice, and optimise accordingly. Don’t be lazy!

Test, Test, Test

Google says that it has reviewed a lot of text ad data since it’s introduction and found what we already knew to be true; that quality of the text ad matters. It seems that what may have been happening is that advertisers have been panicking about implementing Expanded Text Ads and have applied a blanket expanded text ad across their accounts. By giving us more time to implement, this is the perfect opportunity to put some thought into your strategy and take the time to do it properly!

Top Tip – Don’t forget the basicsPPC hubbub - Lightbulb

  • Have at least 3-5 different ad variations in each ad group. Advertisers that have multiple ad copy tend to see better results as they have more creatives to test & optimise. Try having 2 standard text ads and 2 expanded text ads in each ad group. This will allow you to test the ad rotations fairly against each other.
  • Focus on your headlines! This is where you will see the most benefit through experimenting. For Brand creatives, try keeping them short. For Generics, focus on answering the user’s search query better with the extra character limits you now have.
  • Make the ad relevant! Don’t be lazy and use the same ad rotation across each ad group. Make sure that you change each ad rotation to be relevant to the keyword and ad group. Google give the following example for the search query [articles about college financing]…
PPC hubbub - Inside Adwords - Expanded Text Ads

Inside Adwords (2016) – Expanded Text Ads

  • Check your campaign settings. To get a true reflection of how your ads are performing against each other, ensure that your Ad Rotation settings are set up correctly. We recommend using ‘Rotate Indefinitely’ and then optimising accordingly.
  • Google have given us a list of things to remember when creating Expanded Text Ads (find these here) which you may find useful.

 How do you know which Ad Rotation is working best?

You can use a simple calculation to see which one of your Expanded Text Ads is performing best.

CTR x Conv Rate = Highest Score is the Winner

Look at as much data as you can for your ad rotations (at least 7 days, ideally more) and use the above calculation to work out which creative is working best. Pin Point what is different about this rotation, apply this logic to the next creative and see if performance improves. Eventually, if you follow this process you will see better performance which will be on par, if not better than, your standard text ads.


Summary

Google are ensuring that there should be no excuses from advertisers to see poor performance. Let’s face it, Google wouldn’t have introduced this change if they didn’t think it was going to work. It will make them more money. This means that Expanded Text Ads should drive us the best traffic, but currently they aren’t for some advertisers. You need to ensure that you are testing and optimising your Expanded Text Ads regularly. Having this extra time will ensure that advertisers have more time to think about their ad copy strategy to help drive the best performance for their budget.

What are you waiting for? Start testing now and get a head start on your competitor!

Dan Roberts
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Dan Roberts

Founder & Author at PPC hubbub
Dan is a Google Shopping Specialist and was recently awarded Rising Star at The Drum Search Awards for the work delivered for his clients, agency and wider industry. Dan founded PPC hubbub after becoming frustrated with the lack of actionable insight and meaningful points of view for the industry.

LinkedIn - https://uk.linkedin.com/in/siondanielroberts
Dan Roberts
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