At the end of July we saw the launch of a new advert format in Adwords – the expanded text ad. In a nutshell, these are adverts that have more text (around 50% more), as the name might suggest. On the surface this might seem insignificant, but there have been numerous reports of click-through rates increasing by 20% or more. Searchengineland even noted one example of a 2x increase in click-through rates.
So why is this important? Well, simply put, not a lot of marketers have caught up with this yet. From the 26th of October 2016, standard text ads will no longer be accepted within Adwords; the expanded text ad will become the norm. At that point everybody will be back on a level playing field – however right now, you can take advantage of that increased click-through rate and gain an edge over the competition.
I’ll quickly highlight a few key differences between standard and expanded text ads.
Headlines: Expanded text ads have two headlines with 30 characters each, separated by a hyphen. Standard text ads have one headline of 25 characters.
Descriptions: Expanded text ads have one 80 character description, whereas standard text ads have two 35 character descriptions.
Display URL: You will no longer have to select a display URL with expanded text ads. Instead, you will have the option to select a ‘path’. The goal here is to give users a better indication of what to expecting on the landing page (see screenshot below). For example, you could use exampleurl.com/mens/jumpers.
In general, these expanded ads are going to give you more real estate on the search engine results page, and more characters to articulate your message – ultimately giving you a better shot at encouraging clicks.
I’ve heard of a few rare cases in which click-through rates actually went down, and for that reason I recommend conducting your own split tests to be sure. Either way though, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t at least give this a go! And of course, if you’d like help with setting this up or campaign management, you can reach me email@example.com and I’ll be happy to help.
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