Google AdWords has unleashed their latest creation: Expanded Text Ads. These replace the old Standard Text Ads, they’re just a bit…well, longer.
Let’s refamiliarise ourselves with the old text ads we’ve been using since the start of PPC.
Standard Text Ads
This is a pretty well structured ad, but the text in the first line is very short. With the old ads you had just 25 characters for the headline and 35 characters for the following line. In the example above, MoneySuperMarket hasn’t used the full character count, partly as the search term we used was “income insurance”, but also partly as there isn’t really enough space to add any more words. This is the problem that a lot of advertisers found with the old ads.
If you search for “income protection insurance”, you’ll see Standard Text Ads that use “income protection cover” in the headline, rather than what you’ve actually searched for – That’s because the search term is 27 characters.
In short, the old text ads were too short.
New Expanded Text Ads
The change to Expanded Text Ads, other than giving the advertising more space to work with, is also due to searchers becoming ad-blind. Many people ignore ads as they are clearly ads, making them skip further down the page to organic search results. Great news for companies doing well at their SEO, bad news for Google’s revenue.
Here is an example of a new Expanded Text Ad:
Straight away you can see the increased real estate the new ads take up, but also how different they look to the old ads. Or more importantly, how they look more like organic results.
The new headline allows for 30 characters, as well as the second line allowing for another 30. The best addition is a description line that appears just below the company’s URL. Advertisers have a massive 80 characters to play with which opens up a whole new set of opportunities in getting a message across. Overall, the space available has increased by a whopping 140%.
AdWords is set to turn off the ability to add Standard Text Ads later this year, meaning you’ll only be able to make Expanded Text Ads after that switch over.
Why you should still make Standard Text Ads
With more and more companies jumping on the Expanded Ad wagon, the chance to stand out decreases every day that goes by (provided you have started making the new ads, of course!). But what happens when everyone is using the Expanded Ads? How do you stand out then? In addition, how can you be sure an Expanded Ad is going to give you a higher CTR?
Hopefully everyone reading this is thoroughly testing their ad copy through a multitude of ads, including comparing the old vs the new. In several month’s time, that testing needs to continue. If you lose the ability to create new Standard Ads, you lose the ability to test every possible avenue.
No one can guarantee Expanded Ads will perform better than Standard Ads despite the increased space. After all, every business and every industry is different.
Our testing we have performed using Expanded against Standard Ads to date has shown Expanded wins most of the time, however less frequently on Standard Ads that have been optimised for Mobile.
And so, to our answer:
You should still make standard ads now so that you can edit them and put them live again even after AdWords turns off it’s ability to create new ones. It’s as simple as that. Our key reasoning is related to Mobile Standard Ads: If Standard Ads perform better than Expanded Ads on mobile, this is a strong argument to keep making the Standard Ads whilst you can.