Google recently launched a new text ad format, offering advertisers an increased character limit for ad copy.
These Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) provide a huge opportunity for marketers to improve the customer experience through paid search ads. Below, we explore this new format a little further, provide preliminary performance data, and share how the change will impact marketers in the future.
What are ETAs and how does the change affect marketers?
Expanded Text Ads include two headlines, each with a 30-character limit, up from the standard single 25-character field. The two description lines have merged and can now contain up to 80 characters total, instead of two separate 35-character description lines. This provides marketers with up to nearly 50 percent more space for ad copy.
The result of the new format is room for marketers to provide a more pronounced headline and more space to describe products and services and include stronger calls to action. For example, brands can now use “Learn More on Your Phone Today!” instead of just “Learn More!” The ETAs are fully compatible for both desktop and mobile, but as shown in the example above, the extra page real estate is really brought to bear on mobile devices.
How does the change impact ad performance?
Since launching the new format, Google has reported these ads have increased click through rates (CTR) by up to 20 percent. A good CTR could be anywhere from 5-50 percent, so the reported increase is very significant.
While Expanded Text Ads were still in beta, we implemented them for a select group of Rise’s clients and evaluated their performance through an ad copy test to see if they could deliver on the CTR boost. We placed one ETA and one traditional ad into top performing, highly trafficked ad groups. To ensure an even playing field, we scheduled both of the ads to rotate evenly. The ads ran for three weeks and our team tracked the overall performance.
Data collected from our ad copy test proved that Expanded Text Ads outperformed traditional ads with statistical significance. ETAs saw increases in CTR ranging from 6 percent to nearly 180 percent, with an average lift being about 130 percent. One of our ETAs had nearly a 50 percent CTR, which equated to the ad receiving a click for nearly every other impression.
Additionally, Expanded Text Ads saw gains across several other key metrics. In certain instances, conversion rate and return on ad spend increased. This result could be attributed to the more detailed and complete messaging that the extra character count allows for, contributing to an overall better search and customer experience. Additionally, there were higher average page positions for ETAs, due to improved Expected CTR.
How can marketers use ETAs for future paid search campaigns?
Based on our initial analysis, the results show that Expanded Text Ads have the opportunity to play an instrumental role in marketers’ search campaigns. The ads have been universally rolled out and will soon be available on all AdWords accounts. This new format is a major change and peek into the future of Google’s paid search experience, as it recently announced that advertisers will no longer be able to create or edit traditional ads after October 26, 2016.
It’s important to note that no two ad strategies are completely alike. Marketers should be building a unique Expanded Text Ads strategy to further optimize toward a better user experience. Expanded Text Ads open up a many exciting possibilities for brands. If you want to learn more about how your company can best take advantage of this new ad format, reach out to Rise.
Editor’s note: This post was co-authored by Blake Kidd, an internet marketing consultant on Rise's paid search team.