New Expanded Text Ads in AdWords: What will change for online retailers after January 31st?

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After killing off the right-hand side ads on desktop earlier this year, Google has now announced the launch of Expanded Text Ads, which have been designed for a mobile-first world with both users and advertisers in mind.

Although it may not seem like a huge difference for the standard user, it is actually allowing advertisers to almost double the size of their text ads (+47%) across all devices. On mobile, they have been designed to wrap automatically based on the size of the device.

How exactly are text ads changing?


In terms of what exactly is changing, the answer is basically ‘all elements’. Headlines and descriptions have more than doubled in length, with headlines now on two lines, while descriptions have been reduced to just 1 line with twice as many characters.

Before After
Headlines One 25-character headline Two x 30-character headlines
Descriptions Two 35-character description lines One 80-character description line
Display URL Display URL matches final URL Automatic extract + two path fields

Things are slightly more complicated for Display URLs: as where beforehand advertisers had to manually insert the Display URL to match the final URL, AdWords now automatically extracts the website domain. You can then use ‘Path’ fields and up to 15 characters to edit the display URL as you see necessary.

Note: although the display URL does not have to be an exact match, it should still reflect the final URL and the page’s content.

Your final URL
Extracted website domain
Display URL with path fields


How can you start using Expanded Text Ads?

By default, new ads automatically use Expanded Text Ads, but you can still switch to the old editing format by clicking on ‘Switch back to the standard text ad link’.

You will, however, need to get used to Expanded Text Ads before the 31st January 2017 because after this date AdWords will no longer support the creation and modification of ads in the standard format.

Even if the standard text ads can still be displayed after January 31st, it is better to adopt the Expanded Text Ads format for all your campaigns to avoid any display problems.


you won’t be able to modify standard text ads after the 31st January, they will continue to run alongside expanded text ads so long as they exist and are active in your AdWords account.

What does this mean for online retailers?

Although expanded text ads will require a bit of work from you, the good news is that they bring a whole host of advantages that can easily help to boost performance.

Additional control over their messaging: With fewer character limits, you have more room to convey their message and escape the tight restrictions that were previously imposed on these fields.

A click through rate increase: This new ad format should have a significant impact on click through rates, Google announcing a 20% CTR increase, compared to standard ads.

An opportunity to revise ad copy: Having extra characters to hand is not a simple question of adding a few words to gap fill. Take this opportunity to revise your ad copy and consider the message as a whole.

Compatible with Campaign Drafts and Experiments: Use Google’s additional testing tools to compare different variations of your revised messaging to see what works best for your business.

So what are you waiting for? Go and get started on working on some great ad copy that will have your competitors shaking in their boots!


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