What You Need to Know about Google’s New Expanded Text Ads

If you’re at all involved in the world of internet marketing, it’s likely that you’ve heard the news about Google’s Text Ad Update. But, if you’ve had your head down, busy with work, or if you’re actively ignoring it, first let us say that this update represents the biggest change Google has made to Adwords in 15 years.

Announced back in May, the update is really a continuation of Google’s recent aim to put mobile first. In February, Google got rid of right side ads for a number of reasons, the biggest being to provide a unified experience for Google users across all devices.

Remember, Adwords was created in 2000, before the advent of Mobile Searching. Now that mobile internet use has surpassed that of desktop, Google has to follow suit and provide ad platforms that are more consistently trackable across both mobile and desktop.

Now Google’s Expanded Text Ads are here to stay, and you better get used to it. Google just announced that as of October 26th, 2016, advertisers will be unable to create a new, or edit an existing, standard text ad campaign - just in time for the holiday season! It might be time to start working on updating that PPC ad copy!

The Gist

The biggest part of Expanded Text Ads is...wait for it...THE EXPANSION!

Advertisers will now have a total of 140 characters to market with:

two 30 character headlines


an 80 character description

The current limit of 25-35-35 is now in its twilight, and many advertisers are already making the switch to this more robust ad template.

Here’s what an Expanded Text Ad will Look like

Thanks to WordStream for this graphic.

What You Need to Know about Google’s New Expanded Text Ads

Above you can see the before/after difference between current Text Ads and ETAs, and what each will look like on both Mobile and Desktop. ETA’s will wrap automatically depending on the device, and as you can see, they will occupy much more screen space, almost twice as much in fact.

For the time being SERP’s will display a mixture of Standard and Expanded text ads, but Wordstream has been running tests which already point towards ETA’s prominence of increased CTR’s.

  • If you were looking at Search engine results, which add do you think would command your attention?

What’s so great about more screen space?

That’s an easy answer:

greater visibility, more attention. There are estimates that greater visibility created with ETAs could increase CTRs by around twenty percent!

Wordstream has tracked increased CTR’s based on the use of ad extensions. Adding call or location extensions, which dramatically improve an ad’s quality score, has shown to improve CTR’s by as much as twelve percent, which gives you an idea as to how massive a twenty percent change in ad efficacy would really be.

Ad Extensions

Here’s something to think about: in Google’s old ad format, ad extensions were traditionally utilized to provide users with more convenient and direct ways of contacting a business. But, they were also utilized to highlight specific offerings and value propositions that marketers were unable to include in the copy.

Now that you have almost fifty percent more ad copy space in which to highlight those points of value, the info you include in your extensions for ‘old’ text ads may become redundant, which could ding your Quality Score. When implementing Expanded Text Ads, make sure to update your Ad’s Extensions to promote new and unique content alongside your newer Ads and bump up that Quality Score.

Display URL’s

Good news for SEM’s:

ETAs will now automatically pull the domain for your display URL from your final URL, meaning you no longer need to specify domains for each and every ad set, which will save you a ton of time.

-Now, you may be asking yourself:

But the freedom we used to have with display URL’s was a fantastic method of leveraging keywords and enticing certain users with highly specific content...so, now we’re going to be missing out on those clicks?”

It’s true that Display URL’s within the old Text Ad format could be used to market to a highly specified user set, but let us remind you of one hard truth:

  • The greater the difference between your display URL and your destination URL, the lower your Quality Score, and the higher your CPC. For this reason, display URL’s have traditionally been seen as a double-edged sword as they can dramatically impact your Quality Score.

Really, there’s no reason to worry, because with Google’s new ETAs, advertisers can add up to two paths to display URL’s, using up to 30 characters to build out content aimed at specific users - a great spot to leverage highly specified KeyWords. Because of this, your display URL will be, in general, much more relevant to your destination URL, which will help you save on CPC.

It’s all about Relevancy

Google’s intention with this update is not to confound all SEM’s with the prospect of updating all of their current text ad campaigns - even though that was an unfortunate byproduct - (advertisers always panic at the first whiff of a new update).

What Google is really trying to do is better Adwords, to better it for both users and advertisers by providing Ad templates which make for greater accuracy between ads and their destinations. So, users are served better, more relevant ads, and advertisers now have TWICE AS MUCH real estate to state their value proposition - with two headlines, a lengthy description, and display URL field paths.

Final Thoughts

Quality Score is currently the most important metric within your Adwords account, but it’s about to get even more important. Because ETAs take up a lot more screen space, anything below the first 2 or 3 slots, those with low-quality scores, could be rendered irrelevant, especially on mobile displays.

If you’re big on Organic Search, you might not like this update. Why? For the same reason that quality score is becoming more and more important: Google’s paid ads will now have more visual prominence, pushing Organic Search rankings further down the page.

  • If you’re leveraging both paid advertising and Organic SEO with Google, make sure to keep an eye on your CPC. Because these top spots will have greater value, advertisers will have to up their ad spends towards PPC and away from SEO in order to stay relevant.

You should start working on updating your current text ads immediately!

  • For one, standard ads will be phased out within the next few months, and you don’t want to wait until the last minute to update untold amounts of ad copy!
  • You should take advantage of this time! Many PPC advertisers will wait on updating their standard text ads into expanded ads, so why not get a leg up on your competitors?!
  • There are already plenty of resources for creating effective ETAs, so there’s really no reason you should wait!

A lot of PPC advertisers are making hay over this ETA update, but at Bonsai, we’re not worried at all. We have enough experience with paid advertising to know that this update, while it may make our jobs a little harder, is ultimately for the greater good.

If you’re interested in some of the ways in which Bonsai can help you or your business with paid advertising, or Internet marketing in general, please get in touch!


At half-past eight the door opened, the policeman appeared, and, requesting them to follow him, led the way to an adjoining hall. It was evidently a court-room, and a crowd of Europeans and natives already occupied the rear of the apartment.

At half-past eight the door opened, the policeman appeared, and, requesting them to follow him, led the way to an adjoining hall. It was evidently a court-room, and a crowd of Europeans. At half-past eight the door opened, the policeman appeared, and, requesting them to follow him, led the way to an adjoining hall. It was evidently a court-room, and a crowd.

The donations increased due to the impactful user journey.

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