One of the biggest headlines to come out of Google’s recent summit was news of expanded text ads. There’s still no word on when the new feature will roll out but now is a good time to get ready for a chunkier kind of AdWords ad.

We can’t wait to start testing with these things once they go live and we’re already anticipating the kind of impact they might have. So what can you expect from expanded text ads and what should you do to get ready?


What are expanded text ads?

Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) are the same ads you see on Google Search, but with added room for more text. The difference visually will look something like this:


Expanded text ads bring double headlines, expanded descriptions and automated custom URL to your text ads. Which means you can soon kiss goodbye to the current set of restrictions:


With expanded text ads you’ll get two headlines – each with 30 character limits – and up to 80 characters for your description.


Why should I care about expanded text ads?

Google claims its own tests on expanded text ads have seen CTR increases of 25%. That’s a very optimistic figure so don’t get too excited what Google says. We do expect CTR increases from ETAs but nowhere near to that extent.

The theory is simple: bigger ads get more attention and we know this is true in PPC. But, once everyone is using these and they become normal to users, the CTR difference will level out.

It’s not only pure size that’s exciting about expanded text ads, though. Extra space for text gives room to a more detailed message. So, if you find yourself constantly trying to cram copy into your ads, this will be a welcome change for you.


Are there any downsides to expanded text ads?

Yes, there are a few potential downsides. First of all, bigger ads mean organic results get pushed yet further down the page. At this rate page 2 will be the new page 1 for organic results if Google keeps this up. Highly commercial searches already return four paid ads above organic results. Larger ads will push organic down even further and you have to think some organic results will never be seen on mobile.

Another potential problem we see is advertisers using double headlines and longer descriptions simply because they can. Google bringing in a new feature doesn’t mean it’s the way to go for every ad. But we can imagine a lot of advertisers getting sold on the bigger is better philosophy and simply assuming expanded ads are better.

One possible impact that isn’t necessarily good or bad is that expanded ads could make the top positions more valuable. As things stand, being in the top spot isn’t all that important with text ads. In fact, sometimes being the last ad is more beneficial. This could change with expanded text ads if top position get higher CTRs and users reach third/fourth position ads less often.


What should I do about expanded text ads?

Expanded text ads will roll out gradually across all accounts. So keep an eye out for them because you could get access before others. In the meantime, pick some of your best performing campaigns and start drafting ad copy for the new format. You’ll want to use these campaigns for testing expanded text ads to see if they actually have a positive impact.

You already know what ad structure and character limits you’ll have to work with so get crafting your ad copy now. This way you’ll be ready to start testing the moment expanded text ads roll out.

Again, don’t assume that more text is better. Even if you only use two extra characters in your headline and it creates a better ad, then fine. You don’t have to max out everything. And, finally, if you’re not already creating ad variations to compete against each other, get started now. You should be doing it anyway and it’ll be good practice for testing ETAs when the time comes.