Advertisers: You’re Doing it Wrong! How to Use Google’s Updated Expanded Text Ads.

The History: Expanded Text Ads have been available in Google Ads since 2016, and were a fairly simple format to use that could increase CTR’s by up to 20%, according to Wordstream. Capitalizing on the success, Google released an update in 2019 that expanded the Expanded Text Ads even more! Problem: Even seasoned search marketers seem to not totally grasp the update.

The Update: The major updates seemed simple enough – Google added an extra headline, and instead of just one description line at 80 characters, the update allows for two description lines at 90 characters each. With these updates (including the unchanged display URLs and path characters), the total Expanded Text ads available to run on the Search Network went from 170 characters max, to 300 characters max.

The Problem: Here’s the trick though, and where we see lots of advertisers missing the mark – three headlines won’t ALWAYS show and both description lines won’t ALWAYS show. Many ads are going to run across devices, and not all devices can fit in a full 300-characters. We see a lot of search marketers writing ads without keeping this in mind. Your ad needs to read properly if only the first two headlines are shown, and if only the first description line is shown.

The Solutions: So, what does this mean from a formatting perspective?

1. Out of your three headline options, put the weakest one in the third position. (Obviously, no one wants to have a “weak” headline – we just mean comparatively.)

2. Stop trying to use both description lines to convey one thought, and DEFINITELY do not have a sentence run on from Description Line 1 onto Description Line 2. As we noted, line 2 won’t always show, and what’s more is that even when it does, we’ve caught Google sneaking in a period to end the first line, even when the advertiser did not upload the ad that way. Check out these ads that literally leave you hanging…

3. Consider where you want to place your call-to-action. We have typically placed this at the end of an ad, but knowing description line 2 won’t always show, weigh your options carefully. You can throw the CTA in the first description line if it makes sense, or you can test running it in headline 1 or 2. But leaving it in description line 2 is a common mistake that you do not want to repeat.

We hope the above serves as a public service announcement for any advertisers or marketers looking to create successful Expanded Text Ads. We also hope that we’ll run into a lot less ad mistakes in the SERPs – for fear that Google will remove the feature updates. As we know, relevancy is always a top priority for Google, and as they see more confusing ads enter the market based on their update – they may just reconsider! And, I for one, enjoy my extra characters!

 Any questions for our team? Drop them below!

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