If you use Google Adwords pay-per-click advertising, you’re probably aware that there are strict character limits on your headline and the 2 lines of text that go underneath. It can be quite a challenge to really get your point across when you have only 25 characters for your headline, and then 2 lines of 35 characters each.
The good news is that today, everything has changed. You can now write 2 headlines, with up to 30 characters in each, and a description of up to 80 characters – that’s about 50% more space for creative ad writing.
Does it matter what you say in your text ad?
Yes of course, particularly in a competitive market, where there are many other advertisers. You want your ad to stand out from the rest, so people notice it. You also want to make your offering as clear as possible, to deter clicks from people looking for something slightly different. Every click costs you money, so the perfect scenario is where your ad appeals to your target prospects, they click on it and land on your website, then make an enquiry or purchase. Sounds simple!
There is quite an art to effective ad writing for PPC and we’re quite excited about the opportunity this expansion brings for our clients.
Here’s an example from searchengineland.com (you can read their detailed article here
You can see here the extra space enables this advertiser to get across more information, and add clarity to their offer.
And of course the new ad is physically bigger than the old one, and that alone helps to make it stand out, particularly if the ads around it are smaller.
Advertisers involved in pilot studies for Google expanded text ads have reported significant increase in click-through rates, so if you act quickly and get your expanded ads live before your competitors, you could see some quick wins.
You need to get it right though, and make sure you create the right overall message with your ad. This is our interpretation of the main Google recommendations for expanded text ads:
- Rethink your message completely, don’t just add another headline into what you already have – in other words rewrite, don’t just tweak what you have
- Make use of the extra characters in the headlines – this is the bit that stands out most and will encourage people to read the rest of the ad, so try and get as close to the character limit as possible
- Watch out for the hyphen which google will automatically use to combine the 2 headline fields (you can see this in the example above) and think about how your headline will display
- Remember to use appropriate ad extensions as these can also improve your ads performance by providing links to specific sections of your website – and of course they also play their part in making your ad look bigger and more important – more clickable!
When do you need to update your Google ads?
(This section was updated 28/7/16 after spending several hours writing new ads for clients!)
You don’t need to do anything until October, as Google will continue running the old style ads alongside the new expanded text ads until 26/10/2016. You can also edit your existing ads and create new ones in the old format.
However as explained above, we advise updating at least some of your ads soon as you practically can. In using the system ourselves, we’ve discovered a few oddities in the way ads display – the format is quite different and you might need to experiment a bit to get your ad to display the way you want it to.
Our current advice is to prioritise your highest spending campaigns and ad groups, then write a new extended ad to run alongside your existing ad for a while, to see how it performs. If it doesn’t get a better click through rate than your existing ad(s), it’s probably not quite right, so monitor and adjust it – and keep checking back to see how it’s doing. If you already run several competing ads in the same ad group, you might also consider pausing one or two of the lower performing ones, so you can gather data more quickly, rather than looking at stats which are split across a lot of different ads.
For more guidance on how to set your expanded text ads up, here’s a link to a Google help article
And if you need help in managing your Google Adwords campaign – contact us.