For those advertisers who haven’t yet figured out how to optimize expanded text ads and those that have yet to even get started, Google is giving you a break.
Google will continue accepting standard text ads through January 31, 2017, not October 26 as announced in July. But this isn’t the time to procrastinate. Do not let those extra three months deter you from testing and writing expanded text ads now.
The fact that Google is gradually phasing out standard text ads as they continue to optimize search for a mobile first world has not changed. Treat the extra time as a gift. You now have more time to write, aggressively test, and identify top performing messaging in the new format before the cutover. Additionally, you gain an extended competitive advantage to identify high performing expanded text ads before your competition.
For e-commerce and retail advertisers who are entering into the peak holiday season, don’t be afraid of transitioning to the new format in the middle of this critical time of the year. Despite what you may be thinking, the shift is not too risky.
Expanded text ads are designed to render better on mobile devices, which is where the majority of your audience will be shopping this holiday season. Capitalize on this before your competition, and dedicate a percentage of your ad groups to testing new expanded text ads in your holiday campaigns. The result will be more dollars and increased learnings early on.
Follow these best practices from Google for evaluating your expanded text ads strategy.
- Test multiple versions of your expanded text ads. Try different approaches with the new space your ads now have. Shoot for 3–5 new ads per ad group. Advertisers who test multiple creatives see better performance.
- Focus your testing on headlines. Headlines are the most important parts of your ads, and you now have an extra line to experiment with.
- Replicate what works in standard text ads in your expanded text ads. For example, if you mention pricing or use keyword insertion in a successful standard text ad, carry those over to expanded text ads.
- Consider shorter headlines on brand terms. Sometimes “Your Company’s Name — Official Site” might be all you need. You aren’t required to use all of your available characters. Test shorter ad copy, especially on terms where someone might not need a lot of additional info.
- Leave your standard text ads running until the new versions are consistently outperforming them. An expanded text ad isn’t guaranteed to be a winner simply because you have more characters. Leave your top performing ads running, regardless of their length.
- Review your pre-existing ads for previous success with longer headlines. Consider promoting description line 1 in a standard text ad to you new headline 2, especially if that ad performed well in the past.
- Don’t implement the same expanded text ad across many different ad groups. Your ads should be tailored to users’ searches.
- Don’t blindly insert a new second headline without changing the rest of the ad. Add content that is relevant to the query and fits well with the rest of the creative.
- Don’t write expanded text ads that lose their relevance to a user’s query. Remember that user query in your text.
- Don’t leave out specific benefits or attributes of your product that had proven to be enticing in the past. Test all of your benefits to find what works in the new format.