With the recent beta release of Google’s new Expanded Text Ad (ETA) format, many advertisers are wondering how to approach testing the new ad type to understand it’s impact on performance. Google has cited a 20% lift in CTR for ETAs, but this is not guaranteed for all advertisers. The important question to understand is how will the new format impact your account’s performance.

 

As the top testing platform for search marketers, Boost Media has already begun experimenting with ETAs. We’ve identified some best practices for testing ETAs to apply to your own marketing strategy.

 

Crawl, walk, run

Before deploying expanded text ads across your entire account, we recommend taking a measured approach. Identify some higher volume ad groups so that you can collect a sufficient volume of data to gain significant results, but don’t bet the farm on your top volume or branded keywords. For most account structures, this would be the top quartile of your non-brand groups (but consider excluding the top 5-10% within that cohort). Use this section as a test bed for ETAs and learn what works best for your brand before rolling out more widely.

 

Aim for actionable insights

When setting up a test, structure it with specific goals in mind so that once the test has concluded you have a clear path to take action. Some examples for ETAs that we have tested include:

  • ETAs versus similar standard text ads: This is a great way to dip your toes into world of ETAs while maintaining a familiar frame of reference.
  • Varying lengths of ETA ad copy: Do descriptions that use the full 80 characters perform better than shorter ones?
  • Placement of calls-to-action: With the addition of a second headline, this could be an opportunity to bring your CTA into the headline instead of at the end of your description.

Given the significance of Google’s change, it’s never safe to assume that best practices from the old world will carry over.

 

Avoid generic templates

Expanded text ads were dropped in our laps without much notice, and Google has not publically offered assistance to help advertisers with this change. While you may not have time and resources budgeted to support transitioning your ads over to the new format, resist the urge to address this opportunity with a generic template that can be deployed across your ad groups. While Google has cited the potential for CTR gains as high as 20%, these improvements will only come if you invest in relevant messaging to your target audience.

 

By leveraging these testing tips, you will be well on your way to executing a successful transition to this new format. For even more best practices on how to manage ad copy tests, check out our infographic here. Boost is also here to help you rewrite your ads and achieve the best results possible.

 

Have you tried testing any concepts with your ETA campaigns? Share your success stories, feedback, or questions in the comments below!