Alto Marketing

Add words right and you’ll AdWords right

23rd September 2016 - Last modified 20th March 2018 - 0 comments

Written by Omee Ahmed.
Google AdWords has been around for a good long while now, having launched (if you can believe it) more than 15 years ago! In July, Google announced that the AdWords platform would receive one of its most significant updates in recent years – Expanded Text Ads. These will run alongside the standard text ads before eventually replacing them altogether. They bring a new ad format with more characters to play with, as well as some new rules for display URLs. More on this below.

All being well, if you run any AdWords campaigns, you’ll already be aware of this change and have started making the transition. Indeed, if we manage your AdWords campaigns, we will have already discussed this with you. Now is the ideal time to experiment with Expanded Text Ads and find the best way to use them for your business (while the standard text ads are still available).


But if you haven’t yet started making the transition, don’t panic! You now have a bit more time to make the switch. Starting January 31st, 2017, any existing standard text ads will continue to function (for an indeterminate period), but it will no longer be possible to create or edit these ads.

So what exactly are these new Expanded Text Ads?

For those unfamiliar, the new ad format has a few key differences to the old one:

Two headline fields instead of one – These appear side-by-side, and reflow onto new lines where necessary. They can also contain up to 30 characters (including spaces) each.

A single description field – The previous 2×35 character description fields have been merged into one, with up to 80 characters available for use.

The Display URL is automatically generated – Rather than entering it manually, the Display URL is created automatically based on the URL domain of your landing page. This can be supplemented with two 15 character “path” fields, to give the user an idea of where they are being taken.

– Example –

Ads are mobile optimised – Unlike standard text ads (which require careful consideration for mobile layout), the user will now be shown previews of both desktop and mobile views, with text reflowing automatically.

What hasn’t changed? – You can still use ad extensions, advanced URL options etc. as before. The interface simply defaults to the new format, and provides live previews and examples to guide you. So the transition should be straightforward.

The new Expanded Text Ads just make better use of the space available to them. I mentioned that they give you more characters to play with (nearly 50% more, in fact), but this shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to slot in more keywords to existing ad text and call the job done.

So what should you do?

Use this time to test, compare and improve your ad copy. The new dual-headline format gives you more space to get your message across, particularly to mobile users. It’s the first thing users see, so make sure you use this wisely. Your existing ads may be a good starting point, but this might also be an ideal opportunity to rethink and try out a new approach.

Think about convincing and creative ad copy that is unpretentious and specific to the keywords in the given ad group. Use the extra space in the description field to pull out values and USPs. The user is already searching for what you offer, so there is no need to put them off with unnecessary buzzwords.

Test, test, test. While the standard text ads are still available, run head-to-head comparisons with your standard text ads. When you see your Expanded Text Ads equalling, or indeed outperforming, your standard text ads, it’s time to make the switch.

With all this new messaging, make sure you don’t forget about your landing pages. The landing page copy needs to be relevant to your new ad copy.

If you’re a small business with a limited budget, you can take advantage of the extra time, and spread your testing over the next few months. If you start now, with a little care an attention, you should be in good shape by the time January comes around.

If all this seems like a lot of work or more than you can handle right now, don’t hesitate to contact us for support. Our experience in the science, healthcare, and industrial sectors gives us a firm base from which to understand your technologies and products.

Or if you haven’t yet ventured into pay-per-click advertising, and want to know more, let’s start a conversation to see how it might help your business.

Written by Omee Ahmed – Digital and Scientific Specialist 

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