Earlier this year, Google officially launched its new expanded PPC text ads format, allowing two-line headlines and a longer description, giving advertisers an additional 35 characters to work with. The company has stated that the motivation behind the change was a desire to provide mobile users with more information.
According to industry research, early testing resulted in an average click-through rate increase of 20 percent. This data has since been verified up by research carried out by both WordStream and Clicteq – with the latter also reporting a spike in conversions. So what do digital marketing professionals need to do to ensure maximum use of the new ad format?
1. Be Prepared to Put the Hours In
Improvements to both click-through rates and conversions mean that the new format promises a paid search revolution and presents a tremendous opportunity to PPC marketers. With that said, it’s important to note that moving everything over to the new format may not be a swift process.
Manually switching all PPC text adverts over to the ETA format is likely to require significant time and effort from the staff or search marketing agency overseeing the campaigns. Additionally, there is added time pressure, after Google announced they will no longer be accepting standard text ads beyond the 31st January 2017.
Several free online scripts for AdWords are available and can help to make the task a lot easier. Nevertheless, while automated methods have their place, they may not always work brilliantly with every ad campaign. Therefore, to get the most from the new format, you need to keep the benefits in mind and be willing to put the time in.
2. Experiment With Different Wording
The extra space offered by the extended text ad format provides a great opportunity for your business or search marketing agency to experiment with different wording. Google has been clear in stating that advertisers experimenting with multiple different versions of their ads produce better results in the long run. You may find that your conversion rate increases, because the additional space for the ad description makes it easier for people to decide whether the ad is offering what they want. However, it is critical to remember that there is no obligation to use all of the additional characters required, especially on your headlines.
“Sometimes ‘Your Company’s Name – Official Site’ might be all you need,” says Senthil Hariramasamy, Google’s Senior Product Manager for Ad Formats. “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.”
3. Measure Your New Ad Campaigns
Finally, you need to continually measure the performance of your new expanded text campaigns and pay special attention to what the data is telling you. Prior to Google’s deadline, it is sensible to keep your old ads running alongside the new ones, until such time as the new ads start to overtake the older ads on your key metrics.
For many companies, the process of switching to the new format will involve plenty of trial and error. Generally speaking, it makes sense to utilize old ads as a base template for your new campaigns and follow the same basic principles when it comes to deciding what makes a successful PPC advert.
Similarly, if you have a high-performing ad, it’s wise to try to switch it over to the new format without making unnecessary changes. Remember, increasing the length of an ad does not necessarily ensure better results. Although the expanded format can produce great results, you should be careful not to hurt the relevancy of your ads by adding too much new text, or by losing sight of the user query you are actually targeting in the first place.
Christelle Macri is the founder of Ebizpromotion, a leading seo agency in Berkshire, with a no-nonsense and ethical approach to digital marketing. She is also search engine consultant with over 17 years’ experience in the internet advertising industry. Having worked for a major search engine and pioneering pay for performance advertising networks, she is an expert at turning her clients’ websites into consistent revenue streams, using a variety of digital channels. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter.