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Is Bigger Better? Adwords Expanded Text Ads & You!

It’s one of the biggest Adwords changes in years.

Expanded Text ads are a buzz-worthy topic these days, and with good reason. More ad real estate has always been a good thing in the Adwords universe, and these babies are HUGE.

PPC nerds rejoice!

On Second Thought…


Now that the sexiness of this new feature has worn off, we realize that after some 10 years of perfecting the art of short copy, we now have damn near twice as many words to write, and need to rethink our entire emotional-painpoint-valueprop-%#@’in strategy.

And, as an agency with tens of thousands of ads across hundreds of accounts, we’re suddenly faced with an overwhelming challenge.

How in THE hell are we going to go about all this? What will it mean??

Here’s a few thoughts and considerations we’ve assembled as we tinker with Google’s latest & greatest paid platform update.

Increased Link Between Organic & Paid Snippets

A  few months back, Google removed sidebar ads to create a ‘unified experience for desktop & mobile users’ which is said to have set the stage for this new feature.

As such, your Adwords copy is now limited by pixel width, not character limit.

Sound familiar?

While your meta titles and meta descriptions have been measured by pixel width for years, Adwords now jumps on board with a similar concept. Samesies!

But what about those ‘approx’ total characters one has available you ask? Check this out:

Meta Title Versus Ad Headline:

  • Adwords Headlines 1 & 2 = 60 chars
  • Ideal Meta Title = 55-60 chars

Adwords Description & Callouts Versus Meta Description:

  • Adwords Description (80) & Callouts (60) Length  = 140 chars
  • Ideal Meta Description Length = 140-150 chars


Speaking of Meta Data, Sounds like a great starting point?

Given this similarity, using your website’s meta title & meta description as a starting point for these new ads seems sensical, right? Fred Vallaeys over at Optmyzer sure thinks so, and his company has created a pretty cool script that can help get you on your way.

Disclaimer: I highly recommend you have a Sunny before trying this one at home.

Updates in Bulk

Going through each account, ad by ad and manually creating new copy may work for a single account, but as an agency we need to think bigger (and smarter).

Wordstream recently released a handy dandy excel sheet template that can be used with the Adwords Editor to bulk upload Expanded Text ads. We’ve used this sheet with success, and are currently updating some of our internal sheets to work with the new formats as well.

If you’ve got more than a few dozen new ads to write, I would highly suggest thinking about these updates through the lens of efficiency as opposed to a brute force manual keystroke binge.

Increased CTR’s could lead to unexpected budget & impression share issues

Google has indicated that some advertisers have seen a some 20% increase in CTR. Yowza!

Impressive as that may be, a long standing, stable account with a 7% CTR getting 1000 clicks a month that jumps to an 8.5% CTR generating 1200 clicks may lead to significant impression share and budget issues. Double Yowza!

This is something we are aware of, and are watching our ‘Lost IS Due to budget’ like a hawk on accounts with new ads.

Final Thought on Expanded Ads

In October 2016, advertisers will no longer be allowed to create standard, ‘short’ ads. This has some worried.

While there appears to be no certainty surrounding when and if standard ads will be phased out, if you are absolutely convinced that your dusty old ‘small’ ads are the way to roll, you’ll still have the option to simply not use all of the characters you have available if you’re feeling nostalgic, lazy, or both.

While most competent marketers (including we Adster folk) are saying ‘split test errrthang’, almost all signs are pointing to ‘bigger is better’ (including our initial data).

Plus, we agencies are only at the beginning of exploring new possibilities within this new universe of creative possibilities.

Need some help with Expanded Text ads? Give us a shout and let’s nerd out together!