Google Launches "Expanded Text Ads" for Paid Search

Jason Tabeling Written by: Jason Tabeling

From "Test" to Live, Google Continues to Meet Mobile Demand with Longer Paid Search Headlines, Descriptions

The world is full of change and in the digital space, the rate of change has been exponential recently. Google is in an elite pack of digital marketing change agents. As they move, so goes the marketplace. Bing and Yahoo! have been playing catch-up for years.

Lately, Google has really stepped it up within their AdWords platform for Paid Search campaigns. As a fast follower to the removal of right rail ads, Google has pushed even further by launching expanded text ads - their first change to the ad template in 15 years!

Google table of changes for Paid SearchThe idea is simple: with no more ads on the right rail there is more room for additional text – up to 50% more to be exact. This change will be expanded to both desktop and mobile and will move the previous 25-35-35 character limit to a new 30-30-80 unit.

Furthermore, Google is updating how the URL is displayed. AdWords now will automatically extract the root domain from your Final URL ( in the example below). You will then have the ability to append up to two additional paths (/NewYorkCity and /Budget in the example below). Each URL path is limited to 15 characters, but it’s enough to nudge consumers in the right direction.


So what’s the impact on Brandmuscle’s clients focused on local marketing? Here are three implications:

1)   Deeper descriptive text about your local business

With more ad copy comes the ability to give more detail about your establishment. This is a great opportunity to explain why you are the right choice for your prospective customers. Take advantage of this extra space by providing details about features, benefits and offers you have available. The additional option to add a longer extension in the display URL will also allow you to include location specifics as appropriate.

Can you think of an example when this would be used? Let us know in the comment below.

Blog post side pic (2)2)   Increased importance in monitoring ad position

With the removal of the right rail ads decreasing overall ad impressions while increasing click-through rate for top ads, the value of top paid search positions has increased. The inclusion of more copy should increase that importance. Clients appearing here will receive more share-of-voice and space on the page given to these top listings. Why does that matter? For consumers, especially on mobile, getting past the fold can often be a challenge. As this beta rolls out, monitor your click-through rate and impression share. See what the business impact of this change is and what, if any, changes need to be made to your campaigns. In the first few days, I think you’ll find the marketplace over reacting, but it should come back to a normal pattern quickly as metrics normalize. As Jeff Rohrs at Yext says: “Google sneezes and the (digital marketing) world catches a cold.”

3)   Don’t forget organic search

Lost in the news of extended text ads might be the perception that the importance of organic search and local listings doesn’t matter. However, this is NOT the case. Organic search still has tremendous power. Consumers are still wary of paid search ads and often look for organic listings. Also, there are several other ways that Google has evolved the search results page with various organic listings. These include local listings, the knowledge graph and instant answers. All of these can be great ways for local franchises, dealers and agents to drive business impact.

Below is an example of a search for “what is vinyl flooring.” The result shows a location extension for Home Depot, as well as an instant answer pulled from the Home Depot site displayed above organic listings. This is impressive considering Home Depot is actually the number two organic listing.

Vinyl flooring search results


Overall, search results pages will continue to change as consumer behavior changes. For this change specifically, Google has seen a 20 percent increase in CTR from the alpha tests it has run on ads using Extended Text. Those incremental clicks are probably not truly incremental; they were just reallocated from other listings. So, it’s important to look at your data, your specific keyword list and local competitive sets to understand the impact using Extended Text ads will have.

Ultimately, know this: the search business is one driven by understanding 1) your consumer, 2) their mindset and 3) the story that data from your campaigns tells you. If you remember those three influencers as you optimize your search campaigns, you will never go wrong.

For more, here’s the recent announcement from Google that touches on Extended Text Ads and other changes drive by consumers' increased use of mobile devices. We'll leave you with this excerpt:

Succeeding in a mobile-first world

As consumers live their lives online and blur the lines between online and offline, it’s more important than ever to build your business for mobile. Google’s building for this mobile-first world as well and we’re excited to go on this journey with you.

To see the full range of ads and analytics innovations announced this morning, watch the Google Performance Summit keynote here. Also check out the new AdWords Marketing Goals site to learn how to use ads solutions to meet your business objectives.

Jason Tabeling was recently hired as a Brandmuscle SVP of Digital and is a regular contributor to Search Engine Watch. This post was also informed by Brandmuscle's involvement in the Google Partner program, which gives us advanced notice and trial of select Google search offerings.

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