Using Expanded Text Ads

I’m sure you’ve all seen Expanded Text Ads when you last ‘Googled’ (searched on Google) something that has resulted in at least a few paid ads being shown, such as the example below using ‘current account offers’. Expanded Text Ads started to be rolled out by Google a few months ago allowing advertisers to expand on the ’35-25-25′ rule, where you had 35 characters for the headline and 25 characters for each of the two description lines.

Expanded Text Ads

In the above example, you can see how the NatWest and Know Your Money adverts are using the two headline fields – as opposed to their website automatically being pulled up. NatWest’s ad in particular stands out as they’ve also used a callout ad extension, structured snippets and sitelinks to further enhance their ad – which takes up more ‘real estate’.

In terms of my experience so far, ‘Headline #1’ is more important than ‘Headline #2’ as you can never be too sure where ‘Headline #2’ will be. It can be truncated or potentially fall on to the second line, e.g. on mobile devices – so make sure your ‘key’ message is short and sweet in the first headline with the second playing the supporting role, like the NatWest ad above. Talking of mobile, with mobile searches taking over desktop searches on Google last year, it’s important to make sure your ads (and website) are optimised for mobile – and I’d recommend adding phone numbers to your ads to give users the option to simply call (if your business is that way inclined).

Additionally, with Expanded Text Ads, you’ll notice that the ‘Display URL’ is different, with the first part (the domain) now predefined based on your ‘Final URL’, allowing you to add two snippets after the domain separated by /’s. For example, if your ‘Final URL’ is, then your ‘Display URL’ would be – with ‘XXX’ your opportunity to add two 15 character strings. I’d strongly recommend ensuring that these are keywords related to your ad / what keywords you’re actually targeting.

Depending on who you talk to, some say Expanded Text Ads are great – and as always, some disagree with others being undecided. Expanded Text Ads are new so it’s important to test them out – don’t just switch off your current ads, run both and continuously monitor results. What isn’t debatable is that this is another big change from Google, after scrapping ads down the right hand side on desktop. There’s much debate as to why these changes have happened but it seems to be mainly focused on bringing desktop and mobile closer together in terms of user experience. Saying that, there’s surely bound to be a positive impact on Google’s bottom line with limited ad space likely to drive up competition (thus, CPCs) with organic results lower down (below the fold) especially on mobile.

Bing are starting to roll out the same functionality via a pilot. To join the pilot, you’ll need to apply.

Nonetheless, whatever you do make sure (as always) you’re keeping your ads relevant to the actual user’s search. Adding ‘stats’ have been known to work well, e.g. No. 1 for X, Earn 3% Rewards, etc., as well as focusing on benefits, services offered and reviews (through the extension and / or via third party review services).