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Google AdWords Expanded Text Ads Are Now Live

Google AdWords expanded text ads for paid spots yesterday. These expanded ads are mobile optimised, whilst offering around 50% more text to what was available previously.


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The update allows advertisers to showcase 2x 30 character-length headlines and an 80 character description line.

This obviously opens up more flexibility and creativity in terms of copy, with the additional benefit of gaining a small amount of increased SERP real estate.


trainers search results on mobile phones


The above examples show the newly expanded ads, with extra headlines, in action.

On the left, we can see two paid ads which have utilised the second headline feature, whilst, on the right, the middle ad is still using the legacy single headline format.

At the time of the screenshot, the update is only a few hours old but, if you look at the copy in the updated format ads above, you can already see different tactics emerging.

On the left, the second ad has taken a more informative angle with "Free Delivery at Over 500 Stores". So has the second headline on the bottom ad on the right, by the same advertisers, informing searchers of "Free Click & Collect on All Orders".

Meanwhile, the advertiser at the top of both phone screens has employed a slightly more emotive angle; "Great Deals on Trainers" and "Foot Locker Approved" in their second headline. This highlights that advertisers now have more angles to take in their copy.

A more narrowed search of "Nike trainers" produced these two ads, which highlights another change as a result of the update:


google ads screenshot


The second ad by Schuh takes advantage of being able to include 80 characters in the page description and an extended display URL: /Nike/Trainers.

This means that additional keywords may be included without running the risk of keyword stuffing. So advertisers now have more flexibility with which keywords they want to display in the ad's display URL.

Here's the back-end of AdWords with the new format:


AdWords screenshot


A little side note; when using the old ads, the inclusion of a punctuation mark at the end of your first description line would result in inclusion of a second headline (in blue with larger text). This update basically undermines that trick, so if you now want that second headline text, you manually have to go and update your ads.

The fact that these ads now command slightly more real estate on the results page means we have to question the impact on organic results and SEO. Will one organic result be sacrificed when all paid advertisers are using all available space? It's not unimaginable. Will the positioning of ads and shopping change in relation to organic? It depends if Google prioritise paid features or user experience.

But back to the AdWords update itself, if you're a creature of habit the good news is that you can still switch to the legacy style ads (until 26th of October)... but who wants to advertise the old way and not stay ahead of the competition? 

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