Transition to Google Expanded Ads by Jan. 31 or Face the Consequences

Google-Adwords-search_FB-300x200 Transition to Google Expanded Ads by Jan. 31 or Face the Consequences

In mid 2016, Google announced an upgrade to its adwords text platform to include “expanded” ad formats. That means, among other things, that headlines and description lines in ads have increased in length.

Effective January 31, all text ad formats will be required to be in the new expanded format.

Why did Google make this change?

According to Search Engine Land, “Google has said the extra copy was specifically designed to give mobile users more information and cited an average CTR [click-thru rate] bump of 20 percent in early tests.”

Here’s what you need to know.

  • The expanded ads will appear 47 percent larger than traditional text ads, meaning they will be more visual than other text ads for a while.
  • Two headline fields will be used rather than one, will be separated by a hyphen, and may wrap to a second line. Each headline field will consist of 30 characters, an increase from the previous, single line of only 25 characters.
  • One description line of 80 characters versus the previous two-line descriptor of 35 characters each will be used.
  • Display URLs are no longer needed. Rather, Google will provide two field options past the domain, including a landing page and tracking parameter. Learn more about the landing page parameter. The tracking template parameter, which identifies the type of device users use to access your ad, or a keyword, is also new. Learn more about tracking parameters.
  • The mobile device setting will no longer need to be checked when creating ads that will run on mobile devices. You also no longer need to create mobile-only campaigns to meet this need.

New Ad Format Example

Old Format

Headline [max 25 characters]: Get Ready for Tax Season
Description Line 1 [max 30 characters]: Individual, Corp, Small Biz We
Description Line 2 [max 30 characters]: have you covered. Call today!
Display URL: http://A1AccountingFirm.com/TaxSeason
Actual URL: http://A1AccountingFirm.com/Tax-season-landing-page-123475

The ad would look like this when displayed on desktop, mobile, or tablet device:

Get Ready for Tax Season
Individual, Corp, Small Biz We
have you covered. Call today!
http://A1AccountingFirm.com/TaxSeason

New Format

In this example, we are going to run the ad with a focus on real estate, which will be reflected in the URL’s keyword field.

Headline 1 [max 30 characters]: Get Ready for Tax Season –
Headline 2 [max 30 characters]: Indiv, Corp, Small Biz
Description Line [max 80 characters]: Specializing in tax returns for more than 50 yrs. Get money back. Call us today!
URL [15 characters past the domain name + tracking parameter]: http://A1AccountingFirm.com/Tax-Season?keyword=Real-Estate

The ad would look like this when displayed on desktop, mobile, or tablet device:

Get Ready for Tax Season – Indiv, Corp, Small Biz
Specializing in tax returns for more than 50 yrs. Get money back. Call us today!
http://A1AccountingFirm.com/Tax-Season

Transition

The transition period has already begun. The new format will be implemented on January 31, 2017. However, old-format ads may continue to run alongside new ads, but you will not be able to edit them.

What you should do now.

  1. Update all standard ads using the bulk editor and add new ads using the bulk upload feature.
  2. Don’t pause the old ads right away. Use both ad formats for a little while, up to 60 days, to compare which ads are performing better. Adjust expanded ads until they outperform your traditional ones.
  3. Optimize headlines using the first line for the most important information and the second line as a supporting line.
  4. Consider the additional description line length and how you can maximize your message with a few extra characters.
  5. Use a landing page URL extension to send searchers directly to the content you want.
  6. Include a tracking parameter, such as device or keyword that triggered a conversion to your site.

There are a lot of resources online that can help walk you through this change. However, if you’re not comfortable with the new format, consult a professional adwords consultant to help you out.

Now that you know the change is coming, how will you modify your adwords campaigns to include these new features?

 

Disclaimer: This post originally appeared in the CPA Client Bulletin Resource Guide, © 2017, AICPA. Reprinted by permission.

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