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Improve Ad Performance with AdWords Expanded Text Ads

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Paid Media

Say goodbye to generic text ads! With the new expanded text ads, you now have more flexibility with your character limit to write more attractive ad copy.

The expanded text ads allow for:

  • Two headlines of 30 characters for each
  • One description of 80 characters
  • Two URL paths of 15 characters for each

Together, this provides for 50 percent more text in the ad copy!

12 Ways to Improve AdWords Performance

Here are some effective ways to utilize the new expanded text ads:

#1 Focus on Your Headlines

Your headlines are the clickable space on your text ads. You now have more than twice as many headline characters as were available before. What you put into that space will determine how enticing your ad text is – as big blue headlines are more prominent than your description text. The content and quality of your headlines is crucial and will determine how well your ads perform.

Your headlines should receive the majority of your testing attention. As you go about implementing and testing expanded text ads, focus on writing the best headline possible. Creating great headlines has the most potential to make a big difference in ad performance.

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CoSchedule Free Headline Analyzer
The additional headline in your ads gives you another thing to consider: your line break. Generally, mobile headlines will have a line break in them, while desktop ads will not. In every case, there will be a dash between headlines one and two.

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A flexible headline can be appealing on all types of devices. Remember, you can’t create a set of headlines that relies on a line break, as there’s no guarantee where that line break will actually fall. A tablet might see some of headline two on a second line, while a desktop device will have it all on one line.

Two headline fields raise another question about ad text – should your call to action be in the first or second headline? It’s a great question, and exactly the type of thing that you should test as you optimize your blurb.

#2 Get Creative: Rethink Your Entire Ad

Your ads now have a lot more breathing room, which means you can reveal more about yourself to prospective clients. Whatever ad copy was most successful for you in the previous system can instruct you on what to do with the expanded space. Put another way, you can now say things that you couldn’t say before.

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#3 Focus Your Messaging on your Audience’s Needs and Benefits

Focus on what a user gets by visiting your site. Think about words that enhance reliability or trustworthiness (ex. “official site”), a wide selection (ex. “view our inventory”), and whatever else someone would want before visiting your site. Although those specific benefits will vary from industry to industry, start the ad copy writing process by thinking about your users first.

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Aside from knowing your own business and your customers, there are plenty of other ways to get insight into what users care about.
Connect the terms you see in the search term report with what ad copy is serving.

Look at behavior reports in Google Analytics to see which pages on your site are most appealing to new or returning users.
Use language from successful pages on your own site as an inspiration for your ad copy.

Think about why you would want to be a customer of your business, and do what you can to capture that in your ad copy.

#4 Provide Answers in Your Ad Copy

While this isn’t a rule to be followed 100 percent of the time, ad copy with a question in the headline often underperforms, while ads that offer answers typically receive more attention and clicks.

Asking someone searching for “black dress shoes” if they’re “Searching for Black Dress Shoes?” is the type of question that never needs to be asked. Plenty of advertisers have seen success with a question in their headline, but more often than not this proves to be a lower-performing version.

If you want to test out headlines with questions in them, keep a close eye on that test, and don’t be surprised if the version that offers a direct answer performs better.

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A wonderfully written ad is only one component of the ad unit that competes in the auction. There are several steps you can take to give your expanded text ads the best possible chance at success.

#5 Implement All Ad Extensions that Make Sense for Your Business, Trying for at Least Four

Ad extensions make your ads more prominent and appealing for users, and they’re all designed to compliment your text ads. Many ad extensions, such as location extensions, call extensions, and app install extensions help improve the experience for consumers on mobile devices.

Multiple extensions can show with your ads, so enable everything that makes sense for your business. Ads with multiple extensions often perform better than ads with only one extension. Identify which extensions work for your business and implement them.

The best combination of these extensions is automatically determined on an auction-by-auction basis. Try to enable at least four extensions when possible – the more extension combinations you have available at each auction, the better chance you have at success.

#6 Update Your Ad Extensions to Avoid Overlap with Expanded Text Ads

The overlap between extensions and ad text is definitely something that you should consider. As you rewrite your ad text for expanded text ads, you’ll most likely be able to include additional benefits that didn’t fit when you had fewer characters with which to work.

Extensions that repeat what you already say in your ad text won’t serve. In order to prevent that, ensure that your extensions have fresh, differentiated content. You should also add additional extensions when possible, such as callouts and site links. That way you won’t need to worry about whether those extensions duplicate existing ads, as the system will try to de-duplicate content on your behalf and cycle in extensions that offer something new to users.

V Digital Services Adwords Callouts vs Rich Snippets

Aside from those considerations, the best practices for managing ad extensions are unchanged.

#7 Use Keyword Insertion and Ad Customizers if You Have Numerous Ads to Maintain

As you create new ads, you can also create a system that makes future maintenance of those ads as streamlined as possible.

Keyword insertion is an AdWords feature that dynamically updates your ad text to include one of your keywords when it matches a user’s search. Keyword insertion is best used with tightly-themed ad groups, where all keywords are perfectly relevant to the ad. Make sure that your dynamic insertions don’t cause grammatical errors, like mixing plural phrasing with a singular keyword.

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Ad customizers let you tailor your ads to a user’s search, making things more compelling. The countdown feature lets your ads dynamically create a genuine sense of urgency. Location customizers let a user know that you offer what they want nearby. In those, and many other ways, you can make tailored ads that scale across your entire account.

#8 Monitor Lost Impression Share Due to Budget in High Volume Campaigns

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Expanded text ads, with their longer headlines and descriptions, can result in more clicks. If your budgets are near their daily limit, you’ll need to adjust accordingly. Lost impression share due to budget is the fastest way to see what opportunities you’re missing out on.

If your budget is fixed, use this as an opportunity to evaluate if you are allocating that budget in the right ways across campaigns. If your budget is uncapped, ensure that your campaigns have enough space to accommodate the extra traffic that longer ads can drive for you.

#9 Test and Optimize Creatives

Well-written ad creative starts out as great only in theory. It’s up to your actual performance to see what users respond to. It’s important to establish a robust testing and optimization process.

#10 Test and Iterate Your Ad Creative

You can learn about your users’ preferences and improve your performance by honing ad text, especially your headlines. Here are some tips to establish a testing framework that’s manageable and repeatable:

    • Be organized. Use AdWords labels and something as simple as a calendar to help you to keep a schedule. Be sure to document the start and end times of your campaign.
    • Establish a testing threshold and stick to it. Wait until you have served enough impressions to be confident in your results.
    • Limit how many elements you test within your ads. Make different variations similar enough so that you learn from their differences.
    • Learn what works for you and keep track of the findings. Don’t repeat tests that you completed six months ago. Test with purpose. Brush off those scientific method skills: establish a hypothesis; prove or disprove that hypothesis; document results; and test again.

#11 Focus Your Testing Efforts on High-Value Campaigns

It’s important to prioritize your testing efforts on the places that matter most. Think about areas of your account that drive a lot of volume or value for you. You can also focus on ad groups that would benefit the most from a new set of ad creative.

#12 Evaluate Your Ad Rotation Settings

AdWords offers four different ad rotation settings:

      1. Optimize for clicks
      2. Optimize for conversions
      3. Rotate evenly
      4. Rotate indefinitely

While there are usually cases to be made for each of the four options, the recommended approach is either to optimize for clicks or conversions. These options automatically rotate in the creative that is projected to perform the best in each auction. Ads optimized to drive clicks or conversions can improve both your competitiveness and your bottom line.

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If you choose to rotate evenly or indefinitely, it’s important to stay on top of your tests. Every impression that an underperforming ad receives is a missed opportunity, and those opportunities cost you money.

Ultimately, when you are deciding the outcome of ad tests, you can use a combination of performance stats like click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate along with percent served.

If the system is showing an ad more often than another, it can mean that it’s better at winning impressions in the auction itself, which is often a strong reason to prefer that creative over others.

Contact V Digital Services About Your Paid Advertising Campaign

Your ad text represents your brand to consumers who search on Google.com. At V Digital Services, we know that it’s important to get the messaging right. With more characters to play with than ever before, there’s never been a better time to connect with people as they search.

Let us show you how to make the most of expanded text ads. Contact V Digital Services today!