Google Answers the 5 Most Pressing Questions About Expanded Text Ads

On May 24th 2016, Google announced a series of changes affecting its Google Maps, AdWords and Google Analytics platforms. However, it was the announcement about expanded text ads (ETAs) that seemed to illicit the most interest for digital marketing teams.

By now every big data marketing adopter is aware of the importance of text ads. They are a critical portion of any online advertising campaign, but it was the expansion of up to 45 character spaces on those adds that is most interesting. So, how did Google address the five most pressing questions about ETAs?

1.) How Do We Maximize the Performance of our ETAs?

Focus on your main headline. It's natural to want to take advantage of all that character space below your headline and fill it with descriptive keywords. However, your focus should be to first come up with an attention-grabbing headline. You can then track the click-through-rates (CTR), impressions and conversion rates of those headlines. Once you feel your headline is working, you can begin looking at the description field. If need be, use A/B split testing and run multiple ETAs to identify the best combination.

2.) Should We Just Abandon Standard Text Ads for ETAs?

The best approach is to run ETAs in unison with standard text ads. Don't immediately pull your standard text ads until you've maximized the performance of your ETAs. After all, you'll need time to identify your best performing headline. You'll also need to find the optimal keywords and keyword-sentences for your description field. Keep the standard text ads until that time where you've optimized your ETAs. If, your standard text ads continue to perform well, then there's no reason you can't run both.

Big data marketing ETAs may just be what you need to drive traffic and increase conversion rates.

3.) Should We Wait to Adopt ETAs?

It's tempting for big data marketing teams to take a "wait and see" approach. However, standard text ads have been around for years and the most common complaint has been the lack of available space for high-value keywords and descriptions. As is most often the case, early adoption is key. While you won't be penalized for waiting, it's probably best to get started and get comfortable with the new ads.

4.) Is there Anything Different About the Auctions in ETAs versus Standard Text Ads?

Ultimately, the AdWords auction hasn't changed. Much like standard text ads, the Ad Rank is still made up of the auction-time quality ratings, which is then used alongside your bid and ad extensions. The focus is to ensure that both standard ads and ETAs compete on a level playing field as not everyone will immediately adopt the new text upgrade.

5.) Are ETAs Mobile-Friendly and Why Aren't They Performing as well as my Standard Text Ads?

Yes, ETAs are mobile-friendly and optimized across multiple devices and smartphones. In fact, with mobile ETAs you can direct mobile users to mobile-optimized pages.

Analyzation is Key

As for why your standard text ads may be performing better than ETAs, well, as is so often the case, analyzing everything in depth is best. You need to adopt a fresh approach to ETAs and not just use a plug-and-play approach by transferring your standard text ad titles and descriptions over to ETAs without any real substantive changes. Start by identifying your best performing call-to-action within your content marketing strategies and see if those are good fits for your description field.

ETAs are here to stay. Google's decision to expand character fields is welcomed by many big data marketing teams who want to improve the performance of their text ads. Make sure you take full advantage of the additional characters.

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