Life with Expanded Text Ads

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosts PPCChat with another great question set titled “Life With Expanded Text Ads.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Are you still writing standard text ads? Why or why not?

  • Only as backups to ETAs in new campaigns/adgroups/ – Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
  • No. I figure, ETAs = the future, so might as well figure it out now. I have left some top-performing STAs live for testing. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Yes. Because, for most of my clients, ETAs convert worse. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • No. Eventually you’re going to have to figure out an ETA that works so I focus purely on the new format. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • No, expanded ads all the way. Two headlines means more of a chance to get attention. – Terry Porter (@TPorter2)
  • Aggressively negative. why bother? If you want short ads, make short ads. I’d always take an extra 40+ characters. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • Nope…certainly have plenty of legacy ones active but doesn’t make sense to create new ones. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Very rarely, but some Search Partner sites still only accept standard ads. – Matt Umbro
    • Interesting, wasn’t aware of this. – Timothy Jensen
  • No. I am slowly integrating ETAs into all my client AdWords accounts. It’s testing-time. – Santousha Kalk (@sem_tousha)
  • If the campaign is running on search partner sites, keeping one standard text ad variation, but only A/B testing copy with ETAs. – Emma Franks (@akaEmmaLouise)
  • No, I’m focusing on creating expanded ads that can beat the remaining standard ones. – Dennis Moons (@DennisMoons)
  • At this point it’s 95% expanded text ads. – Matt Umbro
  • Almost exclusively ETA. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • Keeping strong Standard ads in the rotation as backups and making small tweaks as needed. – Colleen McCaskell (@SpitfirePPC)
  • Anyone still writing mobile preferred ads? I’m writing mobile preferred ETAs!…more to come soon. – Matt Umbro
    • ETAs yes! I though you meant mobile standard text ads. – Joe Martinez
      • I do – just seeing if anyone still writes the standard mobile preferred. – Matt Umbro
    • Creating device specific campaigns and writing ads specific to those devices has been my approach. – Dallas Stevens
    • Not anymore. I still use Mobile preferred ad extensions though. – Santousha Kalk
  • No longer writing them, but definitely still using them. They appear to be needed to reach search partners. – Tanner Schroeder (@TannerSchroeder)
  • Don’t write STA anymore, but use their data for ETA AB test to compare performance. – Esperanza Arriagada (@esperanza_scl)
  • Testing suggests, ETAs are not eligible for 100% of the impressions. So, need to write standard ads for new ad groups. – Shashikant Kore (@kshashi)
  • Currently only writing ETA but still have standard and still running. – Dallas Stevens (@DDP_PPC)
  • We were running a lot of unofficial 2nd headlines anyway (via desc line 1) bc they performed better so not too hard to switch. – Emma Franks
  • A colleague saw Impression Share drop across some campaigns he updated to ETA only so trying to err on the side of caution. – Colleen McCaskell
  • Switching over all ads to ETA . I am actually getting better results than standard ads. – David Cox (@dcoxdesigns)

Q2: What observations (positive or negative) do you have about expanded text ads? Why?

  • Overall ad CTRs are up, but I’m seeing slightly less exposure for ad extensions (mostly sitelinks) in some cases. – Joe Martinez
  • I love that there’s now 2 paths instead of just one for the display URL. Great for easy A/B testing and granularity! – Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)
  • More headline room, extra space to “expand” on product features. – Terry Porter
  • Don’t feel forced to hit limits. Run ETA tests where A fills all chars & B utilizes shorter, punchier text. – Kirk Williams
    • Something I’ve learned with time…resist the urge to use as many words as possible every time. Brief copy can stand out. – Timothy Jensen
  • Not a statistical look, but after rereading my (old) AdWords writing guide, there is a *strong* case for rethinking PS ad copy. – Doug Thomas
  • Positive: great to have extra characters to create more interesting variations. – Dennis Moons
  • Love more space for obvious reasons. Not liking the more extreme crackdown on punctuation in headlines. – Timothy Jensen
  • I love being able to put the CTA in the headline where it’s going to stand out the most! – Matt Umbro
  • The “export as expanded text ad” button in AdWords Editor is Google’s single greatest contribution to science. – Kirk Williams
  • I am not impressed. I like that I have more room to play with, but that can also be a negative. – Santousha Kalk
  • For the most part. ETAs are performing better – but not universally. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • ETAs generally same/better performance — notably though: dramatic improvement in performance after implementing ETAs in Bing. – Emma Franks
  • Clients are WAY more particular about the copywriting process for ETAs vs. the old ads. – Colleen McCaskell
  • Idea was to make look like organic. Higher CTR is great, but can mean less qualified clicks. Double-edged sword. – Robert Brady
  • For one client was worried we were OVER-qualifying with add’t ad text but CTR went up around 25% even w/ disqualifying language. – Tim Halloran (@timmhalloran)
  • So many more characters for ad copy. I never knew I had so much to say until I had the room to say it. – Tanner Schroeder
  • Negative: Review process not instant (although it has gotten a lot faster). – Dennis Moons
  • To me, the description line is deemphasized and doesn’t nearly matter as much as it once did. – Matt Umbro
  • They seem to have broken google’s ad delivery algo. If you set ads to even rotation, they won’t rotate evenly any more. – Steve Gibson
  • I’m able to fit city names in headlines that never worked before. – Timothy Jensen
  • Extra room for description it’s great. Any empirical studies on why ETAs are not performing as expected? Lack of CTA? – Esperanza Arriagada
  • No more frustrating 26-character headlines. – Robert Brady

Q3: Have you migrated all of your campaigns to expanded text ads yet? Just in Google? And Bing? Why or why not?

  • 85% changed over to ETA. I make it in Adwords then copy to Bing. Works great. – David Cox
  • Don’t “migrate” everything – run standard alongside ETA’s for both engines. Delayed on bing as bid tools aren’t quite there yet. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Google, yes, Bing, no. Marin requires upgraded URLs to adopt Bing XTAs. They’ve been slow on integration. – Kevin Klein (@kkwrites)
  • Every ad group has ETAs, but most are still running alongside standard ads. – Matt Umbro
    • Same, except where old STAs didn’t make sense when D1 pulled into 2nd headline. Paused to avoid confusion. – Emma Franks
  • We only use AdWords, and not all campaigns have ETA’s yet. Working on it! – Terry Porter
  • Not yet. Haven’t been forced to yet. I hate upsetting the entire apple cart until forced. To be clear, I would happily change everything over ASAP if current ETAs were totally dominating STAs. They’re not, so. – Kirk Williams
  • If the standard text ads are performing, I’m not taking them away. Run ETAs alongside them as long as I can. – Joe Martinez
  • ETA’s are in every ad group on Google and Bing, but we are running them alongside standard ads still. – Tanner Schroeder
  • Still running STA in most campaigns. But moving to ETA as ad groups are reviewed & updated. – Kyle Crocker
  • Not yet. I am slowly adding new ETA’s to my accounts and then optimizing them when the results come in. – Santousha Kalk
  • Rolling them out in thematically relevant chunks. Writing copy and getting sign-off is more time-consuming than in the past. – Colleen McCaskell
  • I prefer not to do away with the standard ads that are giving me good results just yet. – Santousha Kalk
  • Currently rolling out to all accounts… conservatively. Testing in High Volume segments 1st. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Also, since STAs aren’t actually going to be disapproved, why ever change until it’s beaten in a test if currently beating ETA? – Kirk Williams
  • I’ve built ETAs across almost all G ad groups and some Bing where we have beta access. Still keeping standard ads active though. That being said, any new clients/buildout since ETA availability I tend to build only ETA. – Timothy Jensen

Q4: What are you noticing when migrating expanded text ads to Bing?

  • It’s a bit odd, but I really didn’t want BingAds to do ETAs. I’m waiting on some really unique differentiation from AdWords. – Doug Thomas
    • I hear you. Compatibility is nice, but I’m kind of sick of Bing copying vs. innovating. – Timothy Jensen
  • My ETAs perform better in Bing, but my STAs get more exposure. – Joe Martinez
  • Older accounts not running same campaigns/ad groups in Bing (bc performance differs from G) so tend to bulk upload vs. import. – Emma Franks
  • Bing results: more clicks, higher avg. position, lower CPC, more impressions,so far so good. – David Cox

Q5: Have expanded text ads changed your workflow at all? How so?

  • Just need to use a new template for ad buildout & client review…overarching process still the same. – Timothy Jensen
  • Since the description got longer, I get more client feedback to make sure the copy makes sense and is brand consistent. – Joe Martinez
  • Sometimes I find myself struggling not to repeat in the description the same text I have included in the two headlines. – Terry Porter
  • Temporary check to migrate accounts to the ETAs and maybe compare across ad types, but don’t expect it to be permanent. – Kyle Crocker
  • Yes they have changed my workflow quite a bit. I noticed that it takes me longer to write ad copy. – Santousha Kalk
  • It hasn’t necessarily changed, but I’m more aware of duplicating messaging in ad extensions. It’s certainly impacted third party tools’ workflow. – Matt Umbro
  • Yes in terms of initially transitioning things over. A separate, unexpected task to work into Basecamp! Otherwise, no. – Kirk Williams
  • ETA take longer to compose. I try to use every available character. It feels like writing poetry. – David Cox
  • Everything takes longer but I’ve already whined about this so I won’t belabor the point. Ultimately I do like the extra space. – Colleen McCaskell
  • Creating ad copy takes longer, but it feels more creative with the extra room to use. – Tanner Schroeder
  • At first writing ETAs=more time consuming but found system for adapting STAs so testing cycles should be easier going forward. – Emma Franks

Q6: How are you handling mobile specific copy with expanded text ads?

  • I assume you have to first separate device by campaigns? – Kirk Williams
    • You can use ad customizers here! You can set device as an attribute in your business data feed. – Matt Umbro
  • Ad customizers, apparently! – Colleen McCaskell
  • We’re not doing mobile specific anything. Our analytics show us that our B2B customers are searching overwhelmingly on desktop. – Terry Porter
    • Same here. mobile bidding double my ad spend but barely impacts conversions. I bid down by device and save my money. – David Cox
  • TBH performance generally not that different for mobile-specific when tested previously, so just using mobile Final URLs if any. – Emma Franks
    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one that didn’t see substantive difference from mobile preferred copy! – Colleen McCaskell
  • Create shorter extensions & change the extension copy to speak to the user on the go if applicable. – Joe Martinez
  • + incentive to split ads out by devices. Write copy that is coherent & compelling at original & extended lengths. – Bobby Stemper (@bobbystemper)
  • Do not put ETAs in call-only campaign. Overrides call-only setting & serves on computers. – Robert Brady

PPCChat Sponsored by

CallRail LogoCallRail is a call tracking platform that brings enterprise-level call analytics to businesses and agencies. CallRail makes it easy to track which marketing sources and keywords make your phone ring. We provide call tracking, recording, and analytics for PPC, SEO, web, and offline marketing campaigns. With CallRail, you can create tracking phone numbers instantly, get reports in real time, and increase your advertising ROI by learning which campaigns and keywords deliver valuable phone leads.



More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Bobby Stemper (@bobbystemper)
• Colleen McCaskell (@SpitfirePPC)
• Dallas Stevens (@DDP_PPC)
• David Cox (@dcoxdesigns)
• Dennis Moons (@DennisMoons)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Emma Franks (@akaEmmaLouise)
• Esperanza Arriagada (@esperanza_scl)
• Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Kevin Klein (@kkwrites)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Santousha Kalk (@sem_tousha)
• Shashikant Kore (@kshashi)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Tanner Schroeder (@TannerSchroeder)
• Terry Porter (@TPorter2)
• Tim Halloran (@timmhalloran)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Life With Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sponsored By

Recent Tweets

I am speaking at SMX East was rated one of the Best PPC Blogs by Boost CTR