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Making the Most of Google’s Expanded Ad Format

When Google announced in September that it would extend the deadline for transitioning to its new expanded text ads format to January 31, 2017, advertisers likely breathed a sigh of relief. The original deadline presented a challenge for some advertisers with large accounts and hundreds of ads to update, but don’t let the extra time lull you into a false sense of security. If you haven’t updated your text ads already, we strongly encourage you to do so now, so you can take advantage of the expanded format going into the holiday season.

In case you’re not familiar with the new format, here’s a quick recap:

Standard text ads: 

One 25-character headline

Two 35-character description lines

Display URL

Expanded text ads:

Two 30-character headlines

One 80-character description lines (No more awkward copy breaks!)

Two optional display URL paths


To make the most of the new format, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Create new ads. It will be tempting to just tack a second headline on existing ads and call it good, but don’t do it. Take some time to review what works best in your current ads, and incorporate those elements into brand new ads.
  2. Prioritize ad copy. The first headline is most important, and the first and second headlines need to work together in a way that makes sense to searchers since they are now displayed side by side, separated with a dash.
  3. Test ad variations. Leave your old ads running for a bit for comparison, and plan to add at least two to three expanded ads to each of your ad groups. Monitor clickthrough rates and conversion rates, and optimize as needed before pausing your old ads.
  4. Take advantage of the URL path fields. Include keywords to help make the ad more relevant to searchers based on their query.
  5. Re-visit your ad extensions. If you’ve been using them with the shorter ad format, some of them may become redundant when combined with your expanded ads.

Need help making the switch to expanded text ads? Give us a call or view our search advertising service page.  We’ve got it down to a science.