Google Search Ads have almost doubled in size so what does that mean for advertisers?


In today’s “blog before breakfast” (that’s my incentive to get blogging first thing in the morning), we’re going to take a quick look at the changes to Google text ads and what they mean for advertisers.  

This post is a summary of a worthwhile WordStream webinar I attended blurry-eyed at 4am yesterday morning. Fortunately, I am an early riser. And luckily, the information was of immense value. 

Hot on the heels of the recent name change from Google AdWords to Google Ads, Google has generously almost doubled the number of characters that can be included in text ads.

If you’re managing Google Ads accounts, here’s what you need to know:

  • The number of headlines available has increased from 2 to 3

  • You can now use two descriptions of up to 90 characters each  

Collectively, these two measures mean Ads can now include a whopping 300 characters!

So, what’s the current advice on making the most of these extra characters? I’ll be adopting WordStream’s guidelines with my existing clients which are summarised below.

1.     Avoid repetition or keyword stuffing

Consider your value proposition and how the additional characters can be used to convey more valuable information about your products or services.

2.     Write ads with your audience in mind

Segment your customers and think about the intent of customers in each segment when they are carrying out a search. Differentiate ads for each segment – even if the keywords are the same.

3.     Test multiple ads

As Google determines which ads to serve to searchers, you have nothing to lose by writing 3-4 ads per segment. People respond differently to different content and it is reported that ad groups with more ads can have up to 21% higher click-through-rates (CTR). 

4.     Prioritise the 1st and 2nd headline descriptions

While these new longer ads represent an opportunity to tell potential customers more about your goods or services, keep in mind that the 3rd headline and 2nd description may not always show. Use these fields to add value propositions but ads must make sense without them. Do not include a main Call to Action in these sections.

5.     Revisit ad extensions

Google will avoid serving a redundant ad. Ads that are repetitive and include the same information in the text and extensions may not show. Be careful not to repeat existing ad extensions in the additional description field.

6.     Don’t pause old ads immediately

This was my most valuable take-away. WordStream reports the last major change to expanded text ads resulted in a potential click-through boost of 15-20% for accounts working in the new format. Conversely, up to a third of customers noted a decrease in click-through rates.

While it’s tempting to pause all the old ads and start fresh with the new, longer ads, the general advice is to run both side-by-side until you’ve had a chance to review performance. Technically, bigger ads done well should perform better but you won’t know unless the initial ads remain in place for comparison.

As is usually the case with any online marketing campaigns, continue monitoring and testing to determine what works for your industry and audience. I’ll be trialling longer ads with my clients over the coming weeks and will report back on the results.

Hopefully by sharing this information, I have saved you the need for a blurry-eyed early morning seminar!

Screenshot of some companies using the longer ads in the home insurance industry

Screenshot of some companies using the longer ads in the home insurance industry

 An opportunity for small businesses?

A quick search conducted this morning indicates that, in Australia, many of the big companies in service industries such as finance, home insurance and health funds are already running the new ads (see image for examples of home insurance), while the consumer goods market is a little slower off the mark with only a handful of major players currently running the new ad styles.

With few smaller local businesses being proactive in taking the leap (on the Sunshine Coast anyway) there’s potentially an initial opportunity to gain an edge over the competition while everyone else gets up to speed.

If you’re using Google Ads and need some help to refine your campaigns, please reach out, we would love to help! And if you haven’t tried Google Ads and want to explore how they might generate more leads or sales for your business, please contact us and we can talk.

Bek Park