At Google’s Performance Summit in May 2016, a number of new AdWords features were introduced; including in-store conversion tracking, a new platform interface and Expanded Text Ads. After a few months of client beta testing, we’ve got some exciting results to share with you!

Firstly, what are Expanded Text Ads and how do they differ from Standard Ads?

Standard text ads have a 90-character limit (including spaces). This is made up of a 25-character headline, two 35-character description lines, and a 35-character limit for display URLs.

The new Expanded Text Ads have a tweet-sized 140-character limit (also including spaces). This breaks down into two 30-character ad headlines and one combined 80-character description line.

The display URL is pre-populated with the landing page domain, and advertisers still have free-rein on URL paths.

In terms of getting maximum results for our clients, ad copy best-practices remain the same. However, we have extra space to feature more keywords, more benefits, more USPs and better call to actions than ever before.

The initial beta was rolled out to a number of high-priority brands, including a number of Silverbean clients, but only on a small number of impressions, to ensure that conversion rates and revenue weren’t compromised if the new ad format wasn’t a popular choice for Google searchers.

“The biggest change to Google search in the last 15 years” Fintan Gillespie, Industry Head at Google UK

However luckily for advertisers, the searching UK population really took to the new longer character ads, meaning the Expanded Text Ads have been fully launched in AdWords to all accounts globally.

Performance of these new ads can be judged on two things; click-through rate and conversion rates. Basically, are our ads generating more traffic, and are they increasing sales?

Here are a couple of client examples that answer those very questions.



As we can see, despite occupying a lower percentage of impressions, click through rates are higher throughout all 3 examples of Expanded Text Ads in practice.

However, conversion rates are varied; with Expanded ads only reporting a higher conversion rate for 2/3 examples.

Expanded Text Ads show an 18% increase in CTR vs Standard ads

Obviously it’s still very early days in the testing and optimisation process, but we know users are responding well to the new ad format so much that Google are retiring the Standard text ads from 26th October. From this date onwards, advertisers will only be able to create ads in the Expanded ad formant; although Standard text ads will still receive impressions.

We look forward to monitoring this closely over the next few weeks, and will keep you updated if there’s any more useful insights to share!