Screen with illustration example of a Google text ad

Say hello to Google’s new expanded text ads

This week, Rebecca Buchanan, Digital Marketing Officer at Macmillan, gives us an overview of the recent changes to Google AdWords and its impact on our search ads, as well as tips for creating expanded text ads.

Have you heard about one of the latest changes to Google AdWords? We only have until January 31st, 2017 to change all Standard Text Ads to the new Expanded Text Ad (ETA) format. So if not, it’s time to find out more.

So what exactly does this mean? Basically, Google has doubled the character limit! Unsurprisingly, they’ve gone for a mobile-first strategy and designed the extra space to increase performance on mobile. But don’t worry; what works on mobile invariably works on desktop too.

The new specifications: 

  • Two 30-character headlines.
  • One 80-character description line.
  • Domain automatically extracted from the final URL and the ability to add two paths (15 characters on each) to enhance the display URL.
    • E.g. Final URL is
    • The display URL will show ‘’ and you can add two additional paths, let’s say ‘CancerInfo’ and ‘Support’, so the final display URL will show as ‘’



New format

Old format

How will this impact Macmillan search ads? This is potentially a very exciting change because we have more space to get our important messages across. Whilst more characters do not guarantee a top place on Google, we’re hoping this will increase click-through rates as people will be able to easily assess the relevancy using the additional details in the ads before they click.

As a team, we are ensuring that all our search ads for campaigns are being changed to ensure they are made before the deadline. Future briefs will be supplied using ad copy in this new format.

Tips for creating expanded text ads:

• Learn from what worked best on your standard text ads.
• Add relevant content that fits well with the query. Remember quality over quantity, but the quantity is there should you need it.
• Test, test, test. Add at least two new ETA per ad group and track what works best.

It’s always good to remember that among a few other factors, a high click-through rate & relevant ad copy equal better quality scores and a lower cost-per-click. This is the aim!

Whilst the final deadline to change all ads over to the new format will come at the end of January, it pays to make the change as soon as possible. Expanded text ads have been reported to be working well and changing soon might just give you a competitive edge in auctions over those who have not yet made the change themselves. So don’t delay, and update your copy today!

For more information, take a look at Google’s best practices here. Also, do not hesitate to contact us at, we will be happy to help.










Leave a Reply

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

Our tweets