Knowledge Base – Expanded Text Ads

Pay per click (PPC) is essential for any business serious about their online visibility. It is a proven model for increasing traffic and therefore conversions – which is why you should be utilising it as part of your paid search strategy. With that in mind it is vital that you understand the ad process and the changes that Google has made to their text ads – namely the inception of their expanded text ads.

What are Expanded Text Ads?

Expanded text ads are deemed as the next generation of text ads. With so much focus on the way search marketing has transferred from desktop to mobile, Google decided that it had to change in order to reflect this whilst keeping both parties – the users and the advertisers in mind.

Expanded text ads give advertisers additional control over their messaging, and provide users with more information before they click on an ad. Like text ads, expanded text ads are available on both the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network (GDN), and are supported by all the AdWords tools that currently support text ads.

The new ads are dynamic and are optimised for both desktop and the ever evolving mobile world. New ads will automatically adjust between device sizes highlighting their versatility.

By the end of January 2017  it will no longer be possible to create standard text ads, and although Google has said that existing ones will continue to function, they will eventually succumb to the expanded text ads which will then become the norm.

Why the update?

Google, being such a proactive company, is always looking to make updates. The reality is that as this is where they make their money, it is in their interest to ensure that search is constantly adapting, refining, growing and converting.

Google knew that they had to adapt, especially in a mobile-first environment and as such has called this the largest change to text ads since they launched AdWords. As we have previously reported, over half of all searches are now conducted on a mobile figure and it would be fair to say this percentage is only going to increase.

Major differences

Since the formation of AdWords, those working in PPC have stuck to the trusty 25-25-35 combination of ad writing. The numbers in the sequence relate to a 25-character headline and the two 35-character description lines that standard text ads were formatted in. The new upgrade now means the developers and writers have two 30 word headlines and an 80 word description line as displayed in the image below.

As well as this increase in the character limits the new expanded text ads have brought with them a change to the display URLs. The URLs are now extracted automatically instead of the old style manual entry.

Display changes

As mentioned in the previous section with expanded text ads, you no longer need to enter a Display URL that matches your Final URL domain. Instead, AdWords will take the domain from your Final URL and show it as your ad’s Display URL.

Expanded text ads also introduces two optional “Path” fields, which can hold up to 15 characters. The “Path” fields are part of the Display URL in expanded text ads, which is typically displayed in green text below the headline and above the description. The fields give potential customers an idea of where they will end up on your site once they have clicked your ad, so the text you put in the fields should describe the product or service described in the ad in more detail.

They are part of your Display URL, and are placed after your website’s domain. So if your final URL is you might want your path text to be Tennis and Shoes so your ad’s display URL is

The text that you put in the path fields doesn’t necessarily have to be part of your website’s URL, but it should be related to the content on your landing page

Below is an example of how the new expanded text ads will look like in the AdWords interface.

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