Big Changes in Motion for Paid Search Text Ads

If you’re active in the paid search arena, whether an agency or in-house, you have likely heard about the new Expanded Text Ads (live to everyone as of 07/27/16 – read the Google update here). What you may not have heard is that BingAds is likely planning on a similar timeline for their version of Expanded Text Ads.

Below, we will focus on the change from Standard Text Ads to Expanded Text ads and what it will mean for you and your accounts.


Expanded Text Ads are one of the largest changes to text ads since the dawn of Ad Extensions. Expanded Text Ads make the following changes:

Standard Text Ads:

  • Headline – 25 Characters
  • Description Line 1 – 30 Characters
  • Description Line 2 – 30 Characters
  • Display URL – 35 Characters

Expanded Text Ads:

  • Headline – Split into two lines, 30 characters each
  • Description – Merged into one line, 80 characters
  • Display URL – Final URL domain automatically pulled in as the domain, 2 “paths” are added, every 15 characters (


Below are what we see as the three best benefits from Expanded Text Ads:

Longer Headlines without the Punctuation Limitation
Currently, with standard text ads, in order to have the Description Line 1 brought up into the Headline, a punctuation mark must be used at the end of Description Line 1. Depending on the product, service, or call to action, this can be difficult to accomplish. With Expanded Text Ads, the Headline 2 will now serve where the Description Line 1 would normally be pulled up.

Better Quality Headlines with Expanded Length
Moving from 25 characters to a total of 60 characters in the headline provides a great opportunity to more easily include the desired call-to-action in the headline of the ad. Since the headline is the most prominent part of the ad, this addition could help to increase the effectiveness of the ad.

More Flexibility in the Description Line
How many times have you been writing text ads, only to find that it is next to impossible to effectively utilize all 35 characters in Description Line 1 because a long word or phrase has to be moved to Description Line 2 due to the character constraints? By combining the Description Lines 1 & 2 into one Description Line, AdWords has made it easier to use all the characters within the Description Line. Plus, you get a bonus of 10 extra characters!


Three words … First Mover Advantage. While the product is currently in beta for AdWords, and yes, there are already advertisers utilizing the new ad variations, the new format is new enough that you should be able to take advantage of the increased ad space and character limitations before some of your other competitors do.


Our accounts have seen some definite benefits since enabling Expanded Text Ads. Over a 30-day period, we have seen the CTR increase by 3%. The extra characters have allowed us to increase keywords usage and ad relevancy, which has made an impact on our Quality Score and average CPCs. We have also seen an increased propensity to convert through the new Expanded Text Ads, which could be due to the stronger calls-to-action that we have been including in the ads.

expanded text ads chart


Despite what you think, you may not have to start from square one in order to refresh your ad copy. Instead of rewriting ads from scratch, here are 5 steps to help you make the most of your current ad copy:

  1. Identify your highest performing ads.
    Starting with your strongest ads will help you prioritize your ad writing to make sure you make your strongest ads even stronger.
  2. Write a Headline 2 (30 characters) to append to the current headline.
    Don’t be afraid to test out new calls-to-action or include additional product/service benefits within the headline. This is a great opportunity to test!
  3. Concatenate your Description Lines together to form one longer Description.
    This is a simple step in Excel using a formula. The following example concatenates cells A1 and B1 and puts a space in between.

    =(A1)&” “&(B1)

  4. Build upon your current Description with the extra characters.
    If you concatenated the cells using the formula above, be sure to Copy->Paste Special (values). Then feel free to embellish and build upon your ad to take up those newly acquired 10 characters.
  5. Change your Display URL to include paths.
    Since Expanded Text Ads automatically pull in the final URL domain as the domain in the Display URL, you may have to shorten the current path that is on the end of your Display URL or find a way to divide it into two sections based on character constraints.

If you cannot tackle these ads all at once, be sure to prioritize your high volume ad groups to ensure you’re receiving the greatest amount of impressions in the new ad format as possible.

While the thought of putting all of your ads back through your approval process may seem daunting, the benefits that you will likely gain from CTR in the interim, along with the additional flexibility pertaining to writing new ads, will certainly be worth the time and additional effort. Don’t miss out on the opportunity! (And if you need help with these changes, you know where to find us.)

Author avatar
Ryan Eme
Ryan is the Director of Data & Analytics Intelligence at FoundSM. Ryan has an extensive background in traditional and digital media, affiliate marketing, and analytics makes him an invaluable asset. Heading up our data team, Ryan is focused on engineering inbound strategies to meet business goals.