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Writing For Google Ads’ New Extended Text Ads

03 October 2018

When extended texts ads first introduced a 2nd headline and one, longer description field, it was hard to know what to write.

Now, finally, after getting into the groove of writing enticing ad copy filled packed only with value propositions – Google drops another change to extended text ads.

The change?

We now have 3 headlines plus 2 full sized descriptions (not like the two half descriptions that kinda made one proper description like the old old ads).

*Sigh*

Look, it’s a good thing.

It’s more opportunity to communicate all of a business’ unique or competitive value propositions in the one ad.

But God, it has become harder to think of things to write in order to fill up all of the extra space these new formats provide, but also, coming up with a good number of variations to split test.

Although, I remember thinking the exact same thing when the first expanded text ads came out.

It’s something we’ll get used to.

Really, though, the most complex thing about these new extended text ads is figuring out what to call them, differentiating them from the old extended ad formats.

Google hasn’t even given these new formats a specific name…So, what are we supposed to call them?

New expanded text ads? Expanded texts ads v2? 3+2 ads?

First-World problem, I know.

I’ll just have to do my best to differentiate the two in this blog article.

Don’t Just Fill In The Gaps

Just as I’ve mentioned in my previous post about writing good ads for in Google:

You don’t have to sell what you do, they’ve already sold themselves on that by searching for what you do, you just have to sell them you!

The most important thing with writing ad copy is to ensure that everything you are writing conveys value over the business’ competitors.

So, that makes things very difficult when you’ve already got ads that fit all of your USPs (unique selling points) neatly squeezed in.

To write anything more feels like you’re just waffling on.

If that’s the case for you when writing in the new formats, waffling on in order to fill the second description up, my advice is don’t even bother with the new formats.

Value propositions > Real estate on the SERPs.

Quality over quantity.

Always.

A smaller, yet punchier ad is far more effective (and helpful to the search user) than a long-winded, space consuming pile of s***.

Just give the search users what’s important to them.

Nothing more.

The 3rd Headline

The 3rd headline is a bit of a pain as it often shows up on mobile devices, but not commonly on desktops.

Which makes it a pain to follow the whole “every word must be valuable” if that valuable message may not be seen.

My advice here is not to put your killer value propositions in the 3rd headline.

Because, if it doesn’t appear like you’re hoping it does, it could make the difference between that purchase-ready search user clicking on your ad or on someone else’s.

Luckily there are a few things you can do with your 3rd headline to maximise value but not hide important messages.

Add your brand name in. Because we often use the 1st headline to stuff a keyword in (to improve quality scores) and save the 2nd headline for our main value proposition, we don’t ever get the chance to brand our Google Ads (unless you think people take notice of the display URL).

And if you’ve been investing in branding exercises, like Absolute Cosmetic have, it’s a good way for search users to immediately recognise you, trust you and click on your ad over your lesser known competitors.

Showing Absolute Cosmetic's new extended text ads

Use the 3rd headline for your keyword stuffing. Since that 1st headline that we normally use for keywords is really valueless to the consumer, why not stuff it in the least valuable part of the ad?

Showing Cleanetic's new extended text ad with keyword in 3rd headline

Especially since the content of the 3rd headline still works towards the Ad Relevancy part of your Quality Score whether it is shown or not.

Or you can put a weaker call to action in the 3rd headline, like I’ve done for a local suburb ad for The Plumbing And Gas Guys with “Free Over The Phone Quote”.

New extended text ad for The Plumbing And Gas Guys

Remember, the 3rd headline and 2nd description sometimes don’t show.

So not only do we need to ensure that important messages don’t get lost but that the ads still make sense if the 3rd headline and 2nd description aren’t displayed.

The 2nd Description

First off, know that the 2nd description field is not compulsory.

If you’re just wanting to take advantage of the 3rd headline but not utilise the 2nd description, you can.

For the most part, I’ve been seeing the 2nd description appearing both on mobile and on desktop.

However, I have once seen the 2nd description being truncated.

And I’ve heard people complaining that the 2nd description isn’t being shown at all.

So, it’s a tough one.

Yet again we’re prioritising messages.

Whilst initially I thought the 2nd description was a pain in the backside, there is an opportunity here.

There has always been heads butted over branded messaging verses search messaging.

Us search advertisers are used to slamming multiple USPs within a very small space, so messaging has to be short and to the point and traditional marketers hate it.

Now, we can have the best of both Worlds with description 1 being filled with our Search style messages and we can fit the more long-winded, on-brand messaging into description 2.

And if description 2 doesn’t always appear…? Oh well! 😛

Be Careful Of Repetition

It looks pretty stupid when an ad repeats itself and this sometimes happens unintentionally with call-out extensions.

If you’re reworking your ads and filling in more space with more value propositions, make sure they’re not being repeated by these extensions.

It’s always better to use call-out extensions for non-essential messages such as:

  • Qualified and experienced
  • Plenty of parking
  • Always on-time
  • Fully insured

These types of messages are nice, but quite often it’s a given that a business would have these “advantages” and therefore not worth the space in your main ad copy.

Always save the main body copy for USPs (Unique Selling Propositions).

Especially since call-out extensions, sitelink extensions and highlights don’t always show up in the SERPs.

Don’t Kill Off Your Old Ads, Yet

Unlike our classic ads that had been around since the beginning of AdWords, Google isn’t planning on killing off our existing extended text ads.

(At least not yet).

So, keep at least some of your existing extended text ads live and split test them with your new extended text ads.

Your old ads have likely gone through revision after revision, surviving split test after split test and have come out on top.

It’s not smart to completely replace highly polished ads with a new ad format that we’re just getting used to writing with.

Sometimes, New Isn’t Better

I’m not sure if anyone else thinks this, but…

These new extended text ads looks like a big brick of text, especially when accompanied by multiple ad extensions.

Because, us advertisers are in the attention economy where everything needs to be snack-sized and easily consumed on the web.

And as a result, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the smaller extended text ads actually perform better.

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