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Bye Bye Standard Text Ads, Hello ETAs!

by Jo Shaer, on January 11, 2017

After 16 years of Standfard Text Ads, Google Adwords is about to introduce a major change. 

31 January 2017 is the last day that you will be able to create and edit the familiar old Standard Text Ads.  That's the format with three lines of 25, 35, 35 characters - headline, description 1 and description 2.  That's not to say that they will disappear, just that you won't be able to create or edit any more.

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From 1 February 2017, it's all Expanded Text Ads with two headlines of 30 characters each and a description of 80 characters.

These big boys are a whopping 47% larger than the old ads and the  stats say that they produce a 28% higher CTR (click through rate).

However, they do need to be handled with care.

A couple of words of warning:

1. Don't just go in and pause your STAs - your old ads will have been around for a while and built up a lot of trust with Google. Replacing them with brand new ETAs could cause a nasty surprise.

2. Taking the simple option of rejigging your old STAs into the new ETA format by pushing Description 1 into the 2nd headline is a mistake. The bigger ads have been designed to allow you to use the increased real estate to tell better stories about your products and services. Also, remember that there are no separate ads for mobile with the new expanded text ads. These ads work on all devices.

3. Make sure that your Call-outs and Sitelinks don't repeat what it says in your ads - Google doesn't like duplication and won't serve them. But, worse still, it affects your Quality Score. Create new ads and new ad extensions.

4.  Use the new URL Paths to reinforce the keyword that you are bidding on.

5. Create and test some new ETAs with ad extensions that tell the story of how your product can help the person viewing the ad. Make sure your landing page fulfils on the promises here.  Only replace the STAs when you are happy with the performance of your new ads.

There is no date for when the STAs will stop showing altogether but rumours are that there will be a big API update in early March which may not support the STA format. So you might want to think about updating your campaigns sooner rather than later.

Need an audit of your existing campaigns from a Specialist Google Partner?

  • Not sure how to make the best of the new ETA format?
  • Not sure if your existing campaigns are actually getting you customers?
  • Not got time to go through your old standard ads and start updating them?  

Book a training session! We are certified Google Partners, specialising in Search ads. Let us do an audit of your existing advertising campaigns to see how we can help you to get new customers in 2017.  Click the image below.

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Topics:Google Adwords

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