By now, pay-per-click pros are well aware of the recent release of expanded text ads (ETAs). Most have likely implemented them. And yet, simply using more characters won’t automatically solve your problems. The surest way to make that extra space count is to test every key element in the ad.

Below are three tips to get you started.


  1. Focus on One Element, Starting with Headline 2

In order to understand what is or isn’t working, you need to isolate the variable. You can’t tell what is causing change in performance if you are testing multiple elements within the ad. Since headlines get the most attention, start there. ETAs have an additional headline you can test: “Headline 2.” You could test whether an active call to action works better than promoting product benefits in that headline, for instance. And if the ad isn’t performing well, you could try swapping the first headline with the second or change from title case to sentence case to monitor the impact. Is there a popular search term that wouldn’t fit in the headline of your standard ad but would fit into Headline 2? The five extra characters give you opportunities for creating and testing different variables. And more testing possibilities means more possibility for success. Just remember to isolate one element at a time!

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  1. Limit the Number of Ads per Ad Group

Another important factor in testing is making sure that you reach statistical significance before making any decisions. In order to do that, you need to force the impressions into the ads you are actually testing. First, pause all of your current standard ads in the ad group except the best performer – leave that as your benchmark. Then, add in your ETAs to test. The key is to keep your benchmark standard text ad running until the ETA is consistently outperforming it. Remember to wait until you reach statistical significance before making changes.

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  1. Use Labels

This is an effective tool that many marketers don’t take full advantage of. Labels in AdWords make it easy for you to mark the results of your ad tests. You can label each ad with the specific feature you are testing and even the date of the testing period. To review the results, go into the Dimensions tab of AdWords and select “Labels – Ads” to see a quick snapshot of how each label is performing. Labels are a great way to keep your testing organized. And while you’re at it, keep track of your learnings from each test so you can use them as you move forward.

Haven’t done any tests yet? No problem. The deadline for creating or editing standard ads has been extended to January 31, so you have time!

Questions? Contact us.

Is there a popular search term that wouldn’t fit in the headline of your standard ad but would fit into Headline 2 in the expanded version?

About the Author

Jessica Nothnagle

Search Strategist

Jessica is a data-driven digital marketer who enjoys bringing clients measurable results. She works on cross-channel strategy, specializing in PPC and SEO programs across a variety of industries.