02 / 08 / 2016

Google Rolls Out Expanded Text Ads and Responsive Ads

When Google says on its blog: “The shift to mobile is no longer happening, or will happen – the shift to mobile has happened”, we all better sit up and take note.

This was the introduction to their announcement on 26 July that they have built a new ad platform from scratch; one that’s made-for-mobile and is being rolled out in AdWords to all advertisers around the world.

There are two aspects to this change: expanded text ads and responsive ads. Here’s a quick look at what this means and will look like.

Expanded text ads

This means ads will be published with two headlines in SERPs, each with 30 characters, and one long 80-character description line.

Google proudly announced that that gives advertisers almost 50% more text space to highlight their products and services on.

Advertisers can head over to the AdWords Editor and start crafting their expanded ads straight away.

Here’s what it will looked like compared to the old text ads. Source: Google Adwords Blog.

Expanded Text ads

Responsive ads

To accommodate diverse content types, devices and screen sizes, in a mobile-first digital world, ads that stretch and shrink along with your device could not come sooner.

Advertisers simply create 25-character and 90-character headlines, a 90-character description, upload an image and provide a URL and Google will ‘design’ (read autogenerate) the ad to fit the over two million apps and websites on the Google Display Network (GDN), including across the native ad inventory Google has opened up across publishers on the GDN.

Native ads are component-based ads that are styled by the publisher instead of the advertiser. Read more about them here and this is what they would look like:

Native ads

Responsive ads offer advertisers a bit more scope now that Google will stop supporting Flash ads from January 2017, and they work with both responsive and non-responsive websites. It also gives them more control over their branding and message.

If you want to try it out, you can get going here.

Here’s what a responsive ad campaign will look like. Source: Google Adwords blog.

Responsive ads

The verdict?

These are two great enhancements for advertisers. But for users? We’re not so sure. Real estate on mobile is already at a premium, and making more space for advertising is unlikely to go down well.

Who loves ads, and who is going to love it when you have to scroll even more before you get to organic results? Google’s reasoning behind expanded text ads is that users get more information on products or services, so can make a better decision on whether to click or not.

Responsive ads, while taking up even more space than the old text ads and expanded ads – since they can include up to 205 characters of text and images – will be more pleasing on the eye. It’s also a great way for small businesses to take advantage of responsive design technology without spending a fortune on graphic designers.

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