Expanded text ads (ETAs) are here and marketers everywhere are jumping in to take advantage. You should too. If you’re unfamiliar with ETAs, they offer almost 50 percent more ad text that you can use to reach people in your target market.
Unsurprisingly, the expanded format is designed specifically for mobile users. According to Google’s own research, “longer ad headlines are more useful to mobile users because they provide additional information about your business before they click your ad.”
In fact, as of October 26, 2016, you will be required to create ETAs. AdWords will no longer allow you to create or edit standard text ads, so now is a good time to master the art of advertising with longer text. Here are some tips to help you.
1. Create a superior call to action.
With ETAs, you get 30 characters in each of the two headlines and another 80 characters in the description text. That’s a world of opportunity for one or more calls to action. Some people like to put the CTA in the description, usually at the very end. Experiment with what works best for your brand. The point is, you’ve got extra characters for a CTA. Use them wisely.
2. Ask a question.
With the extra digital real estate that AdWords is offering, you have a space for a question. So why not ask one? You might have been squeezed out of asking a question in the past with the 25-character limit. Now that you have a few extra characters, think about how you can pose a question to people in your market that will make them want to click.
For example, if you’re a bankruptcy lawyer running an AdWords ad, you might pose the following question in the second headline — “Need Help With a Bankruptcy?” That’s 28 characters. You couldn’t run that question in the old format. A great question like that is an implied CTA, but it’s better than more traditional CTAs because it’s not telling the user to do anything. It’s just asking a question.
With ETAs, you’ve got a second headline. Use it to tell people how great you are.
One effective strategy is to include your brand name in the first headline, and use the second headline to brag in a way that includes the search term. For example, if some searches for “SEO Company,” your ad would display your company name in the first headline, and fill the second headline with copy something like this — “Rated Top SEO Company by Clutch.co” That text just barely fits in at exactly 30 characters. Of course, it’s only a valid boast if, in fact, your company is rated well by Clutch.co.
4. Use the Ad Preview tool.
Let’s take a break from advertising strategy for a moment to have a look at the logistics of ETAs.
Here’s what you need to know. In some cases, Google might shrink your 60-character double-headline down to just 33 characters. That will be an especially sore point if you produce some outstanding ad copy that requires all available text. Google says that it will “sometimes truncate headlines when serving text ads for certain devices in order to optimize the search experience for users.” That’s why you need to preview your ad in Ad Preview. You can see exactly what it will look like to the people that you’re trying to reach.
5. Generate scarcity.
Now that you have some extra characters to play with, it’s much easier to employ Marketing 101 concepts that posed a challenge with the old ad format. One of those concepts is the idea of generating scarcity. You’re probably familiar with the principle — people who sense that there’s a limited supply of something are generally more likely to be inclined to purchase it. That’s why it’s such a great marketing tactic.
With the additional headline and characters, you can give people the impression that time is running out on your great deal and, if they don’t act fast, they might miss out on a fantastic opportunity.
6. Prove you’re better.
Let’s face it, you’re probably not the only business in your industry running AdWords ads. If you Google certain search terms relevant to your industry, you’ll likely find competitors running ads right alongside yours. Use that to your advantage by running expanded text ads that explain why you’re better than your competitors. For example, if you see that competitors are offering blue widgets for $99, offer your blue widgets for $89. Make it clear right there in the ad copy.
Your competitors are explaining what they offer in ads above and/or below yours. Use your ad to explain why your offer is more attractive so that people in your market can do some on-the-spot comparison shopping. Review their ads and pick apart their sales pitch in yours.
Your best bet is to get started now. ETAs offer a wealth of opportunity to digital marketers. If you haven’t already done so, start split testing with new ads in the expanded format to find out what works best for your business. It is a good idea to get on it soon, because the new format is not an option, it is a must.