What are Expanded Text Ads (ETA)?

The 24. of May 2016 Google announced its launch of the new ad format: Expanded Text Ads. The format has since been implemented, and the old text ad format has become legacy.

The new ad format allows marketeers, such as myself, target potential customers with more relevant ads than ever, and hopefully deliver our message clean and clear — Driving more conversions. ETA allows us to write longer, better and more creative ads than ever! I was not the only one who got excited, I bet. Another benefit of the ETA’s is that they are designed specifically with mobile-first in mind. This means that Google promised an even higher Clickthrough-rate. Even though you as a marketeer may was concerned with the timeconsuming task of rewriting all of your ads, the ROI is too high not to do it.

The New Ad Format

Since the launch of AdWords for over 15 years ago, a lot of things has changed and until the implementation of ETA the core of AdWords itself, had not been touch; Namely the text ad format.

The new format allows for approximately 50 % for space for writing ads, which is a huge advantage for advertisers! The following text ads was exposed for the following changes:

Headline 1:

  • Legacy Text Ads: 25 Characters
  • ETA: 30 Characters

Headline 2:

  • Legacy Text Ads: Non-existing
  • ETA: 30 Characters


  • Legacy Text Ads: Two lines with 35 characters each
  • ETA: One single line with 80 characters!

An illustration of Legacy Text Ads vs. ETA

Source: https://adwords.googleblog.com/2016/07/three-ad-innovations-for-mobile-first-world.html

Other Changes With Expanded Text Ads

Oh, you thought we were done? No, not for a long shot. Besides the format of the ad itself, Google also chosed to change the way Display URL’s are being created. Whereas it before was totally up to the marketeer to design the display url (of course in order with Google’s guidelines), the url will now be defined by the domain name plus two optional parameters with up to 15 characters each: https://YourDomain.com/parameter1/parameter2

This lead to a smaller problem for multi-lingual sites, where the language of the site was defined by the visited subdomain, and the whole subdomain therefore had to be a part of the display url.

Why Expanded Text Ads?

In the early test phases, Google concluded that ETA would roughly improve CTR (Clickthrough-rate) by 20 % after implementation. This did not mean that you automatically could expect an increase of 20 % and according to Searchengineland.com, tests have showed that the implementation of ETA both increased and DECREASED the CTR. The increase or drop was concluded to propably depend on which industry you advertise in.


Furthermore, this means that implementing ETA would probably give you a boost in CTR, and what you would do with this increased amount of traffic, is afterwards totally up to you. If you have not already rewritten all of your legacy ads, it is probably about time, since Google announced that before the end of 2017, they will be outfaced.