Expanded text ads have already begun to roll out for Adwords users across the world. Here’s what you need to know about one of Adwords’ most significant changes in almost 15 years.

Over the past few months, Google has begun to roll out a number of changes that were promised back in May during the company’s keynote address on the status of Adwords. Google’s representatives outlined a number of significant changes that are coming to the platform. Arguably the first round of significant changes to the platform since since it first launched.

Desktop-First Versus Mobile-First: Why Expanded Text Ads Are Rolling Out Now

Back in May, Google’s senior vice president of advertising & commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy explained that today, we live in a mobile-first world. People interact with brands, companies, causes, friends, family and much more from their phone and mobile device now more than ever.

When Adwords was created, Ramaswamy explained, it was created for a desktop-first world. The way people interacted with content and brands was dramatically different back then than what it is today. Adwords was made to suit the experience of the time. But today, since the smartphone has begun to overtake desktop and laptop.

Today, the internet is a 24-7 affair. People at all hours of the day are interacting with brands using their smart phone and for many it’s the only way of interacting in the aforementioned ways. Shopping, searching, checking reviews, checking email, checking the news – all these activities and more have gone from being activities that someone has to make a note to check when they get home and in front of their computer to doing in the moment.

As a result, Google has noticed this shift and acted accordingly by equipping advertisers with a tool fit for the times and changes in consumer behavior.

The answer: an advertisement for the modern consumer.

Expanded Text Ads: What the Advertiser Needs to Know

Expanded text ads are the first of a many significant changes coming to Adwords in the coming months. Here’s the rundown of what these new kinds of ads are all about.

1. Longer Format

As the name suggests, Adwords’ new expanded text ads are considerably longer than the current Adwords text ad format. The old format broke down like this:

  • Headline – 25 characters
  • Description Line 1 – 35 characters
  • Description Line 2 – 35 characters
  • Display URL – manually entered with 35 characters displayed

And the new format breaks down like this:

  • Headline 1- 30 characters
  • Headline 2 – 30 characters
  • Description – 80 characters
  • Display URL: automatically generated URL based on the landing page with two 15-character path fields (ex. website.com/downloads/guide)

Early adopters and beta users of these new ads have noticed higher click through rates and better conversion rates among those who see and click these ads. An encouraging sign for the rest of the Adwords community who will be migrating over to the new format soon but like with most things advertising, these results can vary from industry to industry & application to application.

2. Uniformity Across Devices

Anyone whose set up mobile ads in Adwords knows the process of making it happen in the ‘old’ format of Adwords. An advertiser would write an ad and have to check the “Mobile” button to give the ad preference to mobile devices. While intuitive for the time, having this many additional ads with the (mobile) tag could get tedious and cluttered.

Now, Adwords ads will be delivered uniformly across devices.  Whether being viewed on desktop, mobile or tablet, advertisers ads will render and resize accordingly to the display.

Wrap Up

Google’s latest changes are some of the most significant since the launch of Adwords as a platform. While Google continues to edit and iterate on it’s search algorithm, making SEO a constantly changing arena, Adwords has largely stayed the same. There haven’t been many radical changes to the platform excluding some interface and design modifications and changes to the Adwords ranking algorithm in 2013.

The online advertising space is a much different field from what it was 15 years ago and Google understands that. With these changes to Adwords, advertisers now have the necessary tools to effectively reach their audiences.