Are Google’s Expanded Text Ads Living Up To The Hype?

Published by BMT Micro on


A couple months ago, we wrote about Google announcing their “biggest update to ad creative since the introduction of Adwords more than 15 years ago.” The new installment of expanded text ads (ETAs) has been a hot topic in the e-commerce industry since the announcement was first made in May of this year. But, the main interest has been in the announcement that expanded text ads would be replacing standard text ads entirely starting October 26, 2016.

Now, this date has been extended to January 31, 2017, and has left some early-adopters skeptical. According to Google, ETAs are supposed to perform better than standard text ads and increase effectiveness across all devices. But, some users believe the date extension may be an indicator that ETAs aren’t performing as well as Google initially anticipated.

The best answer we could find for this delay is from a recent conversation Frederick Vallaeys (co-founder of Optmyzr) had with a Google product manager. According to the Google product manager, “To start: quality matters. Standard ads have had years to go through numerous optimizations, and in some cases, a brand-new ETA may not immediately outperform.” So, “the date was moved back to give people more time to experiment with their expanded text ads. The extra time is important so people have the time to test and iterate ads, while also giving holiday optimizations their proper due.”

Expanded text ads are a big change for Google and quality matters. Google doesn’t launch an ad update to negatively impacts users. Ultimately, the long-term goal is that ETAs will produce better click-through rates (CTR). So, what do we know about their performance so far?

Early Performance Results
Since Google has launched ETAs, a few companies have reported the performance results of their standard vs. expanded text ads.

  • Keypath Education tested ETA vs. non-ETA ads and found that ETAs “resulted in a 25 percent increase in CTR, a 10 percent increase in conversion rate and a 3 percent degrees in cost per conversion.”
  • In one ETAs vs. non-ETAs test, CPC Strategy found that “expanded text ads performed better, but not by a significant amount.” They also found in another test “standard text ads on desktop were much higher than ETAs, costing over twice as much.”
  • Rise Interactive found that ETAs outperformed traditional ads in data collected from an ad copy test. “One of its ETAs had nearly a 50 percent CTR, which equated to the ad receiving a click for nearly every other impression.”

As you can see, performance results are a little mixed so far. But, the big takeaway from this should be: expanded text ads are coming January 31, 2017, and they aren’t guaranteed to be successful just because Google says so.

Have you tried Google’s expanded text ads yet? Let us know your thoughts and experience so far!

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