Expanded Text Ads Performance Research

Online Marketing, PPC, Silverback Advertising

Expanded text ads (ETA) are finally here and many are scrambling to redefine best practices accumulated over the past 15 years. Don’t be scared.  SilverBack Advertising, a Google Premier Partner, has your best tips because we’ve been beta testing ETA with Google for the last 6 months.

Google Adwords is transitioning from standard text ad format (STA) to expanded text ad (ETA) format. According to Google, ETA is designed for a mobile-first world with both users and advertisers in mind. Essentially, ETA is providing more ad space for advertisers compared to STAs. Until January 31, 2017, Adwords supports the creation of both ad formats.Our team is taking necessary steps to prepare for the ETA deadline.

To find out how effective expanded text ads are, our amazing digital team compared multiple metrics for ETA and STA across our beta accounts. This included over 12.4 million impressions and 231,000 clicks of data. Metrics includes clicks, impressions, clickthrough rate, and average cost per click.

On average, the ETAs perform better than STAs. Individual ETA received around 5 more clicks and 56 more impressions comparing to STA. CTR improved 2.62%, and average CPC increased $0.84.


Although ETAs are performing well across different campaigns and ad groups on average, some of our best performing STAs are still leading the game. The average best STA click-through rate is 11.69% higher than the average best ETA click-through rate. This is because many high-performance STA units have had years of ad copy refinement. It shows how important it is to always monitor the results and refine ad copies.

In conclusion, expanded text ads are great and have a lot of benefit for advertisers. But don’t take this chance lightly, just converting your old ads to ETA format will not automatically improve your results.

Here are some tips we have going forward:

1. Do not assume that bigger ad space will serve a better result.
2. A/B test and constantly measure ad performance.
3. Continue to refine and rewrite your ETAs to find the best performing one.
4. Focusing on optimize both headlines instead of simply copying and pasting the original ad into a new format.
5. Keep running old ads until STA expires to continue to leverage their quality.


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