Are you Ready for AdWords’ Expanded Text Ads?

From January 31st it will no longer be possible to create or update Standard Text Ads (STA) for AdWords.

This will be the case both in the AdWords UI and through Acquisio. If you’re still using Standard Text Ads in your campaigns, there’s no need to worry! You’ve still time to get organized and we’ll give you some indispensable hints and tips below!

Which Campaigns do You Need to Migrate?

Eventually you will have to migrate all of your Text Ads to Expanded Text Ads (ETA), but it’s important to note that Standard Text Ads will not stop being served straight away. This means that you can and should prioritize campaign migration to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Here are some of the characteristics of the campaigns you should migrate first:

  • High-volume. There is likely to be an increase in conversion rates with Expanded Text Ads, so you’ll get better overall outcomes if you migrate campaigns with a lot of impressions and conversions first.
  • High-value Customers. You want to keep your best customers happy; so make sure their campaigns get the improved conversion rates expected with Expanded Text Ads.
  • Frequently Changing. If you have campaigns where you frequently make changes, then migrate those campaigns to Expanded Text Ads so you don’t end up with a mix of STAs and ETAs that will be harder to manage later.
  • The Long Tail. There’s always a long tail of campaigns that don’t change often and continue to function with little maintenance. These are the campaigns that you should migrate last.

How to Migrate?

When looking at Ads there are really two ways in which you can migrate from Standard Text Ads to Expanded Text Ads: rewrite the Ad or use a pattern to migrate it automatically. The choice of which method is better for you depends upon the performance of Ads within an AdGroup; you will want to give your best ads more attention!

Re-writing Ads really means taking the key message from a Standard Text Ad and re-writing it to make the most from the extra headline and extra space within the ETA. The second headline can be used to give a clear benefit or call to action. Here is an example.

Example of a Standard Text Ad rewritten as an Expanded Text Ad - Acquisio
A Standard Text Ad Re-written as an Expanded Text Ad

With a migration pattern, you take information from a Standard Text Ad and use that to automatically populate the Expanded Text Ad fields; potentially adding in new information when required. For example, for headline 2 you might want to add in the fixed text “Learn more now!” as a call to action.

Example of a Standard Text Ad migrated to an Expanded Text Ad

A Standard Text Ad migrated to an Expanded Text Ad using a Pattern

For more details on how to migrate, check out our blog post How to Transition to Google Expanded Text Ads Like a Pro.

Testing Your Approach

Once you have a migration pattern, you will want to test it to make sure it performs well. Do this on your best performing Ad in every AdGroup. Ideally you will have done this in 2016, but if you haven’t it’s never too late to start!

The very first thing you should do to gain time, is to check out the Acquisio Webinar on How To Transition to Expanded Text Ads like a Pro and discover how to run tests on ETA migration patterns in a optimal way.

If you’re running short of time, you will have to prioritize which campaigns you test and increase Ad Spend on those AdGroups to get sufficient data to take a decision.

When Should You Migrate?

There’s no time like the present! Seriously, get started migrating now in the New Year. There are a couple of very good reasons to not wait to migrate your Standard Text Ads:

  • You’ll miss out on the ETA performance boost.
  • Your STAs may start losing out on conversions to dedicated ETAs from competing campaigns.
  • We don’t know if and when Google will start preferring ETAs to STAs.
  • Google may stop serving STAs at sometime in 2017.

Don’t wait for your Standard Text Ads to lose performance or stop being served entirely. You’ll be forced into a rushed migration with potentially poor results. Take control of your situation now!

Tools + Checklist to Help You Migrate

The first tool to use is Acquisio’s Migration Testing Flow Chart to framework your testing strategies.

Next, follow this over-view of the steps you need to take in order to migrate your campaigns. Print it out and stick it to the wall because you’ll be checking it often!

  • Within each campaign:

    • Determine which Ads will be re-written and re-write them
      • Pro-tip #1: include Benefits or a Call to Action in Headline 2
      • Pro-tip #2: include a product or benefit in Path 1 and / or Path 2
    • Remove any re-direct URLs and use Tracking Templates with a Final URL instead
    • Test migration patterns for your campaign
    • Establish which migration pattern will be applied to the campaign
  • If you are an Acquisio user, the bulk sheet management system can be used to facilitate numerous changes to your campaigns and Ads. This will make it easier for you to apply different migration patterns to multiple AdGroups and campaigns.
  • Pause all migrated Standard Text Ads except for the best performing one in each AdGroup.
  • Review Expanded Text Ad Versus Standard Text Ad Performance:

    • Have you similar performance to your experiments?
    • Are you obtaining results close to Google’s expectations?
    • Consider tweaking or rewriting ads that are underperforming expectation

Wherever you are with your Standard Text Ad migration, we’re sure that it will take your consideration within early 2017. Let us know down below how you’re getting along and if you have any hints, tips or discoveries of your own you’d like to share!

Richard Beck

Richard Beck

Acquisio's AdPlatform Product Manager, Richard has over 10 years experience in digital Product Management and Marketing across various industries in multiple countries. Prior to working at Acquisio he brought innovation to Yellow Pages Canada, Aptilon and StepStone SA.

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