With little notice, Google AdWords rolled out some major changes to its pay per click platform this month and if you’re not taking advantage of these changes your missing out. A lot of businesses still seem to be unaware of them, but those that have are seeing significant results.

Expanded text ads are Google's new format

The changes to Google weren’t unexpected, but the timing was.  Google had announced these changes and some others with major fanfare in May. Yet, what had been implied at the announcement was that they most likely wouldn’t be rolled until the end of the year or even the start of next year. So nearly all agencies were caught off guard when they were abruptly released, with almost no fanfare.

Here are some of the biggest changes to AdWords and how you might want to take advantage of them.

Longer Text Ads

The biggest change with expanded text ads for search is that they have an additional 50 characters to work with. There are now two headlines and extra longer descriptions. In fact, they are now about what you’d find in a Tweet. With the new format, you go from having a 25-character headline to having two headlines that are 30 characters each.

With the two headlines, that can run concurrently on a line, the new ads look similar to organic listings, which is probably no coincidence. Yet, they can also run on top of one another so while you might be tempted to make the two headlines run as one sentence, that might not always look right.

The additional text offers a number of new opportunities for advertisers. I for one, have always found it limiting to keep within the character limits of the old AdWords ads. Yet, don’t just add text for the sake of filling out the character limit. It’s better to tighten the ads and focus on the important elements of your offer or service. As in the past, if the keywords they use in their search are in the ads, then they will be bolded.

If you’ve taken a set and forget approach to your ads or think you’re doing fine with your current promotions, you might want to reconsider this approach. Beginning October 26 the old ads will be discontinued. How this will be done is still to be determined.

What to Do with Your Old Ads

While Google will eliminate them in October, there is no reason to stop them all now. Continue running your best performing ad in each ad group and run this against your new text ad. Most likely you’ll need to get used to the new format so don’t lose out on leads as you adapt to it. In October when your old ads stop running, you’ll be a lot more familiar with what works in the new format.

Incorporate Your Keywords into Your Display URL

With the news ad format, you’ll notice that you have line for your url and then you’ll see that you can add two keywords to it. Actually you can add two keyword phrases, either of which can show up when your ads are displayed. If you add two words, they’ll both be included with an underscore between them. You don’t need to include these, but as always with many of Google’s features, if they offer it, then you ought to use it. At the very least test it out.

The End of Mobile Ads

Part of the reason for the change to ad format was the increase in mobile use, as well as tablets. In the past you could create mobile specific ads, but this will no longer be the case. So consider mobile when creating your ads. And also don’t forget the landing page that they’ll point to. Make sure it’s mobile friendly, as well.

Target Devices Through Bids

Although you can’t create ads for mobile, you can at least control how often your ads show across devices. In the past system, you could adjust bids for mobile, but computers and tablets were lumped together. Finally, tablets have their own bid adjustment. Depending on your business and your market, you might want to bid higher or lower on a specific device. This is where an analysis of your analytics is crucial to learning how your site does on various devices.

Update Ad Extensions

Although they’re not changed by the new format you’ll need to revise some of the ad extensions you are using. For example, some of your site extensions or callouts might be incorporated into the new ads, so no need to repeat this information in extensions. Use the extensions to incorporate additional information.

Bing Now Offers Similar Ads

As with most features that Google AdWords offers, Bing has followed suit and also offers extended ads. And as always with Bing, they've made it easy to transfer over your campaigns to Bing. They usually require a little tweaking, but it still saves a lot of time.

Get Help With Google AdWords and Stay Ahead of the Competition

These changes are significant and you need to start incorporating them now.  Hopefully your competitors aren’t aware of the changes yet and you might want to get a head start. As a Google AdWords Specialist, I’ve already seen a significant increase in click through rates with some of my clients.

Nor are these the end of changes to AdWords.

More changes are coming so keep an eye out for them. If you don’t have time to monitor AdWords or to incorporate the new features, then it might be time to bring in a professional. As a Certified Google AdWords Partner I can take a brief look at your campaign and let you know if I can assist you with your campaign. To drive more leads and keep you ahead of the completion.