Extra, Extra: Your Ultimate Guide to Google Expanded Ads
  • July 10, 2020
  • PPC

Extra, Extra: Your Ultimate Guide to Google Expanded Ads

Google Ads is still the king of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Sixty-three percent of people are more likely to click an expanded ad from Google than Amazon or YouTube. Nearly half prefer text adverts instead of videos or shopping ads. And three-quarters are confident they can recognize and use a paid advert.

But is there a difference between Google AdWords, Google Ads, and Google Expanded Ads? And how do you write an ad with the best click-through-rate?

This guide provides the ultimate breakdown of Google expanded text ads.

We look at the Google PPC model, see how expanded ads are used, and if they’re effective. We also give tips and advice and review the best PPC campaign management app available.

Read on to better understand, build, and manage your expanded text ads.

What Are Google Expanded Ads?

Google lets businesses advertise within their network through a system called Google Ads.

Adverts come in several forms including text, video, and image banners. Advertisers are charged only when their ad is clicked. The model is termed as pay per click or PPC.

Google Ads offers the following benefits:

  • Businesses can earn double their ROI using Google Ads
  • Brand awareness can increase by 80%
  • Buying-intent ads drive 65% click-through-rates (CTR)

Google Ads used to be called Google AdWords. So why the change?

Google AdWords to Google Ads

Google’s advertising network underwent a brand change in 2018.

They wanted to show their unified search, video, and display campaigns. So AdWords became Ads. And with the rebranding came a new product interface, billing documents, and help center.

2018 Expanded Ads

Text adverts got an overhaul in 2018 with the rise of mobile users searching the platform. This removed ads on the right of the screen and pushed everything to the top to accommodate the full-screen width.

Google also doubled the number of characters. This meant advertisers could fit more marketable information into their adverts.

2019 Expansion

Google expanded text ads even further a year later.

They added a third headline, another description, and bumped the character count. The display URL can now include two optional paths that help shoppers see where the ads take them.

And Google states new expanded ads can gain 15% more clicks than the older formats.

How Are Expanded Ads Used?

Google lets companies target exactly who they want based on the search phrases they use and their geographic location.

These keywords activate the advert and place it above organic or natural search results. Ads can also appear within Google Maps and Android apps as well as Google’s partner sites.

Businesses work with their adverts using the Google Ads manager tool or through a third-party app.

Data can be exported into PPC management software like PPC Ad Editor and managed from there. In fact, you don’t even need to use Google’s apps to create, preview, and edit content!

This is great for campaign managers and account executives who run dozens of client accounts. No more logging in and out. Everything’s located in one place.

Expanded Text Ads Breakdown

An advert consists of several elements including:

  1. Headlines
  2. Descriptions
  3. URLs (including paths)

Each element plays an important part to entice customers but especially headlines.

Ad Headlines

Located at the top of the advert, headlines act as the ‘hook’ or what draws them to click.

Expanded ads have three fields for headlines, with the first two being required. Each headline is separated by a pipe | character. And text may wrap if the screen is narrow.

Each headline allows 30 characters. So that’s 90 characters in total for all three headlines.

Ad Descriptions

You’re allowed two 90-character descriptions for your Google Ads. These build on your main headlines and act to encourage users to click.


Your URL or web address domain sits at the bottom of your advert.

You can customize this to show customers where they will link to. For example, www.yoursite.com/shoes/summer-sale hints at a summer shoe sale.

You’ve two paths or URL options to add here if you wish.

Text Ad Limits

The list below gives a breakdown of the limits Google imposes on text adverts.

  • Number of headlines – up to x3
  • Headline character length – 30 characters
  • Number of descriptions – up to x2
  • Description character length – 90 characters
  • Domain used – advert’s final URL
  • Number of display URLs – up to x2
  • URL character length – 15 characters

As a side note, compared to the older ads, Google now provides an extra headline and 130 characters. This expanded view is perfect for mobile users who can easily swipe down to read them.

Best Practices

With the ability to write longer adverts, many advertisers decided to append more content to their existing ads. But is this the right method or is there a better way to work with expanded ads?

According to Google Ads Help, businesses should follow some best practices including:

  1. Showcase what makes you different – like free shipping or service awards you’ve won.
  2. Highlight your prices and discounts – customers want to buy so don’t hide your special offers
  3. Use call to action phrases (CTA) – include words like order today or sign up for a quote
  4. Connect landing pages – tie your ad with the relevant landing page and ensure both shares the same message.
  5. Target mobile users – make it easy for customers to contact you so include a phone number on your landing page

Along with those ad copy best practices, here are some simple tips to make your ads work smarter.

Headline Importance

Headline #1 is the most vital as English-speaking users read from left to right.

So make sure your message starts at the beginning. Use the other headlines to stamp its importance.

Target All Devices

Although you should aim for mobile users first, make your ads for all device sizes.

Why? Because 98% of people swap between devices throughout the day. Ensure your ads follow them.

Use Keywords in Paths

Include keywords/search phrases within your URL paths. These words stand out to customers wanting to buy those products.

The URL doesn’t have to exist but the keywords will so use them to your advantage.

All PPC Tools in One Place

PPC managers create and review Google Expanded Ads campaigns on a daily basis. They research keywords, analyze CPC rates, then write the adverts.

But there’s one catch: clients need to see what their ads will look like before going live.

Spreadsheets and screenshots bounce around. Time gets wasted. A manager’s nightmare!

The great news is PPC Ad Editor has the solution.

Preview your Google Ads campaigns using our easy-to-use tool. It’s perfect for online ad managers, account executives, and clients. You can #ditchthespreadsheet by using our apps to fully manage your campaigns.

Contact us today and start your FREE TRIAL. We also have a demonstration of the service to answer all your questions.

Bring all your campaigns into one simple management tool. And let your clients sign-off without the hassle.

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by albert somlith
About author
Albert Somlith

Co-Founder of PPC Ad Editor. I am a leader in digital marketing, specializing in strategic planning, implementation, and optimization.