End of An Era Using Google Expanded Text Ads

As of the beginning of July, Google limited what can be done using Expanded Text Ads. Although Expanded Text Ads still can display, advertisers can no longer create new ads or modify existing expanded text ads.

If you are not actively using Google, you may not realize the full ramifications of this change. In a nutshell, this is another step closer of Google making automation more prevalent across all ad accounts.

Taking the place of Expanded Text Ads will be Responsive Search Ads. Although Responsive Search Ads are not new, they now are the only choice advertisers have when creating their search ads.

Given the importance of this change, I wanted to share an excerpt from my 2022 Edition of Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google Ads as it relates to best-practices using Responsive Search Ads.

Responsive Search Ads

Responsive Search Ads are the new default type of search text ads. These types of ads work by mix and matching from a larger selection of headlines and descriptions. Once approved and running, Google uses its algorithm to serve the combination of headlines and descriptions that they find to have the highest possibility of receiving a click.

This process of adding multiple headlines and description has for the most part, made the process of testing multiple search text ads irrelevant. Instead, to improve an ad, advertisers can now test different offers and calls to actions to automatically create better performing search ads and thus driving more qualified clicks.

When using responsive search ads, advertisers are allowed to enter a maximum of 15 headlines each with a maximum of 30 characters. In addition, responsive search ads support up to four descriptions each with a maximum character limit of 90. For the Display Path, aka Display URL, you can add two fields up to 15 characters each that will automatically append to your base URL.

When creating your headlines, Google provides suggestions based on the URL entered. In addition, Google provides suggestions for Call to Action such as Order Online, Shop Today; Promotional phrases such as Unbeatable Prices, Exclusive Deals; and Trust phrases such as Official site and High-quality Products.

Since you have 15 options, to test, I always test at least one Call to Action, one Promotional Phrase and one Trust Phrase and many times will use Google’s suggestions. However, just remember they are suggestions. You need to create an ad that will make sense to the users that you want to visit your website.

It is also important to know that if you don’t pin the order (see the arrow) in the image above, headlines can appear in any order within the ad or not ad all since only 2 or 3 of the headlines will appear. By pinning a headline, you can ensure that the top headline in this instance remains stable and will ensure the ad makes sense. I’ve seen advertisers who are using responsive search ads where the headlines that are appearing (randomly generated) makes absolutely no sense. Think of three promotional phrases appearing with no mention of the product.

In the example provided, I’m using a dynamic keyword insertion which will show the search that cased my ad to trigger. If Google cannot for some reason insert the keyword, then the default text of Sprouted Organic Walnuts will appear in the pinned first position for the ad.

Next comes description, you can include up to 4 descriptions, which Google will test typically showing 2 each time they display your ad.

You will want to make sure your descriptions accurately convey the page you are sending traffic, provide users a reason to click on your ad and are unique to distinguish your ads from your competitors.

PRO TIP: Google will provide examples but remember that they are providing these examples to your competitors as well. Do a search for some of your keywords on Google and see what your competitors are doing and then write a more benefit-filled, more compelling ad.


Like it or not, Google is moving towards more advanced and mandatory automations. As advertisers whether you are advertising your own account or working for clients, it is essential to adjust to these changes and quickly adapt if you want to keep your Google advertising profitable.

Responsive Search Ads can produce just as high CTR as the Expanded Text Ads when used properly. However, it is important to realize how they work.

Different headlines and descriptions can and will appear in any order or not at all. Given that fact it is critical that your ad makes sense when headlines are taken in a random sequence.

Don’t just blindly accept Google’s recommendations. Instead think what makes sense from the perspective of your audience. If you do not, you may be left with an ad that will make little sense and be left wondering why your results have tanked.

It is also important to know that while existing Expanded Text Ads will continue to run, it won’t be forever. Make sure you start testing using Responsive Search Ads before your ads stop running and you are left to scramble to create and make live.

For more information on best-practices and getting the most out of your Google campaigns, I encourage you to check out my recently updated 2022 Edition of Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google Ads.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal


Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.

He was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Search Text Ads – Which Type Is Right for Your Business?

Google’s Search Text Ads

Search text ads are Google’s original ad type. These are the text ads that appear just below the search bar and typically above the organic results.

Search text ads are eligible to display based on keywords that an advertiser enters that Google matches with a user’s query using a real-time auction that determines the ad rank (the order) for which advertisers’ ads appear.

For more information on search keyword types, readers can review my article [Properly Using Keyword Match Types in Google Advertising].

Although there have been a few tweaks over the years to the character limits for the ads and the of course the change of removing search text ads on the right side of the Google page (Feb 2016); however, for the most part search text ads have remained constant.

However, Google has over the last year been introducing different types of search ads that are more automated which include: Expanded Text Ads (EXTRA), Responsive Search Ads (RSA) and Dynamic Search Ads (DSA).

This has many advertisers a bit confused on which type of search text ad they should be using. Below you will find a summary of each along with some recommendations for best-practices.

Expanded Text Ads (EXTRA)

Expanded Text Ads are the most like standard text ads with a few differences in terms of the character limits of the ad.

  1. Extra Headline Field – The first two lines are required; however, with Expanded Text Ads advertisers have the ability to add a 3rd optional headline consisting of up to 30 characters. This 3rd headline will appear more often on widescreen mobile devices.
  2. Extra Description Field – With Expanded Text Ads, advertisers have the ability to add a 2nd description consisting of up to 90 characters.
  3. The domain URL is based on the final URL domain. While standard text ads show the full domain ‘www.example/product/or/category/url’, the Expanded Text Ads will only show the final URL ‘www.example.com’.
  4. The display URL can include two optional paths. This is where advertisers can add descriptions to their URLs. Paths should be used to give users a sense of where they will be directed if they click on the ad although it does not have to exactly match the destination URL.
  5. Mobile-Optimized – Expanded Text Ads will generate a preview for both desktop and mobile format inside the Google Ads interface when advertisers are creating the ad.

Expanded Text Ads are available to serve on both the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network and are full compatible with all ad extensions (automatic and manual).

Responsive Search Ads (RSA)

Responsive Search Ads allow advertisers to show multiple headlines and multiple descriptions to their customers. Over time, Google will test the different combinations discovering which perform the best.

Using a Responsive Search Ad, advertisers need to provide a minimum of 3 headlines and can add up to 15 headlines (30 characters each). Advertisers also need to provide a minimum of 2 descriptions and can add up to 4 descriptions (90 characters each). These minimums are required for every Responsive Search Ad.

Like standard search ads and Expanded Text Ads, the advertiser determines both the Final URL and the Display URL.

How It Works –

In any given user search, Google will assemble a maximum of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions to display in different combinations and in different orders. Therefore, each headline and description should make sense individually as the order may change.

Over time, Google Ads will learn which combinations are the most relevant for different queries thus increasing the effectiveness of your ads.

If there are certain headline or description that advertisers always want to display, advertisers have the ability to ‘pin’ those to a specific position in the ads. However, for most advertisers this is not recommended as it will prevent Google’s algorithm from testing all headlines and descriptions, but it is an option.

You can view reports on your responsive search ads within the ‘Ads & extensions’ page. Data provided will show totals for all the ad combinations that were shown for each headline and descriptions.

Note, there is a current limit of 3 Responsive Search Ads per ad group.

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)

Dynamic Search Ads are ideal for advertisers with well-developed website or a large inventory. These ads allow advertisers to help fill in the gaps of keywords based on campaigns.

With Dynamic Search Ads, the headlines and landing pages are automatically generated by Google using content from the website. This dynamic creation ensures that the ads are relevant and saves time.

With Dynamic Search Ads, advertisers just need to add creative descriptions and Google will pull data content from their website to complete the rest of the ad.

How It Works –

When a user searches a term that is closely related to title and frequently used phrases on your website, Google Ads use your website title and description to select a landing page and dynamically generate a relevant headline for your ads. Keep in mind with this type of ad, the HTML page title is extremely important as this is what Google is using to create your Dynamic Search Ads headline.

Creating Dynamic Search Ad Targeting.

While you can add other search ad types inside the same campaign, with Dynamic Search Ads those are the only type of ad that can be used within a single campaign. You cannot therefore have a campaign running both Dynamic Search Ads side by side with either Expanded Text Ads or Dynamic Search Ads.

In addition, Dynamic Search Ads work a bit different than the other search ads type as advertisers need to direct Google which URLs are eligible to appear for those types of ads.

Advertisers can select specific URLs through the URL_Equals option or capture many URLs at once through the URL_Contains option.

In addition, for websites that are organized by theme, advertisers can determine which subset of a website to advertise using Dynamic Search Ads or use standard ad groups to make certain products are eligible to appear.

Dynamic Search Ads are a fantastic way to make sure that all products are being represented with an ad by allowing Google to identify items that may not be currently appearing for some of the other search ads types.

Dynamic Search Ads have provided an essential tool for many retailers with large product offerings where creating a search ad for each product would be near impossible.

Last Word

Which type of search text ad you use depends upon your business, your goals and quite frankly which one performs better for your business.

For best-practices, Google recommends advertisers use 2 Expanded Text Ads (EXTRA) and 1 Responsive Text Ad (RSA) in EVERY ad group.

In addition, retailers with many skus would be most likely benefit from the additional use of a campaign that uses exclusively Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) ads in order to make sure all products are running with a search ad.

Although there is some work involved in creating this many different types of ads, those advertisers that do will gain a measurable advantage over their competition still using standard text ads or those who lack the knowledge to use the different types of Google search ads properly.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

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Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal


About The Author - Andy Splichal

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

What Does Google’s Expanded Text Ads Mean For Advertisers?

Earlier this month, Google introduced a significant change to their standard text ads with the release of ‘Expanded Text Ads’.  Providing more character space for advertisers and increasing the headline from a single headline to multiple headlines, expanded text ads provide an immediate opportunity for advertisers to convey more of their marketing message to potential customers. 

Why Did Google Make The Change?

Last year, for the first time, mobile devices surpassed all other devices in the number of searches, and the percentage of mobile searches is expected to continue to rise.  With the original text ads, best-practices had advertisers creating one set of ads for desktop devices/tablets and another set of ads for mobile devices.Make Each Click Count

Google strives to keep a balance of providing the best experience to its users while also providing all the tools needed for advertisers to be successful.  With keeping to that core principle, expanded text ads display the same across all devices and have eliminated the need for advertisers to create multiple ad sets based on device.

This change also helps advertisers who were not creating mobile specific ads, as the new expanded text ads, which will be the only type of ad supported as of October 26, 2016, makes creating mobile friendly ads unnecessary.

Changes To Character Limits

The original text ads character limits were as follows:

Title/Headline – 25 Characters.
Description Line 1 – 35 Characters.
Description Line 2 – 35 Characters.
Display URL – 35 Characters.

Expanded text ads have the following character limits:

Title/Headline 1 – 30 Characters.
Title/Headline 2 – 30 Characters.
Description Line 1 – 80 Characters.
Display URL + 2 optional paths – 15 Characters each.

The most significant changes include an increase of nearly 50% in the amount of characters an advertiser can include in their ads; the change from one headline to two and the way the display URL is formatted.

Character Limit –

Expanded text ads now allow advertisers to use 140 characters combined in the two headlines and the description where original text ads allowed advertisers 95.

Multiple Headlines –

The change from one headline to two is more designed for mobile devices.  Before with standard text ads, if an ad was closed with a period punctuation, the first line of description text would serve as a second headline on desktop devices; however not always on mobile devices.  Now with the second headline, there are always multiple headlines across all devices.

Below are examples, of how an ad appears for both desktop devices and mobile devices:

Desktop ad

Expanded Ad For Desktop Devices

Mobile ad

Expanded Ad For Mobile Devices

As you can see in the examples above for online merchant and client, Trenz Shirt Company, both the mobile ad and desktop ad display as identical.  Creating the same experience across devices has also been the goal of Google and expanded text ads now has ads doing just that.

Changes To Display URL –

Before with original text ads, the display URL needed to match the actual website URL and then advertisers where allowed to append a keyword(s).

Expanded text ad’s URLs use the domain from the final URL for the display URL.  Advertisers are then allowed to add two paths with a maximum of 15 characters each that will display behind the display URL.

Let me clarify.  In the previous example, say the final URL, where a user is directed if the ad is clicked, is: https://www.trenzshirts.com/political-t-shirts/Before with original text ads, the display URL would be https://www.trenzshirts.com/political-t-shirts/However, with expanded text ads, the display URL is https://www.trenzshirts.comThen, the advertiser can opt to use two 15 character path fields to append with keywords that will give the user a better description of the page they would land if the ad is clicked.

Ad Extensions –

All ad extensions are still available to be used with extended text ads and remain vital in achieving high click through rates and a high quality score.  For a review of best-practices using ad extensions, see my previous blog post, When It Comes To Your Google Ads, Size Does Matter.

Effectively Using Expanded Text Ads

All of the best-practices of writing ads still apply to expanded text ads.  These best-practices include:Make Each Click Count

  1. Relevant to keywords in a campaign/ad group.
  2. Clearly set expectations.
  3. List benefits and features.
  4. Include offers, be specific.
  5. Be unique.
  6. Be grammatically correct.
  7. Add relevant keywords to display URLs.
  8. Implement relevant ad extensions.

However, now that advertisers have 50% more characters available there is more space to rework ads to convey a stronger message to potential customers.

When reworking your ads, advertisers should keep the following in mind:

1. Don’t simply add a 2nd headline to existing ads. Take the opportunity to look at all ads and rework your message. If you put in the work to create more effective messaging it will pay immediate dividends, as many of your competitors most like won’t.

2. Use existing character limits. New extended text ads have 45 additional characters. Rework ads to ensure you are using the full limit in order to effective convey your marketing messages.

3. Optimize headlines. Most potential customers will click on an ad based on the headline now headlines. Use Google’s system of rotating ads to fully optimize the best headline and then keep testing.

Summary –

Standard text ads will be supported until 10/26/16 at which time only extended text ads will be available.  However, advertisers should convert their ads as quickly as possible.  By converting ads, advertisers will have a competitive advantage over advertisers who wait until the deadline. Typically, most advertisers do not perform changes until necessary.  For advertisers, who do they will have a couple of months of serving larger ads, which quite possible will increase their click through rates and subsequent quality scores.

Finally, the expanded text ads also provide advertisers with an opportunity to review all their text ads and refresh some stagnant ads that perhaps haven’t been producing high click through rates or at least haven’t been recently tested.

Overall, the development of expanded text ads is a great release that provides another tool for advertisers to enhance their marketing message in order to attract more customers.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Good Luck & Happy Marketing!


Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.