As you may or may not have heard, Google made three very significant changes to its Adwords platform on Tuesday. While the Big G had let us know that these changes were coming (they announced them at a Summit in May), we were kind of expecting them to be rolled out later this year or early next year, and certainly not all at once. However, Google does not like to be predictable and in usual Google fashion, launched it when no one was expecting it. This is certainly one way to make sure that Adwords agencies stay on their toes!

I am sure you are thinking, “Yes, fabulous, but why do I care? How does this affect me and my Adwords campaigns?” Let’s take a look.

How Do The Three July 2016 Adwords Changes Affect Advertisers?

Expanded Text Ads

If you are responsible for writing text ads, this one has you jumping in delight. If you are responsible for managing a lot of accounts, this one has you screaming in pain. Since I do both, I am feeling rather conflicted right now.

The format of Google’s text ads has stayed pretty much the same for the last 15 years. Some of the visuals used here are courtesy of our amazing partners at Wordstream.

old-adsThe old ad format had space for a single headline, 2 description lines and a very limited space for the display URL.

new-ad-formatThe new ad format increases the real estate on the page by 47%! Yes the new ads are 47% larger than the old ads. We now get two headlines, each of which are longer than the old 25 character headline. We no longer have to cram our message into two 35 characters lines but can write 80 characters of text into our description. Best of all (in my opinion) is the ability to have a massively expanded display URL. Not only that, but Google has done away with a separate format for mobile ads. Now you can write a single ad and have it display on all devices. So here is a side by side comparison of the ads:

new-adwords-ad-formatsSo be honest – which one would you click on? It is super cool, and in beta testing the new ad formats had a click through rate in excess of 400% higher! So yes, that means that we will be writing all new ads for all of our clients over the next 6 weeks. But here is the real danger – you will only be able to edit the standard (old) ad format through to 26 October 2016. And sometime in Q4 2016 or Q1 2017, the standard ads will stop showing altogether. That means that if you do not write new ETA’s (expanded text ads) for your account before then, your ads will not be displayed. Your lead generation will come to a grinding, crashing halt, and there will be tears. So if you manage your own Adwords account, get writing some new ads. If an Agency manages your account, then call them today and find out when they are redoing your ads. If you are one of our clients, don’t stress. We are on it like Homer Simpson on a cream filled doughnut.

Responsive Display Ads

Anyone who has ever designed ads for the Google Display Network knows what a pain it is – there are approximately 12 different ad sizes, which means tweaking ads in numerous ways to get the best effect for all sizes. It is fiddly and laborious.

Not any more.

In Google’s continuous bid to make the user’s experience across mobile devices and desktop seamless, they have given us a great new way to load the things that are important, and let Google do the heavy lifting. The new ads will automatically fit into all the various ad sizes across the Display network, and display beautifully on any devices. That is the story from Google at least. This change is going to be rolled out across the network and hadn’t been made available in SA just yet, so we have once again used our Wordstream friends’ examples below.


This is a huge jump up from the previous ad builder and gives us a lot more control of the imagery. It also gives us better space for text. Very excited to be able to leverage this for our clients moving forward, and will result in a good decrease in design costs!

Bid Management Across Devices

This change is more exciting for us Adwords folk than for our clients. Previously, if we wanted to give extra love to searchers on tablets, we could only increase our bids to mobile devices in general. So we had to spend more money on smartphone users as well.

mobile-adjustmentsNow Google has given us the ability to be more specific with how we spend our clients’ budgets. If we know that the conversion rate for tablets is way higher than for any other device, we can bid up for those users. It just gives us another level of control (which is what we like).

So what should I do?

  1. If you have any kind of Adwords campaign running, get those ads changed. That is definitely your first action that needs to take place. If you manage your campaign, make the changes sooner rather than later. If you use an Agency, make sure they are taking action. If you contact them and they have no clue what you are talking about, its time for a new agency (just saying).
  2. If you have been scared about the Display network because of ad formats, design issues and just general laziness, now is the time to strike. Get a remarketing campaign going, or show off your beautiful products to new audiences on any device. It really has never been easier.

I think that Google should have published these changes in an eBook with a flashy cover saying “Don’t Panic”. The changes are wide ranging, and I am fairly certain will have a sharp impact on most advertisers, even more so than the changes we saw in February with the removal of the right hand rail of ads. So put your big girl panties on and start writing new ads.

About Us

Why WSI?
  • We don’t believe in cookie cutter strategies
  • An experienced trans-continental team of superheroes.


  • Generate quality leads that are more likely to become your customers.
Build Your Brand Awareness
  • Get and keep your brand on your audience's radar
  • When you have online credibility, people turn to you for insights, solutions, and guidance.
  • Manage your prospects’ experience of your brand and make the right moments count
In need of digital marketing services? Look no further, we are ready to help!