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Bing Ads: How Do Expanded Text Ads Compare With Standard Text Ads?

Jason Martin's picture

Whilst much of the focus remains on Google AdWords for PPC, Bing Ads slowly continues to grow in the background. More recently the network has adopted the Expanded Text Ads (ETA) format, which allows for more ad text to be displayed in search results. Details of the differences can be found on the Bing Ads site, with a brief summary as follows:

The question is - how do Expanded Text Ads compare with the tried and tested standard Text Ad format?

This article will assess the following metrics:

Click Through Rate (CTR)

Click through rate works out how many users have clicked your ad compared to those who have seen it in search results.

In the case of Expanded Text Ads, having more space in ads allows for a multitude of benefits. Longer ad titles allow for more scope to include longer keyword phrases in the ads to improve ad relevancy, as well as your quality score - which is beneficial for reasons already discussed.

Alongside this, a second headline allows you to include a more prominent call to action within the ad titles, rather than being tucked away in the smaller ad text.

Providing you do it well – be clear in what you provide, push your key features, include a strong call to action – then ETA’s can boost your click through rates.

Average Ad Position

This figure shows your average position within paid search results. Top of the page on Bing is typically anywhere from position 1-4, and position 5 onwards are smaller ads in the sidebar and at the bottom of the page.

Ensuring you are in top ad positions really benefits Expanded Text Ad formats. The use of a second headline in particular makes the ads more prominent on the page. An example below shows ad positions 1 and 2 with Expanded Ads, compared with ad position 3 using a standard Text Ad.

Conversion Rate

This shows how many of your users completed a desired action on your website compared with the number who clicked through your ads.

Expanded Text Ads can aid your conversion rates by having more space in ads to spell out what your business is offering. This leads to fewer surprises for the user when they reach the landing page and increases the chances of a conversion occurring.

Cost Per Conversion

This is the bottom line for many businesses in PPC Search Marketing. It’s no use getting conversions -be they leads, sales or otherwise – if your business is losing money through cost of advertising.

Expanded Ads can help to improve cost per conversion figures. By offering more details in the original ad, ETA’s can clarify the offering to users pre-click and ensure a better quality of traffic through to the website.

The users have a clear idea of what your business offers and are ready to act on the page, which improves the conversion rate. This in turn means that your business gets more conversions for your money.

Performance

To assess the performance of Text Ads compared with Expanded Text Ads, I’ve looked at three businesses, all of which offer a different product/service to their customers.

Looking at January and February 2017’s data on Bing Ads, we can see the following results:

CTR

Click through rate results were mixed, with increases across both Service businesses but a decrease for the Product business.

More details in the ad may be considered more beneficial for services to ensure it’s exactly what the user is looking for, whereas the Product may be more straightforward and its general features well known.

Ad Position

The average ad positions decreased across the board, which in this instance is good as we typically aim to lower our ad position a “top position” of 1.0. This is likely due to increased ad rank stemming from good click through rate and ad relevancy in relation to its keywords.

Conversion Rate

The businesses are unified in their conversion rate improvement, albeit at differing levels, which suggests that the ads have offered enough incentive for the users to come through and complete the desired actions.

Cost Per Conversion

Finally, the cost per conversion figures were largely positive which came as a result of all of the above areas. Getting the ad in the right place for the right audience, ensuring the message was clear and allowing them to complete the conversion with minimal fuss.

Summary

To summarise, ETA’s are showing good promise in their infancy and should be rolled out across your ad groups in order to capitalise on the benefits of more ad space. However, it isn’t yet time to give up on Text Ads altogether. Especially as they continue to be supported on Bing Ads Network, whereas Google AdWords have stopped the creation of standard Text Ads as of January 2017.

I would recommend that you run a mixture of Text Ads and Expanded Text Ads in your ad groups and monitor the results carefully to determine which ad type is working best for you.