Google Launches Expanded Text Ads; How This Affects Your Business

An important alert for our clients and partners:


Google recently communicated upcoming changes to standard ad formats, called Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) that will increase the character count limit across headlines and descriptions lines.

This presents a significant opportunity for pharmaceutical advertisers, allowing additional messaging to appear at the top of search results, attracting more highly qualified traffic. For pharma brands, this could mean being able to fit the entire brand and generic name in the headline or being able to call out ‘Physician’ or ‘Patient’ as well. Specifically, the updated format which is currently in beta will be the following (screen shot below is current format on the left, new format on the right):

Ad Headline

Description Lines

Two headlines and added characters to the description line will give advertisers a chance to adjust their messaging strategy with a significant amount of additional messaging.  For example, for some brands it is tough to utilize the brand name/generic name, call out physicians, and have some sort of messaging/call to action fit within their ad text.  With this new format, CMI be able to revisit ad copy where character limit constraints have plagued that brand’s ability to use certain messaging.  And thus far, Google has reported that this beta is showing increases in CTR for advertisers.

This new ad format is currently in beta but is expected to be rolled out to all advertisers in July.  Please remember that as we have seen with other updates recently, deadlines are subject to change but as of now Google will no longer accept standard format ads after September and then a few months after that they will disallow the use of standard format ads.

The CMI search team will be scheduling time with our clients to provide additional insight into this upcoming change and provide detailed timelines of when expected updates will be submitted to legal and regulatory teams. In some cases, submission forms will need to be edited, which our search team will also provide guidance on.

Should you have additional questions on the changes Google is making, please reach out to your CMI search team or contact Justin Freid, VP Search Engine Marketing & Emerging Media, at