Following Google’s example, Bing Ads have officially announced that on the July 31st they will be ceasing support for creating new STAs (Standard Text Ads). Additionally, they are ending support for editing existing STAs on the same date. Bing Ads are implementing these changes in hope to keep the transition to EXTAs (Expanded Text Ads) moving smoothly.
As with Google, expanded text ads provide advertisers with additional character limits which translates taking up more real estate in the SERPs, and being able to squeeze in additional information. The latter has been especially useful in highly regulated industries such as insurance and trading, where previously it was hard to write a compelling copy in combination with including terms and conditions.
One important distinction between EXTA’s and standard text ads is that the former do not allow an ad variation to be ‘mobile preferred’. As such, it is best practice to write EXTA’s to speak to users on all devices. An advantage of this change is that it reduces the amount of ad copy variations required per ad group, which means faster learnings per copy.
For advertisers utilising third party bidding platforms such as DoubleClick Search, it is vital to note Bing Ads engine accounts with EXTAs have to be migrated to Upgraded URLs in order to avoid syncing errors between engine and platform. More information on this can be found here.
Bing has ensured that existing standard text ads will continue to serve alongside your EXTAs beyond the 31st of July. Although there is no date set for the absolute removal of STAs, Bing Ads are advising that customers continue to migrate across to EXTAs to take full advantage of the additional character limits and the expected uplift in CTR.
Bing has enjoyed recent success in the UK, outpacing Google for growth and as of last year holding a 20% UK market share. Similarly, to Google’s Search Network, Bing’s network increases Microsoft sites, as well as AOL and Yahoo sites within the UK.
Max Brockbank is Head of SEO at The Media Image. He previously served as Global Director SEO at Hilton Worldwide and Senior Client Success Manager at SearchMetrics. As a journalist, Max worked as a reporter and editor with regional and national newspapers including the FT and the Sun, and on global publications such as TIME Magazine.