June 28, 2016 By Keddy Russell-Curry,

What This Means For Your PPC

Earlier this month Google announced that it will be extending the length of ad headlines and descriptions to include two 30 character headlines, and one 80 character description line – taking the total character count from 95 to 140. What this means for advertisers is that you are now going to be able to fit in more features, benefits and compelling ad copy than before; and for those who know how to get the most out of their allotted character counts, this means better results from ads as well!

What Are We Working With

The current breakdown of an ad consists of a single headline with 25 characters, and two separate description lines with 35 characters each. For the pay-per-click professional, these character counts can be extremely restrictive, and require quite a bit of creativity to get your message across, especially when key brand names or features go beyond, or eat up the majority of these character counts. One existing “trick” for extending the headline of an ad is to use the first description line as a secondary headline: all you have to do is end the first description line with a sentence-ending punctuation (. ! ?) and Google will allow this 35 character description line to be added onto the end of your headline. While these extended headlines often result in better performing ads, the downfall is that you sacrifice your description for a longer (hopefully more compelling) headline. With the changes Google has announced, specifically the two headlines with 30 characters each, you not only have more characters to work with, but you’re given that “extended,” second headline option without sacrificing your description in order to do it. This means more compelling headlines and the ability to tout more features and benefits!

What Else Can We Expect To Change

The second change to these ad structures, which seems to be getting overshadowed by the excitement PPC professionals have for the extended headline (yes, I said excitement over headlines… we PPC folk enjoy the simple things in life), is the extended character counts for descriptions. The benefit of the change to description lines is not only that the total is increasing from 70 to 80 characters, but that it’ll be structured as a single line! More often than not, there isn’t much of an issue having two different description lines, but when one description comes out to 37 characters and the second comes out to 33, some frustration can hit. The total characters you want to use are still 70, and yet you’re forced to change your messaging because of the separation in text lines… NOT ANYMORE! The single, 80-character line will thus allow more freedom for ad copy creation, and lead to more compelling, better performing ads (or at least that’s the plan). Although we don’t know exactly when this will roll out yet, Google has claimed this will happen by the end of this year and that they will provide ample warning for when the old ad formats will cease to run. Additionally, initial tests have suggested that creating brand new creative has led to much better ad performance than simply adding text to existing ads. As a result, we recommended that paid search managers begin drafting new search copy under the updated format in preparation for the change. To find out how Digital Operative can assist you with this transition or any other paid search need, please contact us here.  

More from the
DO Blog