Google to Reformat Paid Ad Descriptions

Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, News, SEM

Google is set to make another change to the appearance of their paid-search advertisements. Once this is implemented, any description line 1 that ends in punctuation will be tacked on to the headline and separated by a dash. The change will only affect paid ads appearing in the top three positions. BEFORE AFTER As with any change to Google’s search results page (SERP), this reformatting could impact key metrics. We expect this change to improve click-through rate (CTR) and increase competition on the top three paid search positions. As Danielle Sadowski, Group Account Director at The Search Agency explains, “The headline is traditionally a very appealing portion of the creative unit. During creative testing we have found that changing the headline to be highly relevant to the query searched or using a strong brand name has always helped increase the CTR of the ads. Making the headline longer will certainly give advertisers more room to create a compelling message and grab the users attention. Conversely, the longer text may detract users' engagement as it makes the text look more like an ad unit. I'm excited to test this new ad variation and measure whether there is a positive impact on CTR as was suggested by Google's research and also measure whether there is also an impact on conversion rate.” Google has not announced when this new format will go into effect.  Once it has been implemented, we will measure the impact on our clients' AdWords campaigns.

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13 Responses to “Google to Reformat Paid Ad Descriptions”

  1. This is potentially a big change when looking at individual advertisers. In the past the ability to use longer headlines on Yahoo could dramatically allow you to move performance against an individual keyword as compared to standardized ads ported from Google. As the headline elements draw so much attention in ads, a major change in that real estate would make 1) separating messaging in D1 and D2 lines, 2) using punctuation in D1, 3) tying D1 into headline messaging, and 4) testing that much more important in winning in competitive verticals on Google.

    Best! -Mike

  2. Stu says:

    Hmmmm, cool info and nice to know ahead of time. I wonder how much it will change CTR. I think it will make the ad look more like an organic result because of the longer, blue, hyperlink text.

  3. Luke says:

    Google seems to be squeezing every penny they can out of Adwords by increasing CTR. I wonder if long term term all this focus on getting searchers to click on Paid Ads hurts them? If I weren’t so familiar with Adwords, and got confused and clicked on paid ads constantly(because they are looking more and more like organic results), I would stop using Google because all I’m seeing are sales pages that are pushing me to buy something.

  4. From Google Contact (Ok’d to share external):

    “The ad format changes will be taking place over the next two weeks for top ads. A a decent number of ads had a first line that looks like a complete sentence, so we experimented moving that complete sentence up to the top with the headline (separated by a dash, of course).By doing this, we noticed there was a performance increase for the entire top ad block. Keep your eyes out for a blog post on this soon.”

  5. Wow, this change makes for huge adwords headline – I imagine the longer blue underline link, with potentially more bolded keywords would perform better – but we’ll have to wait and see.

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