FAQ: Google Expanding Longer Headlines in Adwords

I recently wrote about Google Adwords longer headlines for ads with a description 1 line that ends in either a period, exclamation for question mark. The initial impacts when combined with ad extensions have been phenomenal for many accounts that we manage – increased click-through rates, site engagement and conversions. It now appears Google is combing headlines with description line 1 even when the latter does not end in a punctuation. We reached out to our Google reps for clarity:

What you’re seeing is a change that started this month where description lines that we are highly confident are complete phrases will be promoted to the headline, as well as partial description lines that contain sentence-ending punctuation.  Lines will only be promoted if they fit on a single line next to the headline at most browser widths.

The following are a few revised FAQs in case you’re interested:

Why is Google doing this?

Google believes that it improves both the user experience and advertiser performance, as it allows users to view relevant information from advertisers more quickly and easily.

Who is affected?

All advertisers whose ads appear in the top positions on Google and have a description line that ends in punctuation are affected.  Other ads that we are highly confident have complete phrases or sentences in their description lines that fit on the headline are also affected.

Does this affect only top placement ads?

Yes, this change applies to only ads that appear in the top positions on Google. Ads that appear on the side of the page on Google will remain the same.

Does this affect only ads on Google?

Yes, this change applies to only ads on Google. Ads that appear on our partners’ sites vary in format.

Which Google domains are affected?

This is a global launch that affects all Google domains, but does not at the current time affect Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and RTL languages.

Punctuation is one way complete sentences and phrases are determined.  To what types of punctuation does this apply?

A period, exclamation point, question mark, and country-specific punctuation at the end of description line 1 qualify for the treatment.

Do I need to change my ads?

No, you do not need to take any action. Description lines that are clearly complete phrases or sentences will automatically be moved to the headline when your ads are served in the top positions on Google.  Complete phrases within these description lines will also be promoted if they fit on the headline.

What should I do if I want description line 1 to be moved to the headline?

You can edit your ads so that description line 1 looks like a sentence and ends in sentence-ending punctuation.  This product works best when the creative reads as three separate sentences with proper punctuation, and this is the best way to get the treatment. Please note that the change will only apply when your ad appears in the top positions on Google.

What should I do if I don’t want description line 1 to be moved to the headline?

Advertisers that end their description line 1’s with a comma or hyphen will not receive the longer headline.

Does this mean that I should use my description lines as a continuation of the headline?

Google does not recommend writing your ad so that the headline continues into the description lines unless it creates a more positive user experience. Remember, even when the headline and description line 1 are combined, they are separated by a dash. Moreover, description line 1 is moved to the headline only when your ad appears in the top positions on Google; thus, when your ad appears elsewhere, it may not be shown in the way that you intended.

What early results are you seeing with the expanded headlines? Do you think this expanded use of Google’s expanded headline to 70 characters is a smart move? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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