Visibility is a crucial pillar of successful marketing. Catching the eye of one’s target audience is the never-ending challenge marketers face.
In the digital ads realm that means effectively leveraging the ad copy space Google and Microsoft (Bing) allocate. Luckily, because ads are their biggest revenue generator search engines continue to innovate and expand the optional visibility they give to marketers.
Within this post, I will cover how Google Ads character limits have changed (for the better) over time and how you can leverage the ad space they make available.
A Brief History of Google Search Ad Character Limits
When Google AdWords (now known as Google Ads) launched in the year 2000 ads appearing within search results, known as search ads, were limited to 1 headline with a maximum size of 25 characters and 2 description lines each 35 characters in length.
However, in 2016 Google launched “Expanded Text Ads” and gave advertisers up to 2 headline spaces (30 characters each) while switching the description experience to one, 80 character line.
Still, in 2018 Google went even further and launched the current iteration of Expanded Text Ads – up to 3 headlines (each 30 characters) and up to 2 description lines (each 90 characters).
To easily exhibit these changes I put together the following table:
|Original Text Ads||Expanded Text Ads||Further Expanded Text Ads|
|Headline(s)||1 headline – 25 characters||2 headlines – 30 characters each||3 headlines – 30 characters each|
|Description Lines||2 description lines – 35 characters each||1 description line – 80 characters||2 description lines – 90 characters each|
Why Character Count Matters
Each time Google increased the available character count of its ads they granted more space for advertisers to describe their services and products. For dental, ortho, or specialty practices having more ad space equates to the ability to provide more information to prospective patients. The more relevant and compelling provided information about elements like location and services offered is the higher the quality of ad clicks a practice will gain.
Taking up more ad space also draws more attention to your ads and pushes competitor ads further down results pages. More visibility generally translates to more clicks.
When Google first released Expanded Text Ads in 2016 the average advertiser saw an increase in average click-through rate (ratio of times your ad is clicked vs. how many times it’s shown) of 20%. In short, the data illustrates that adding more details to an ad attracts more clicks to it.
The Next Steps
Now that we’ve established how great Expanded Text Ads are what’s next? It’s time to test.
If you’ve been running PPC campaigns on Google (also Bing) for many years now you may have some original text ads still running. It’s possible that they’re even performing well. However, as of 2018 while they’re still eligible to run you can no longer edit text ads in the original 1 headline + 2 description lines format.
So, the best option is to keep your existing ads running (even if they’re in the old format) while adding new, Expanded Text Ads, to your ad rotation in the same campaigns and ad groups. You’ll then rotate them evenly for a while until you have a good sample size of click data. Thereafter you will look at the data and keep the winning ad type running while pausing the poorer performing ad format.
Google’s (and thereafter Bing’s) move to allow advertisers more available characters within text ads has resulted in better performance for advertisers who take advantage of the latest format.
Still, it makes sense to test new ad layouts vs. existing ones in order to ultimately come up with the one that works best for your practice.
If you have any questions about the creation of Expanded Text Ads or you’re in need of PPC support for your practice please do not hesitate to contact us!
—Mike Fitterer, Sr. Marketing Manager II, Sesame Communications