Recent Google AdWords Ad Changes and Improvements

published by on 4th August 2011 under Search Engine Marketing (PPC)

While the basic principles behind AdWords have remained unchanged for years, a lot of quite significant changes in the appearance and format of ads have occurred in the last couple of months. Below we’ll take a brief look at these.

Extended Headline

Ads displaying in the premium positions (positions 1-3) can append the first description line to the ad headline. This can make the ad message stand out more, and if an ad is well written the impact on CTR can be significant. AdWords puts a hyphen between the original headline and the appended first description line. It is therefore important to make sure your ad message makes sense even after this feature is applied :-)

Domain Name in Headline

The site domain name can appear in the headline of your ad. Again, the ad must be ranked in the premium position.

Well known websites and big brands can benefit from this because their ads will become more distinguished from the others. On the contrary, ads with dodgy looking domain names and sites which advertise everything can experience drops in CTR.

One could argue whether it makes sense to have both the domain name and the display URL in the ad, given that the information is duplicated. But since this is only a testing feature how it works could change, or it could disappear altogether.

AdWords +1 Button

+ Button on an AdWords Ad

Users can rate the ads by giving them +1′s – Google’s recent social feature. The number of received +1′s does not directly affect Quality Score but the idea is that users are more likely to click an ad if they see that the ad received +1′s from their friends. However, I don’t expect this feature to have any visible impact on an account performance in the near future.

Display URL Position

New Positioning of Display URL

The visible URL line was moved from the bottom of the ad to directly underneath the headline. This change is for all ads, not only those in the premium positions. The appearance of the organic search results has also changed in the same way.

Snippets from Landing Page Content

This is probably the most recent change we’ve spotted: AdWords can append a snippet from the landing page content (especially from the meta description element) as part of the ad description. In this way AdWords ads can thus have a description of up to 70 characters long.

Page Content Snippet in an AdWords Ad

Have you spotted this in you ads too? Do you know of some other new ad appearance changes? Please let us know in the comments.

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