What are extended headlines?
Google continues to release tweaks to its ad formats and SERPs with the constant objective to increase CTR and therefore revenue generated by its advertising program. Since early February, the first description line of selected Adwords ads can show as an extension of the headline, seperated by a dash.
In order to be eligible, your ad needs to:
- be ranking in a top position (usually top 3). Ads ranking on the side of the search results are not eligible.
- have a description line 1 that has punctuation that marks the end of the sentence, so a full stop (.), question mark (?), or exclamation point (!). Note that the following punctuation characters do not work $ % & , ; :
- be active, duh!
There is no way for an advertiser to opt out of this (what it seems) permanent fix and this change will only work on the Google SERPs, not on Google’s search partners.
What impact will it have on your ads?
With longer headlines, ad messages stand out more from the top of the SERP, especially if only one ad has the extended headline. Unsurprisingly, some marketers have already reported increased click-through and conversion rates after running A/B tests.
However, you want to be quick in implementing the changes. If your main competitors are eligible for headline extensions, it could also mean higher CTR for them, and therefore missed clicks for you. Make sure you make the changes as soon as possible.
Some other marketers have expressed their skepticism with this new format, saying web users may click more on longer headlines in the first weeks/months before they get used to it, but then ad blindness would slowly kick in.
This change is fairly recent and not many observations have been made yet. We’ll surely update you once we know more about its impact on paid search campaigns. If you’ve experienced good (or bad) results with headline extensions, be sure to let us know in the comments! In the meantime, a few recommendations below:
- When writing new ad copies, try to include stand alone description lines as often as possible.
- Look at your current highest performing ads and make sure they are eligible for extended headlines. If not, edit the punctuation.
- Do it quick! Before your competitors!