When I started advertising on Google Adwords in January 2006, I only had 95 characters to sell my product. One 25 character headline and two 35 character description lines and that's it. There's not a lot you can do in 95 characters to differentiate yourself from your competitors. It's 10 years later and the basic ad still only has those 95 characters (although now you can expand it with ad extensions). But Google has recently announced extended ads to be rolled out by the end of the year. Here's what you need to know:
What do the ads look like? Instead of one 25 character headline there will be two 30 character headlines separated by a hyphen. And instead of two 35-character description line there will be one 80-character description line (most likely to be broken into two lines when space is limited as on mobile devices). All in all that increases the number of characters you have from 95 characters to 140, close to a 50% increase! To see what it looks like, check out this post on Search Engine Land.
When will it happen? Google has only announced that it will happen later this year--no more details are available at this time.
Why should I care? Because now you have more space to promote your product! Ad extensions are great, but they don't show all the time, especially if you're not bidding up to the first position. For those of us without the budget to be #1, we now have 45 more characters to show why searchers should choose us instead of the competition.
Why is Google changing? The new ads will show better on mobile devices. Half of all Google searches happen on mobile devices now and the ad dimensions need to change with this move to mobile.
Are there any downsides? This change will cause Google to stop serving ads on the side of the search results. I will miss these spots because you could take the 4th or 5th spot in the results and still show without someone scrolling. Now you have to be in the top ads or no one will see your ad unless they scroll to the bottom of the first page. That being said, most of those spots had been removed for shopping ads and other information.
How should I prepare? Get ready! You have plenty of time to plan, so why not start brainstorming now about how you will use the extra space?
Where can I get more information? All PPC websites are covering this. Here is a link to the official Google release.
This is a major change to Adwords, so get ready now!