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360i Report: Google Alters Ad Copy with Extended Title Line

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360i Point of View on
Google Alters Ad Copy with Extended Title Line
Overview
Google is actively modifying the appearance of ad copy within sponsored search results by extending the title portion of paid ads (through repositioning the first description line). While the combination of title and first description may sound subtle, it undoubtedly enhances the appearance of paid search placements, granting greater visibility to a marketer’s messages. A few direct implications to consider:
More of the actual ad block will now be clickable.

More advertiser copy will appear in larger fonts, which in turn means marginally more real estate.

More of an advertiser’s ad copy will be delivered in blue text, which is more appealing to the end user’s
eye.
It is also noteworthy that the expansion of the top line of AdWords text almost emulates a longer SEO title tag. As shown in following examples, the sponsored results supported by AdWords continue to follow natural search’s coattails exemplified by sitelinks and user review information. To the everyday searcher, this move further blends the appearance of paid search and natural listings within results.
Overall, this update is likely to attract more eyeballs to sponsored search results boosting Click-Through-Rates (CTR), and thus driving more traffic through paid search efforts.

Why is Google making this change?

Through their own testing, Google has confirmed that AdWords listings with longer headlines perform better than those with shorter headlines. It is their belief that a longer headline improves both the user experience and advertiser performance, as it allows users to view relevant information from advertisers more quickly and easily. While Google has not made this data public, Google shares 360i’s opinion that advertisers may see an increase in CTR as a result of the extended headline.

The below were provided by Google as examples.
How does the update impact marketers?

All AdWords advertisers are eligible to take advantage of this new format. However, actual execution is dependent upon compliance with two factors — ad position and ad punctuation.
Ad Position: Ads serving in positions 1 through 3, situated in the north (top) ad block of a SERP are eligible for the extended title. The right-hand rail will continue to display the more familiar paid search ad layout.

Ad Punctuation: Ads must comply with certain punctuation standards. For a creative execution to be eligible, the first description line must conclude with a period, exclamation point, question mark or country-specific punctuation. Notably absent from this list is a comma.

We suggest marketers review their current ad copy and assess whether their current copy is compliant for execution. In many cases, there may be very little a marketer needs to update. In other cases, marketers may not have any eligible copy in rotation. In these scenarios marketers should develop and execute compliant ad copy. This could be a daunting and laborious task for expansive campaigns.

To narrow scope, we recommend that marketers place a short-term, immediate focus on the most eligible and most impactful ad groups. Time and effort in the early stages should spotlight high volume, top position ad groups. These groups will meet the eligibility requirements and be the most likely to make a measurable impact.

Ultimately a marketer’s focus should be on best positioning themselves to have a seat at the table as this format makes its appearance. Results may differ by campaign, category and vertical with varying competitor and industry adoption rates; however, preparation and quick reaction could pave the path for future traction and performance defense.

Marketers should also give consideration to staying power. As results accumulate, the permanence of this format will become clearer. However, as with most things in the digital world, when it moves – it’s likely to move quickly. Marketers should reciprocate. It’s never too early to begin evaluating effort, time and resources to accommodate these changes. Marketers should work with their teams to develop a plan of attack which most suitably recognize support of this new format. Depending on true impact, these updates may very well need to supersede other initiatives until full recognition is in place.
What should marketers do to prepare?

In the short term, we recommend that marketers:
Ensure ad eligibility

Learn from results

Review competitor adoption and permanence

Establish plan to accommodate new format

As the changes take hold, we suggest that marketers develop testing strategies for new creative formats. As a long term strategy marketers should also evaluate holistic search concepts within SEO and strive to understand the interplay of natural search rankings and natural creative within Google’s search results. For example, important keywords that already produce high natural search positions should be closely evaluated (titles, descriptions and URLs) to better understand the call to action through SERP messaging and its effectiveness in driving traffic to a specific landing page.

Understanding natural strongholds and existing messaging through SEO can help the paid creative (especially under the newer format) complement or differentiate channeled clicks via paid “sponsor links” to fresh landing pages that have proven conversion rates for the end user.
Conclusion

Marketers should ensure they are positioned to understand the impact of this new format on their campaigns and their category. As data emerges, close attention should hone in on performance. There is likely to be an upward impact to advertiser CTR with the potential for subsequent effects on related factors like Quality Scores, Cost-Per-Click and Conversion Rates. Given Google’s adoption of a phased roll out, direct quantification is difficult. However, by preparing, measuring and reacting, marketers should be able to safely navigate the waters of this new format.