In the 15 years since Google launched AdWords, paid search text ads have remained, largely, the same. Sure, ad extensions have added considerable real estate to ad copy—but, the 25-35-35 headline & description character limits on text ads haven’t budged since the turn of the millennium.
Mark your calendars: 2016 will be the year that all this changes.
Already in beta, Google expanded text ads will be introduced to all AdWords advertisers later this year, per an announcement on Inside AdWords. The change will allow for two 30-character headlines, a single 80-character description, and a display URL automatically pulled from the ad’s final URL, with the option to notate up to two “URL paths” (neither of which needs to be real, similar to how display URLs function now), to give consumers description about your page’s content.
Expanded text ads are one piece of Google’s new “mobile-first” approach with paid search, which includes a planned redesign of AdWords and the future inclusion of iOS in Universal App campaigns. The extra real estate needed for these jumbo-sized ads is now available in Google search results, thanks to the company jettisoning right-rail ads earlier this year.
I myself am in the early stages of a beta of Google expanded text ads with one client; however, the company is reporting up to a 20% improvement in CTR for these larger ad sizes compared to legacy ads in early testing.
No exact date has been given by Google at this point for when expanded text ads will hit all AdWords advertisers.