I’ve been noticing a few subtle (and not so subtle) changes lately with Google AdWords. If you have seen these changes before or know of any new changes, share them with.

Display URL All Lower Case
Google has acknowledged that they are in the process of changing the display URL on all ads to lower case. Having the option to use capitalization was always a great opportunity to have ads stand out a little more. Capitalizing was especially useful for ads that have multiple words or sub-domains:

Google states: “As a result, we’ve decided to update the appearance of the display URLs of all ads that appear on search results pages in the next week or so.” – http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/01/change-to-appearance-of-search-ad.html

Two Lines of Ad Text
Google often admits they are constantly testing new variations. Many of these tests never warrant an announcement, because the testing proved not worthy. Thus, many of us never notice them.
One of those new unannounced changes is combining ad descriptions. Google usually has a strict ad policy.

  • Headline – 25 characters
  • Description Line 1 – 35 characters
  • Description Line 2 – 35 characters
3 Lines to 2 Lines

There is evidence that Google is combining ads into 2 lines, instead of 3, as seen in the example above. This is very similar to Microsoft’s approach. In the example above, the two descriptive lines are combined. In the following example, Google pulls the first line of description into the headline.

Google Ipad Example

If this change sticks, it opens the door to a lot more creativity with ads. As mentioned before, it’s not that uncommon to notice changes to the ads, but these changes seem to be extremely significant. It will be interesting to see what changes stick around. If you see any other changes that have not been announced yet, please share them.

Update: February 3. 2010Google officially announced what many have already noticed. According to Google:

“We’ve found that the change results in higher clickthrough rates for ads that are shown with the longer headline, as well as other top ads that appear beside them. It also creates a better experience for users by highlighting more information in the ad.”

From Google’s perspective, this is going to cause more advertisers to bid for top position. For years, many of us have learned that top is not always best. Ultimately, it still comes down to conversions. Not clicks or clickthrough rates. Look at the numbers and make your own call.

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