We did a good bit of celebrating this week, didn’t we? Confused? Didn’t know about the party? Let me enlighten you.
If you just happened to live in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, then last Thursday, March 3rd was Mother’s Day. Hooray!
But to everyone else on the planet, it was the day that Google finally allowed longer headlines for ads in their AdWords pay-per-click program. Paid search professionals around the globe broke out the Cristal and the Padrón cigars and took it to the streets. It was like the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade collided with the Running of the Bulls during the Super Bowl. And I’m here to tell you that some of us probably didn’t make it back. It was that good.
If you’re shaking you’re head right now and wondering what all the commotion was about, it bears mentioning that PPC professionals like us are not just account managers who shuffle keywords in and out of web ads and scrutinize click-through rates and manage daily budget constraints. Nope.
To tell the truth, most of us began our paid search careers as marketers or advertising pros – and a good number of us were also content developers (that’s a fancy term for copywriter, by the way). So, since we’re all in the business of helping our clients grow their brand, their visibility, and their revenues by writing and perfecting compelling ad copy that catches the eye of searchers and drives traffic to websites – it stands to reason that the ad with the longer, more interesting Headline might just have an edge over any competing ads on the same page.
Now you’re interested, yeah?
The news broke on one of Google’s official blogs. Lisa Shieh, one of the Inside AdWords crew stated that Google was trying to find ways to maximize each line of our AdWords ads, help us get our message across to our prospects, and, hopefully, generate higher click-through rates.
Why would this work?
Google did a little research and found that ads with a longer headline get more clicks. More clicks mean more revenues for Google (it is their AdWords program, you know) and more opportunities for PPC professionals to show a return on investment to their clients. It’s a Win-Win, yeah?
Here’s how it all breaks down:
The new Google plan is to allow the first description line (of certain ads) to move up to the Headline and become one long, continuous sentence. But, in order for this to work, these ads will have to be written fairly carefully – as each line below the Headline must end in proper punctuation. So, there’s a little bit of sentence structure and punctuation alchemy involved, but the result is one massive, eye-catching Headline comprised two ad copy statements separated by a hyphen. As a result, some top placement ads will have longer Headlines. This only affects those ads that appear above the organic search results on Google.
There are a few caveats, by the way:
1. The first descriptive line must be highly relevant to the content in the Headline. If the sentence structure or the message appears disjointed, the whole thing falls apart.
2. You must punctuate correctly. In the Google blog article, Lisa Shieh went on to state that “while only some ads will be shown with the longer headline, you can increase your chances by ensuring that each line of your ad appears to be a distinct sentence and ends in the proper punctuation (e.g., a period or a question mark).”
In the coming months, there may be a period of trial and error (for both Google and the AdWords pros) but it looks like there are no serious worries here. Given that any PPC manager worth his Cristal is a competitive ad copy professional who loves nothing more than to test ad variations, beat another ad to the top of the placement list, and generate a few more clicks for their client, we’ll be looking for ways to maximize each line of our ads.
Although there is some feedback from AdWords professionals that makes a claim that these select ads with longer Headlines may make it more difficult for searchers to distinguish pay-per-click ads from the organic search results below, this is unfounded. Longer headlines create an eye-catching appeal for our client’s ads.
Let the competition begin.