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At Google Marketing Live this year, Google showcased how Responsive Search Ads are helping advertisers by saving them time and delivering users the best ad for the search query. The success so far means that Google will be looking to roll this out to more advertisers in English, French, German and Spanish from September (other languages to follow soon). As you know, Responsive Search Ads can give us 3 headlines and 2 Description lines, now Google is expanding this into existing Text Ads.


What’s changing with Text Ads?

From the end of August, you’ll be able to add in a third headline and second description line to your text ads. As well as this, Google is now extending the character limits of these description lines to 90 (from 80). 

It means that your text ads will follow the following character limits:

Google Text Ad Character Limits

This will look like the following on the Google results pages:

Google Text Ads

Looks much bigger eh! In recent years the pace of changes made to Paid Search ads has increased significantly as competition increases and as technology forces Google to continue evolving their advertising products. This latest change is no exception. 

Remember! Google might not always show both Headline 3 and Description Line 2 all of the time. Dependent on your ad rotation settings, Google might show them more often than not; but don’t be surprised if your ads don’t always appear as above.


Why is Google doing this to Text Ads?

They say it’s to give advertisers more room to convey your message to potential customers

This is definitely true. But is it the sole reason? Hmmm…

Increase CTR to Paid Ads. Ascetically Headlines shouldn’t look too different in places, but your Description Lines will double

Google has been making lots of small tweeks to the look of our ad copy since Expanded Text Ads were launched. Everything from merging Ad Extensions such as Structured Snippets and Callout Extensions into the Description Lines, to adding in a 3rd headline into some searches (mostly Brand) which included the domain of the site.

What will be noticeable though is the fact that we get another description line to use with a larger character limit too. This is on top of the ad extensions that we can still add on, as above. 

A combination of all of this together will mean that Google can ensure that CTR through Paid Ads are improved, which means it gets paid more and could also attract more advertisement through Google Ads as Paid Search becomes even more lucrative. 

Could you really compare how Responsive Search Ads was performing versus your Text Ads if they didn’t have the same limits?

We don’t think so. This could be a away for Google to get more advertisers using Responsive Search Ads.

If advertisers see the benefits of utilising the extra character limits first, then the next logical step is to see how the Machine Learning elements of Responsive Search Ads could further benefit performance.

Continued rise in Mobile scrolling means Google can justify making ads bigger

The rise in Mobile as a big reason for Google making the change from Standard Text Ads to Expanded Text Ads back in 2016. Google positioned the change here because they saw that users scrolled a lot more on Mobile, so in theory they could increase the size of Google Ads without having a detrimental impact to user experience.

The rise in Mobile usage is continuing, but not at the same accelerated pace YoY. Scrolling has continued to increase on Mobile, particularly as the size of our phones continues to increase. Google even introduced an infinite scrolling feature this year.

Could this change hint at preparing for the future of Paid Voice Search?

We are also continuing to see an increase in Voice Searches, with 50% of all searches expected to be done through Voice Search by 2020. We’ve spoken at length before about the future of Paid Voice Search. But could the increased description lines help Google better understand your business’ offering to customers in order for them to surface your ads to users via Voice Search just like reading the meta descriptions from organic?


What does this mean for you?

Could this continue to have an impact on your Organic efforts?

This much larger real estate for description lines could potentially have a knock on effect onto organic listings click through rates. There is no fixed length for meta descriptions, however we know that from around May 2018 Google recommended that we shorten down the length from 320 characters and put as much into 150 to 170 characters to maximise your SEO efforts.

This means that with Paid Search now having up to 180 characters for Description Lines 1 and 2 with Ad Extensions too, it could make your Organic listings look less impressive. This could mean that you will be paying more for traffic to come to your website. 

Get ready. Start preparing some Ad Copy now so you can get ahead of the competition

If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Simple. Get ahead of the competition by working on some ideas for your ad copy so you are ready to upload as soon as it’s rolled out.

Top Tip – This gives you even more space to make your ad copy as relevant as possible to the user. You can also use IF Functions to deliver a more relevant message by Audience or Device. Has a user recently visited and not purchased? Shout about a discount or price point to get them back and buying!

Dan Roberts
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Dan Roberts

Founder & Author at PPC hubbub
Dan has worked in agencies for over 5 years and was awarded Rising Star at The Drum Search Awards for the work delivered for his clients and wider industry. Dan founded PPC hubbub after becoming frustrated with the lack of actionable insight from blogs.

LinkedIn - https://uk.linkedin.com/in/siondanielroberts
Dan Roberts
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