Hot on the heels of removing text ads from the right rail of the search results on desktop, Google is beginning to test a new format for text ads. Dubbed Expanded Text Ads, the new format features longer headlines.
Currently, headlines can extend to include the first line of description copy when that line ends with a punctuation mark. This formatting has only been available to ads served in the mainline, but now that the right rail ads are gone, Google can change the convention text ad formatting systemwide.
The big difference in this test is that the text ads will feature a double (extended) headline and the full 70-character count of description copy. Advertisers get to have their cake and eat it, too. (Update: Amy Middleton Hebdon informed us that the character count will actually be 80 in the new description line. So even more cake.)
Here’s a before-and-after look. The second headline in test version is “Best NY Hotel Rates in Seconds.”
The other change with this test is the display URL formatting. Advertisers will be able to append up to two paths or directories to the domain name. In the screen shot above, for example, the advertiser would have entered two paths as “/NewYorkCity” and “/Budget.”
From what Search Engine Land has heard from sources, in the AdWords user interface, there will be a new field to enter the second headline, a single field for description copy and new fields for the Display URL paths.
Google has not officially announced the launch of this test, but a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land, “We regularly test different ad formats with the goal of providing useful information to users and driving even better results for advertisers. Beyond that, we don’t have anything to announce at this time.”
Expanded text ads are being tested in a closed beta, and it’s too soon to know when it might open to more participants.
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