January 14, 2011 • Article by Emma Chun
Whilst searching online this morning, look what we found…! Google is testing a new format for the top three PPC ads by merging the ad headline with the first line of the description to make one long hyperlink. Why?
The effect of the test is to make the Top 3 ads look more like organic results…this is presumably commercially intentional. For meta titles of organic search results Google runs a c. 65 character limit. Merging the PPC ad headline (25 characters) and 1st line of the description (35 characters) totals 60. Changing the format of the PPC ads merges them neatly in with the organic results – look at a brand name search for Marks and Spencer:
Google are obviously testing the click-through-rates for the ads – even if the CTR were to increase by as little as 0.1% this would make Google an extra fortune!
One problem is that if the ad copy runs across both the description lines, the ad will no longer read properly. Perhaps in the near future there will be an option for advertisers to write long and short ads as has existed on Yahoo.
Interestingly we cannot find an example of Google’s line merge mangling an ad – possibly they are using syntax analysis to identify where they can do so without damaging the meaning of the ad?
If anyone else has spotted similar results then please say…we saw them 1st around 1pm GMT in the UK.