Domain URL Now Makes Some Ads Have the Longest Headlines Ever

To be clear, I selected this title not for brevity, but to highlight that now some of your ads may actually be that long, in the first line. No, not exactly that long, but after this blog you’ll come to understand. So, to start, Google recently has announced that for select top position ads, the domain URL of the display URL will appear next to the headline of your ad, separated by a line like so:

Example of new headline

Now, there are several implications from this move, as well as some technical information that needs to be shared, but in general, this seems like a rather dramatic change. To follow, there will be a brief description of what exactly Google is doing to our ads, followed by some strategies to consider using to better utilize this change for good.

To start, as you can see, the display URL has clearly been moved to the headline. If you can’t see it, get really close to the screen…just kidding. It is separated by a line, and still appears un-capitalized. So, in appearance alone, the display URL is practically the same, but just listed as the domain of the URL. Also, since this only affects top position ads, the other ads will remain the same. This is not to be confused with the recent addition of putting the first description line with the headline, and in fact this can still affect ads that are made to have the first two lines together. The display URL will still appear next to the combined description/headline, as long as it is under 68 characters in total. So, for those of you wondering about the title, the line “Domain URL Now Makes Some Ads Have the Longest Headlines Ever,” only contains 61 characters. Your headline could potentially be seven characters longer than that epic poem of a blog title. Homer’s Odyssey has nothing on that!

Thanks, Google, for showing me "Homers Odyssey."

So why is this important? First off, to state the obvious, your headline will stick out to a potential customer. Applying the same logic as the original expanded headlines, Google states that this expanded headline with the domain of the display URL will continue to boost CTR. This is because people will click on your ad more if they trust the display URL. And, if you have compelling combined headline text, it will clearly lead the reader to your display URL. Which brings me to my first, and somewhat obvious strategy—make sure the domain of your display URL looks trustworthy. This is easier said than done, as it may be difficult to get it changed quickly. But, just be sure that if you don’t feel confident in your display URL, don’t bid for top position! This may actually hurt your numbers, especially if your URL looks shady.

Also, another strategy to consider is brand consciousness. This goes hand in hand with the last paragraph—if your domain URL is a well-known brand in your industry or to your target audience, this will certainly help you. If your brand is not well-known, avoid the top position! Get some brand recognition with a more conventional advertising approach, and once you have gotten enough traffic, then consider utilizing the top position. Now, this is not an exact science—there is no magic number that shows that people know your brand. It is the advertiser’s call in the end, so make sure you think over the impact of your brand name before utilizing this new strategy.

The final strategy to consider is how to utilize this new innovation with the already combined headline.  As mentioned in this previous post, both the headline and the first description line have to be able to stand alone, meaning that you can’t count on Google combining one giant compound sentence. Make sure both the headline and the description line still make sense as individual lines, otherwise Google won’t combine them and your potential customers will just be confused. So, with this in mind,  there are a few things you can do to maximize this new headline. First, you don’t have to mention your brand name in the ad if it is your domain URL. This saves you some characters in these lines. This is especially true if you use pronouns, like “Here” and “We,” as these are more likely than not shorter than your brand name. This paired with the domain URL right next to the text can both save you some characters in your description/headlines, but also can facilitate brand awareness.

So, to conclude, this new change may make your headlines 68 characters long, which is a leg up on being noticed instead of your competition. But, if you do not have a suitable display URL, it may hinder your CTR. So it is important to be aware of your brand, and how noticeable it is to a consumer. And finally, it is important to keep in mind that this won’t help to make your headline, description line, and display URL read as one continuous sentence—Google doesn’t allow that. SO keep these strategies in mind, and be sure to be aware of the changes that Google is making to your top position ads.