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AdWords Gave Us A Gift: Expanded Character Limits (and why it matters)

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Update September 2018: Google Ads (AdWords) Expanded Search Ads Again! Check out this post to learn more… “Exciting Google Ads Update: Google Is Expanding Search Ads Again! What You Need to Know

What You Need to Know When you’re given a gift, you can’t wait to unwrap it as fast as you can and play around with it. Right? AdWords just gave PPC marketers a gift. Expanded character limits went live on July 26. So what’s your next step?
Here is how to strategically expand on your existing real estate text ads when making the transition.

For the past 15 years, AdWords character limits have been…stale. Twenty-five characters for the headline and 35 characters for each of the next two description lines. Boring and limited for sure.

Standard AdWords Text Ad

Standard Text Ads

Back in May, a buzz started among PPC circles. AdWords announced they would be moving into the “multiscreen” world.

That brought forth the new character limits. Changing the look and message of text ads.

The new character count:

Two headlines of up to 30 characters of text; and
one description line of up to 80 characters.

New AdWords Text Ad Layout

New Expanded Character Limits Ad Creation Screen

The new 30-30-80 format might take a total mindset shift. First, you’ll need to create more text. That requires being more creative with the added space. Second, don’t panic. You don’t need to shift ads to the new format all at once. Or, if you choose, at least for now, you can still use the standard text ad format.

AdWords Text Ads Chart


We’re moving into the future of search ads. So make sure you’re testing and tracking results.

Get The Most From Your New AdWords Headlines

So how do you approach the additional characters? Should you add more benefits? Yes, but have a strategy in mind. You’ll need to plan out how you’ll use that extra space.

Now there is more space for text in the description of the ad and the second headline. Check out the difference from the standard to the expanded ads:

AdWords expanded text ads on mobile

Standard and Expanded Ads on Mobile

Your headline is what Google wants to place the heaviest attention on.

Your headlines should receive the majority of your testing attention. As you go about instituting and testing expanded text ads, focus on writing the best headline possible. Implementing great headlines has the most potential to make a big difference to performance.

Don’t just add some additional text in the description and throw up another headline. Be strategic!

AdWords Extended Ads Strategic Copy

Image: Create Effective Text Ads: Google Best Practices

Think carefully about your approach to new headlines. Consider:

The best practice is to still include your main keyword in the ad headline. But…you now have the option to include an offer right in the headline. This wasn’t really an option before. Typically you wouldn’t have had enough space to fit into one headline.
Include your call to action in the headline. With the standard format, calls to action had to be placed in the description line to save characters in the headline.

CTA’s for Headlines:

  • Get a Fair Cash Offer Today.
  • Get a Cash Offer in 24 Hours.
  • Have a Cash Offer in 1 Day.

Try to answer your target market’s questions in the overall headline. Ads that answer, typically get more attention.

Example of Extended AdWords Characters

NEW: We Buy Houses in Louisville headline

Harness The Excitement And Be Consistent

Having a strong strategy in this new time of expanded text ads will still require all of the best practices you applied with the standard ads.

Consider the following approach:

  • Review your ads with ad extensions; callouts, reviews, structured snippets and calls to be strategically crafted.
  • Take full advantage of the extra characters!
  • Don’t forget to include keywords in the headline. Maintaining the best practice of including keywords will be important.
  • Ad characters changed, but policies didn’t. You’ll still need to follow the AdWords headline rules.

Sudden advancements can be exciting and we’re hopeful that you’ll take full advantage. One that is certain, the new layout will help those motivated searchers understand your service better.

Remember, don’t forget to continue to write great ads. Always test and track so you can develop new best practices within your real estate AdWords campaigns.

More ad space does not guarantee conversion rates will increase. Run split tests with standard ads to gather data.

Have you already started expanding into the new ad format? Hit us up with some examples!


Brendan Holmes

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