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Why Google Is Allowing Longer Ads For Its Users

More copy yields better results.

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LONGER ADS SELL better than shorter ads. That may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true. It’s been proven in campaign after campaign over decade after decade.

And no less than Google agrees with me!

To wit: Google Ads (formerly Ad Words) used to allow a headline of only 25 characters, followed by another headline (or subhead) of 25 characters, followed by a description of 35 characters and a URL.

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Then they beta-tested allowing the headline and subhead to be 30 characters each, and — get this — a whopping 80 characters for the description.

What happened as a result of their test? They rolled out the new format to everyone, and it became the standard. Obviously the results of the “longer” ads were better for advertisers and therefore, eventually, better for Google.

Well, if longer is better, why not double-down and go even longer?

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Now Google is testing three headlines of 30 characters each, and permitting two descriptions of 90 characters each.

There are some restrictions. The third headline may not show up in some situations, and neither may the second 90-character description. (It’s kinda like Facebook Ads, where there are over a dozen different formats and not everything shows up or displays the same way in all the formats.)

Point is, Google experienced a “longer is better” result for their advertising. The beta test of the newer, even longer ad formats is now being made available to all Google Ads users. My understanding is that this is standard operating procedure before Google removes the beta designation and makes it a platform-wide standard.

Again, Google would not do this unless it had proven itself a plus for their users, advertisers and especially Google itself. So we can assume that users are not offended by the longer ads, and indeed, they actually respond to them better.

That makes advertisers more successful, richer, and happier, which in turn makes Google richer and happier.

Remember Google tests and tracks everything, whether the advertiser pays attention to their analytics or not. You can bet your car, house and spouse that if they’re rolling it out to the world, they already know it works. And I wouldn’t put it past them to lengthen everything again at some point to see just how far they can go.

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The message for the average jewelry retailer? Longer is most often better than shorter. My experience proves that a two-page sales letter will most often out-pull a postcard; that bigger, longer print ads will most often out-pull smaller, short-copy ones; that 60-second commercials out-pull 30 seconds and 30 seconds out-pull 15 or 10 seconds, and that if you can get them, 90 and 120 seconds will out-pull the 60s.

Still don’t believe me? Test it yourself. Do some split-run testing of both your digital and traditional advertising and see if you don’t discover — just like Google has — that longer is better than shorter, regardless of what you’ve been led to believe in the past.

Jim Ackerman, “Marketing Coach to the Jewelry Industry,” is president of Ascend Marketing. Reach him at [email protected].

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