Beginning February 3, 2011, Google is making a significant change in the ads that appear above the search results by giving them a longer headline.

In the past, only the headline was bold blue. Now, both the headline and the first line of the ad will be in bold blue, which more than doubles the length of the headline. A hyphen will be automatically inserted between the headline text and the first line of the ad.

Here are two example images Google posted on their Adwords blog.

Why is Google making this change? In their own words:

We’ve found that the change results in higher clickthrough rates for ads that are shown with the longer headline, as well as other top ads that appear beside them. It also creates a better experience for users by highlighting more information in the ad.

Clearly, this change could have broad implications for you how structure your ads.


  • Aim for continuity between the title and first line of text since they could be displayed side by side.
  • Use the first line of your ad to make a complete statement and/or express a complete thought. (Don’t split a sentence between the first and second lines.)
  • Make sure your first line ends with proper punctuation – a period/full stop, question mark, or exclamation point.

With this change, it will be critical to test new PPC ads over the next weeks and months. Because if you don’t, your competitors will!

Better to capitalize on the new ad structure now, gain a competitive edge, and keep it for as long as you can.

ryan-healy About the Author: Ryan Healy is a direct response copywriter and BoostCTR writer. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Alex Mandossian, Terry Dean, and Pulte Homes. Get a free 39-point copywriting check list when you visit his business growth blog.