The format of AdWords ads
The ads we are talking about are the text only ads which appear at the top and to the side of the search results pages in Google.
They may also appear in other places, including on mobile phones and some of Google’s partner advertising networks. This is controlled by the options you select in your AdWords account.
Aside from the text only ads we’re talking about, AdWords also offers graphical ads. These are the banners, squares, leaderboards and other block ads seen on all manner of web pages. For now, let’s just stick with the basic text ads. The general principles for how to create and manage your AdWords account are similar for both.
The format for these text ads is somewhat rigid.
- A headline is required and you are limited to 25 characters in your headline. The headline itself will be displayed as a clickable hyperlink leading back to a page on your web site. (We’ll set exactly where in a moment.)
- Next is a URL to be displayed in your ad. This URL is limited to 35 characters. It does NOT need to be the same as where prospects are directed when they click on your ad. (This appears as the second line in your ad but is the fourth line in the ad building interface.)
- Then you get two lines of text, limited to 35 characters on each line. (These are the third and fourth lines of your ad even though they’re the second and third lines in the ad building interface.)
- Finally there is a destination URL. This is not displayed in your ad but is where users who click on your ad will be directed. The destination URL is limited to around 1,200 characters. Few, if any, advertisers will ever generate such long URLs.
The strict character limit (spaces and punctuation count as characters) requires your ads to be very concise. Making an effective ad may take time and experimentation.
Why two URLs? Google requires you to be up-front about where, in general, users will be directed if they were to click on your ad. Most advertisers just list the main page of their web site and this is perfectly fine. Some users will opt to type in your URL rather than click on your ad.
The more specific URL that is not seen is where users who click on your ad will be directed and is the key to effectively managing your ad campaigns. You can direct users to a very specific page that you set up. You can even have a different page for each ad.
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