When Google AdWords began allowing paid-search advertisers to place the headline and the first line of AdWords ads on the same line, Ben Kirshner, CEO at search engine marketing firm Elite SEM, saw a big increase in click-through rates.
"In some cases we're seeing two to three times higher click-through rates, especially on branded words, while others see a 10% to 20% increase," Kirshner says. "We saw 6%, and now we're seeing 18% on branded stuff."
The headline -- about 25 characters -- now adds 35 characters, stretching out the message. The format matches the look and feel of organic results, and the ad is better hyperlinked. The eye is drawn to the larger and longer title.
Kirshner says Elite began running the paid-search ads with longer titles last week, with immediate increased success. The paid-search ad looks similar to the organic listing, with the exception of the word "ad" to the right of the copy.
A punctuated sentence, such as a period at the end of a description, puts the first line on the same line as the headline. Breaking up the lines into two requires the marketer to omit the punctuation.
The increase in click-through rates happens because Google now offers in AdWords one longer headline, rather than separating the line into a shorter headline and a first description line. It may seem like a simple format change, but that change has yielded higher returns for Elite's clients, according to Kirshner.
Aside from running a SEM firm and teaching at New York University, Kirshner co-founded Coffeeforless.com. He relies on his SEO skills to support the online coffee distributor's online marketing efforts by using cohort analysis, as well as understanding attribution and consumer search patterns and daypart targeting.
Cohort analysis, a fancy name for determining the lifetime value of a customer, can help companies fashion budgets for paid-search campaigns. It enables a company to analyze customer behavior and worth and determine costs per acquisition goals.