When using Google Instant to search for some ‘ladies shoes’ and looking at each of the PPC ads, it appears that some of them have suspicious looking character limits. Trying other searches, I noticed a lot of other ads on Google doing the same. All of the ads found were within the 70 characters limit but the 35-35 split was no longer in place.
For many searches there were ads with over 40 characters in the first description line and then the second description line would be shorter. The screen shot below shows my search for ‘ladies shoes’. The three ads that have more than 35 characters in the first description line are highlighted:
This could be highly significant for those writing PPC ads, as it reduces the limitations currently set. It also makes the first description line of the ads a lot more prominent. With more room to put the best message/offer in that line, it could be a competitive tactic from advertisers. Although it does change how some people traditionally write their ads with an offer in the first line and a call to action in the second line, for example. Some advertisers also use repetition as much as Google will allow, ensuring the keyword is seen on all lines of the ad, this could also change that idea.
The change in the character split does not appear to happen on ads not shown with Google Instant where the ads appear to have the normal character limits. The PPC ads below for the search term ‘pizza’ show the difference searching without Google Instant and then with. For the Domino’s ads, they may prefer the ad to be appearing with the full bottom line “Hurry, offer ends Sunday” rather than the “hurry” part now appearing on the first line.
Having spoken to a Google representative they were not aware of this being allowed, and when I tried to add an advert with a longer first description line, my ad was unable to post. So I am presuming this was not a deliberate change with Google Instant rather than a new feature. But it would certainly be interesting to see this change in the future!