Google tests ads without descriptions in mobile search engine results

Last week, PPC Hubbub noticed that Google has begun testing ads without descriptions in their mobile search engine results. Appearing in the bottom 3 positions of the first page (underneath organic search results), these ads are showing a headline and a URL, but no description. This is an interesting move, particularly considering the fact that Google recently extended the amount of text you can include in an advert’s description.

“In August, they announced that advertisers now had the option to add a second description to their ads, and each of these are up to 90 characters in length.” – QMAX Pumping Systems

Although this second description won’t always appear in the search results, the word count for an ad’s description will be doubled when this does get shown. For reference, ad headlines are limited to just 30 characters, and advertisers are now able to input up to 3 headlines per advert.
Sharing a screenshot of the ads on Twitter, PPC Hubbub theorised that this potential new format could be an incentive for advertisers to bid for the top 4 positions.

However, the team at PPC Hubbub aren’t the only users to see this test in action. One commenter on an article written by Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Roundtable says that he’s already seen up to 8 ads without descriptions being shown in the mobile search results.

The Bernie take: We’re interested to see if this apparent test will be rolled out more widely, and whether description-free adverts will become a permanent ad format for Google. As PPC Hubbub explains, this could be a way of reiterating the importance of having your advert in the top 4 positions, encouraging advertisers to bid more money for these placements. However, although detailed ad descriptions are helpful when searching for certain things (such as research on a particular topic), we can definitely see it working if someone is looking for local services; for example, plumbers, locksmiths, restaurants and hairdressing salons.
As people are more likely to search for the services you need instantly (such as a plumber) on a mobile device, this could explain why this test has only been seen across mobile, and not desktop search.

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