Google reiterates suggested 33-character limit in ETA headlines to avoid truncation

Posted on: July 28, 2016 by in SEO
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As expanded text ads began rolling out, some advertisers noticed that the new, longer double headline is sometimes cut off. This can be frustrating and can have potential legal ramifications for businesses in highly regulated industries like pharmaceuticals. Here’s an example of a truncated ETA headline:

Google AdWords’ social team responded to the tweet above with a recommendation to keep the combined character count of the two headlines limited to a total of 33 characters to avoid having the second headline truncated.

On Wednesday, Google’s Cassie Hartt has followed up with clarification on this issue on the AdWords Community forum. As many pointed out in that initial Twitter thread, truncation is really about pixels rather than a specific character count. But since ads are based on characters, not pixels, to avoid headline truncation, Hartt reiterated the recommendation of 33 characters. From Hartt’s post:

Advertisers who must adhere to strict legal or regulatory ad requirements should consider creating headlines with 33 characters or less to ensure all of their ad text shows — even on the smallest devices. These advertisers should also take into consideration the size (and language) of these characters. For example, an ‘M’ takes up more space than an ‘i.’

So, if you’re including compliance-related information in your headlines, if the meaning of your headline changes when truncated, or if you just can’t stand seeing your work cut off, it’s probably best to stick with 33 characters.

Hartt added that if the Ad Preview tool shows the full headline, “it generally won’t truncate when served,” and the company still encourages most advertisers to take advantage of the full 60 characters allowed.

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