Google has recently started giving advertisers more options when it comes to creating their paid search ads, with new formats like responsive ads and adding a third headline to fit more content. With all these changes there have also been adjustments to the number of characters you can use in your ad headlines and descriptions so just how many characters can you actually fit in your ad headlines now? 

A Little History on Google Paid Search Ads

For the longest time, Google paid search ads character limits stood at 25-35-35. You could have one headline of 25 characters and two descriptions of 35 characters each. Then in July of 2016 Google made a big change with the limits becoming 30-30-80. This time around they added a second headline and combined the description into a single longer description. So, then you had 2 headlines of 30 characters each and one big description of 80 characters. Most recently, Google added a 3rd headline of 30 characters and a second description of 80 characters. As you can imagine this has enabled advertisers to fit a lot more content in a single ad. It has also allowed ads to take up more real estate on the search engine result pages. 

The Accuracy of the 30 Character Limit

The real question here though, is that 30-character limit per headline accurate? 

While 30 characters is the official count in the US, we started noticing something different happening and decided to test it out.

For one of our clients, we were using dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) to insert the phrases that potential consumers were actually searching for into one of the ad headlines. We tested this to create more relevant and appealing ads. If the query is too long you provide a fallback for Google to insert. In the below example if the query is too long the ad headline will default to saying “Buy Chocolate”.

Like I said, this still is supposed to limit you to 30 characters. We noticed, however, that some of our longer queries with more than 30 characters were still showing via keyword insertion. After speaking with our Google team, we learned that they can and will ignore that limit depending on what exactly the query is and the device the user is on.

Google Ads According to Google

According to Google “the front-end / official limit on headlines is 30 characters, as that’s a safe, functions in pretty much any circumstance sort of limit. On the backend, the character limit is a bit higher and is also checked against how many pixels wide is this text with different standards in place for desktop vs mobile – for the creative to be able to effectively serve.” 

Think of it this way, “QQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQ” takes up way more space than “iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” even though those are both 30 characters. So with DKI you can theoretically go over the 30-character limit.

While this currently only works for dynamic keyword insertion in specific situations – you cannot add more than 30 characters to your traditional Google ads – it leaves open the possibility of more customizations and dynamic length headlines in the future.

Are you interested in working with eAccountable for paid search? Check out some more about our process here and feel free to reach out for a free consultation!