This week, the british PPC specialists at Black Hat PPC published a find of an AdWords ad with a third description line. This was probably the first time that U.S. and international advertisers have seen this type of experiment, but it has actually been going on for some time now – and there’s more.

Over here in Germany, we regularly evaluate the results for a couple hundred search terms on Google. We do this to analyze the share of certain ad formats like extended headlines, but we also stumble upon new ad formats from time to time. In March 2011, we found this one:

ad-with-meta-description

Yes, it’s in German, but don’t worry. As you can see, the ad had an additional description line. This line came from the landing page’s meta description. Up to this week, I’ve only seen one other case like this, which was found be another German Agency. You can see their screenshot at http://www.adwordsservice.de/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/sem-seo-mix_adwords.gif (this is also from March 2011).

However, meta descriptions are not the only thing that Google has been pulling from landing pages to include in ads.

This is what I’m talking about:

ad-with-page-title-1

What’s remarkable here is that this ad’s headline is 73 characters long. The description hasn’t been touched (it’s the same description that shopping.com uses for most ads in Germany). So where do these 73 characters come from? It seems the headline is extracted from the landing page‘s title, which reads as follows:

Anlage Wandmontage Silber Kenwood günstig online kaufen im Preisvergleich bei Shopping.com. Stereoanlagen | Audio für Zuhause | Elektronik | 5. Juli 2011

This ad was found in early July, but we came across a similar case in March:

ad-with-page-title-2

Again, the headline had been extended with text from the landing page‘s title, bringing it up to 82 characters.

It is my impression that this type of experiment is very, very rare, but has been going on for some time now. Germany wasn’t the only market where this has been tested: DuracellTomi wrote about extended headlines last month on his Hungarian AdWords blog .

It seems that Google has been doing those experiments mainly outside the English / U.S. markets. I’m not sure about that, but looking at the number of experiments reported on sites like searchengineland.com, I doubt that these would’ve been missed. Could Google be trying to keep this quiet? After all, changing the content of their client’s ads isn’t exactly a nice thing to do…

Still, there could be big money in this for Google. If ads look more like organic search results (which could be accomplished by adding text) they probably achieve much higher CTR’s – making more money for Google.

This post was originally intended to be published on the Bloofusion U.S. blog. Due to technical difficulties, has been parked here.