Ads in the top 3 which are not eligible to pull part of description line 1 up next to the ad headline, are now pulling the domain of the display URL next to the headline.
In fact, some ads are even having all 3 elements in the headline: headline, portion of description line 1 that ends in punctuation and the display URL where the sum of characters of all 3 is less than 68, e.g.:
You will see that the description line 1 is separated from the headline by a horizontal dash, whilst the URL is separated by a vertical line.
What does this mean?
This will mean that all ads will display in some form of extended format, thereby lessening the effect of the longer headline which includes the description line 1 (which almost requires a conscious decision by advertisers to include some punctuation in the first line if they do want the line pulled up or not including a short sentence in the first line if they do not want that format).
The longer headlines stand out much less versus organic search results.
The URL in the headline is supposed to make it clearer to the user which site the ad goes through to – to increase confidence and awareness of the advertiser. It could also be used for strong branding. However, it could also drive users to go directly to the URL in the address bar rather than clicking on the ad – although this would lessen Google’s profit and it is unlikely Google would release a change that lessens their Adwords income.
One advantage of this though could be eliminating the need to have your brand name in the headline if you know it will be pulled in the display URL as you are usually a top 3 ad on a generic term e.g.:
In the above example, Thomson’s ad is gratuitous now with the brand appearing twice in the headline – this is quite offputting. They could, in fact, have a more eye-catching or promotion-led headline as their brand now appears alongside the headline in the URL. Sunmaster have taken this approach, with a non brand-name headline as the display URL fulfills the need for mentioning the brand in the first line. By looking at the release in this way, advertisers can now look to be more imaginative with headlines in creative.