We’re all fighting the good fight (the AdWord fight, that is) on a very cramped battlefield.

25 characters for the headline.
70 characters of ad copy.
35 characters for the Display URL.

And that’s pretty much it. Like Twitter, the AdWord title presents the ultimate communication challenge: squeeze your winning and carefully developed marketing strategy into a measly 25 characters.

OK, there are plenty of tricks to the trade from starting with what the customer wants, creating a pared down narrative to personalise the ad, specifying prices and percentage guarantees, including ASCII characters and calls to action – the list goes on.

But what if there was someone who could do it all for you? A grinning little man, perhaps, with hearts for eyes and a flexible range of complexions. If you’re looking to say it with a smile, emojis do seem to offer an efficient and eye-catching character economy. These icons have risen to ubiquity in public as well as private digital communication, and are now indispensable features of tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram captions, emails and texts.

But their use hasn’t stopped there. The SEO community has been spotting emojis in Adwords here and there for some time now, but in most instances, the small images (particularly the lightning bolt emoji) had slipped through loopholes in Google’s character checks. Most of the time, emojis in AdWords were disabled by Google, and it was unlikely that anyone who managed to get their foot in the door was going to have it there for long.

However, new evidence suggests that emojis in AdWord titles may be here to stay.

Most agree that it all started with a little red car. It was a cheery scarlet vehicle that set eyeballs swivelling when it cropped up on Google.de for the query ‘autohauz mainz’.

There’s a possibility that these sightings are the consequence of further loopholes opening up, but the spree of chickens, stars and tiny body parts that followed in quick succession are more likely to suggest a noteworthy change in Google’s stance on AdWord character content, particularly in light of their recent decision to allow emojis in organic search listings again.

So will emojis emove things along for us all?

Let’s say for the moment that Google’s new policy on emojis will be rolled out beyond small-scale test cases and the new world order will see advertisers copying and pasting emojis into the ad text creation field with unprecedented ease.

Being a relatively new phenomenon, the AdWord/emoji opportunity presents unchartered territory for most advertisers. But whether you feel personally fond of the animated cow pat or not, it’s no secret that emojis deliver instant CTR improvement, and there are some considerable prizes for the taking. Widely acknowledged to serve as a light-hearted, universal language, emojis engage and connect with audiences across the globe, nimbly clearing language barriers wherever your target demographic lies. And one particular advertiser recently found that AdWords featuring emojis received four times the number of clicks as its non-emoji counterparts.

It would be a wise move to wait for official confirmation of a change in Google’s guidelines, however. Until then, emojis in AdWords are not strictly sanctioned. And as long as they’re against Google’s policies, there’s always the chance that a competitor could spot your contraband emoji and report you. But now that we know for sure that emojis have been released in SEO listings, it’d make sense for an announcement regarding AdWord regulations to follow hot on its heels.

So don your thinking hat and head to your nearest emoji bank. The future’s bright, colourful and littered with animated cats.

 

By Rupert Coltman, paid media analyst at Found


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