Google AdWords Allows 30 Characters in Ad Titles Using Dynamic Keyword Insertion

EDIT – I just recounted the characters and it is indeed 30 characters instead of the 31 I initially claimed. However, it’s still 5 more characters than Google will admit to allowing!

This is another follow up of my original post “How to Exceed the 25-Character Limit for Titles in Google AdWords” and the first follow up post “UPDATE: Google Responds to My Inquiry About AdWords Ads with Titles Longer Than the 25-Character Limit.”  After emailing the official AdWords support team and providing them with the screenshot below clearly showing four examples of ads with 30-character titles for a single search query, they are still playing dumb and not providing any reasonable answers.

Here’s their most recent response:

Thank you for reporting an ad that possibly violates one of our policies. Please know that ads in our program are reviewed per our advertising guidelines. While we make every effort to ensure that ads which may violate our policies do not run prior to review, it’s possible that some ads run on Google before our AdWords Specialists check them.

We assure you that we are working diligently to apply the same criteria to all of our ads. We will investigate this matter and, will take the appropriate action.

Thank you for informing us of your concern, and we appreciate your understanding.

This has nothing to do with “ads possibly violating one of the AdWords policies”, but rather Google violating its own strict guidelines of a maximum of 25-character titles. The official Google AdWords Help site (http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=6095) specifically states that a maximum of 25 characters are allowed for Ad Titles:

Ads can contain, including spaces, 25 characters for the title, 70 characters for the ad text, and 35 characters for a display URL.

Another page on the official Google AdWords Help site about using dynamic keyword insertion (http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=74996) specifically states that if the keyword searched would cause a title longer than 25 characters, the default text would be used:

“In the following example of an incorrect use of the default text, the keyword motorola silver razor could cause a title longer than 25 characters, so the default text is used instead.”

Simply put, this is no longer true, regardless of whether Google will admit it or not.  Google will display AdWords ads with dynamic keyword insertion titles longer than 25 characters and up to 30 characters.  I  have absolutely no problem with the fact that Google is displaying ads with longer titles to match the keywords queried to boost relevancy for the searcher, advertiser and Google, but I definitely have a problem with Google not being completely transparent about these practices.

Here are my questions I would like Google to answer for me:

1. Can you confirm that Google is displaying AdWords ads with titles longer than 25 characters? If so, why is this the case? When are you going to change your official guidelines?

2. How long has Google been displaying ad titles longer than 25 characters?

3. What is the criteria for displaying these longer ad titles? It obviously applies to Dynamic Keyword Insertion and bidding on the exact keywords, but I’ve noticed some of my competitors’ ads titles matching the exact keywords I am bidding on while my ad title reverts to the default. What gives?

Update: Transparent Background PNGs in IE6

This is an update to a previous post I made about Transparent PNGs in IE6. I finally tried out the “IEPNGFIX v2.0” which was supposed to be the only solution I’ve found to support transparent background PNGs and tiling background PNGs in IE6. The other PNG fixes worked just fine for non-background images, but I am happy to report that the IEPNGFIX v2.0 works like a charm! It’s still in Alpha mode but it appears to work just fine with a background PNG image on one of my client’s websites. Woohoo!

Suckerfish, Sons of Suckerfish, Sons of Ursidae and IE6

One of the biggest pains of developing for the web is the necessity of having to make sure all of your sites work in Internet Explorer 6, which came out in 2001 and yet is still used by 20% of users (October 2008). IE6 sucks at handling CSS floats and positioning. Most of the issues are resolved by using a Global Reset Stylesheet but I still find myself occasionally running into new problems for IE6, like with the Suckerfish CSS dropdown menu first created in 2003 at http://www.alistapart.com/articles/dropdowns.

Then came Sons of Suckerfish which still didn’t do the job until I came across Sons of Ursidae (http://css-class.com/articles/ursidae/) which has done the job, at least for now.

Gotta run, this post was more of a mental note to myself, sorry!

Transparent PNGs in IE6

For some unknown reason, a significant amount of people still use Internet Explorer 6 as their browser of choice. Since that’s the case, web developers such as myself have to continue to test our websites in IE6 to make sure they work as desired. The majority of the problems in IE6 caused by CSS can be resolved by using a Global Reset Stylesheet and by building in valid, clean code. However, problems still remain, such as IE6’s inability to support alpha-channel transparency for PNG image files.

There are a number of options for getting PNG transparency to work in IE6:

pngfix.js (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/bobosola/pnghowto.htm) – This is the first “hack” I came across a year or so ago and it’s been the one that I continue to use. It’s a simple JavaScript file that seems to do the job for most regular transparent PNG files in IE6. The biggest downfall I’ve had with it is that it does not support the background-repeat property for tiled backgrounds. Also, on the author’s homepage, he explains how the script hasn’t been updated since 2004 so he suggested to try out the SuperSleight filter.

SuperSleight (http://24ways.org/2007/supersleight-transparent-png-in-ie6) – I’ve also used this before but it’s a bit awkward and clunky since it uses a proprietary filter called AlphaImageLoader. It might be worth looking into if you’re looking for something that has been updated more recently than 2004, but it still does not support the background-repeat property, which is the only reason I would not use the initial pngfix.js.

IE PNG Fix (http://www.twinhelix.com/css/iepngfix/) – This one uses CSS behaviors, which is a custom Microsoft extension to CSS. It apparently also uses the AlphaImageLoader filter that SuperSleight uses. Most importantly, the IEPNGFix v2.0 Alpha version found on the test site apparently now supports the background-repeat property. If that’s the case, then I have found a new PNG fix! I haven’t used it yet but once I do, I’ll update the blog with my observations.

Until Microsoft requires users to update their browsers from IE6, we will always be presented with the problem of PNG transparency. Hopefully, the options above will help!