Google recently announced that they are going the change the appearance of display URLs in AdWords ads. That change has taken effect.
Google made the announcement in their Inside AdWords blog in a post entitled, Change in appearance in search ad display URLs on January 10, 2011. The change is rather simple. Capitalized words will no longer be allowed in the domain name in the display URL used with an AdWords ad.
The change is automated, so AdWords account owners and managers do not have to change anything in their current accounts. The change affects the domain name and subdomains in the display URL, but does not affect directory names or web page file names.
Google states that their testing found that they were able to improve user metrics, including click-through-rates (CTRs), by eliminating capitalized words.
There are two URLs used in an AdWords ad. The display URL is the URL that displays in the ad. The destination URL is the actual URL of the landing page. The display URL is not always the same as the destination URL. The most common form of the display URL is to simply use the URL of the site’s home page.
Smart marketers have always capitalized the words in the domain name used in display URLs. Many studies have shown that capitalization visually segments the words in a domain name, which makes it easier to read and easier to remember. For example, www.TopRankSolutions.com is easier to read and remember than www.topranksolutions.com.
So why the change? For the past several years we have noticed that sales for e-commerce sites almost always increase with the use of AdWords advertising. That part should be expected. However, sales are frequently much higher than what we can account for though the conversion tracking feature in AdWords. This would logically mean that AdWords is driving more business than what AdWords is reporting.
Our speculation has been that a growing number of users are adverse to clicking on ads. They may actually be entering URLs manually and going direct to sites, rather than via AdWords advertising. This is easier to do when words in domains are capitalized, which–once again-makes them easier to read and more memorable.
When capitalization is removed from the domain name portion of display URL, users may be more prone to simply clicking on the ad, rather than trying to dissect and enter the site’s URL. The result of this would be a higher click-through-rate. It would also result in higher costs for AdWords advertisers.