Why you shouldn’t rely on ‘Headline 3’ in Google Ads

You've done it. Your ad copy is nothing short of amazing and your call to action is genius. The only problem is that you've used 'headline 3' to feature your call to action. Uh oh.

If you're using search ads, beware: headline 3 in Google Ads won't always be shown when your ad is displayed.

Leads the way of...

Mothercare PPC ad example

Here's an example of what can happen when headline 3 doesn't display. As you can see, we're left hanging: "leads the way of...?

Of what? It seems like we're only seeing half of the sentence. The other half may be included in headline 3, which doesn't appear to be showing.

Would this stop me - & millions of other people - from clicking on this ad? I doubt it. But, the point that I'm trying to make here is that, if you own or are working on a lesser known brand, or if you have your most important information included in headline 3, your ad performance could suffer. & if you rely heavily on the 3rd headline across all of your ads, you could find yourself missing out on a lot of traffic.


There's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't use headline 3 in Google Ads. You just need to use it wisely. Make sure that all of your most important information is included in headlines 1 & 2. These are guaranteed to display (well, they are at the time that this article is being published). Consider adding extra benefits or details in headline 3. If it displays, you win because your audience gets to see even more reasons why your product / service is so great. If it doesn't display, there's no need to stress because the biggest benefits / issues solved by your products or services are safely featured in the first 2 headlines.

In the example that I used earlier in the post, I noted that Xero might have been trying to combine headlines 2 & 3 to make room for a longer sentence. When this approach works, it can have a really positive impact on performance. However, before you go down this route, you should always ask yourself: "what if headline 3 doesn't display? Will my ad lose its meaning / relevance / sense of urgency?"

If you decide to go with the above strategy or you really want to feature key details in headline 3, keep an open mind. Make sure that, within your ad set, you've included some variations on your original ad - ones which don't rely quite so heavily on the 3rd headline. This makes it easy to compare results & make changes - if necessary - before your budget has been used up.


Headline 3 can easily be found when using Google Ads' extended text ads (see my screenshot, shown to the right). You'll also see 'description 2', which generously gives you another 90 characters of description text to wow your audience with.

It's important to be aware of the fact that, like headline 3, description 2 won't always display. Be sure to put your most important information in description 1.

Headline 3 description 2 Google Ads

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