While advertisers have not been able to use emojis in AdWords ads for some time now, it seems there is another eyecatching way an advertiser can play with the look of their ads – this time by using strikethrough text.
Here is how it appears in the search results. First, as it appears in the title of an AdWords ad:
And here is how it appears within the ad copy description:
This isn’t done using a true strikethrough, such as what would be displayed if it was using <strike> or the CSS text-decoration:line-through. Instead, it uses unicode to display unicode characters as if they were regular characters with a strikethrough. This is why the “m”, for example, looks a little off and not with a line completely through it.
Which brings up the question, is this allowed? It depends on how you interpret the AdWords policies. From the policies (emphasis mine):
In order to provide a quality user experience, Google requires that all promotions meet high professional and editorial standards. We only allow promotions that are clear, professional in appearance, and that lead users to content that is relevant, useful, and easy to interact with.
Examples of promotions that don’t meet these editorial and professional requirements:
- overly generic ads that contain vague phrases such as “Buy products here”
- gimmicky use of words, numbers, letters, punctuation, or symbols such as FREE, f-r-e-e, and F₹€€!!
It could definitely be considered gimmicky, but on the other hand, some might just see it as creative use of text.
For those wanting to try it, there are many unicode generators for strikethrough text. That said, it could be a grey area on whether it is allowed or not, but clearly, these ads did make it through the approval process. That said, it did also get this ad through approvals, with “car sales” as a single word.
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