Google tests favicons in text ads

Google has confirmed a small experiment that might help users more easily identify an advertiser — by including their favicon in the URL.

Chat with SearchBot

Google has confirmed that the company is running a small experiment that adds favicons beside the URL in text ads.

Darcy Burk, founder and CEO, Burk Digital Factory, wondered if what he was seeing was new. Here’s the screenshot he shared on Twitter of what he spotted on a Google search results page.

A screenshot of an Uber Eats Google Ad with favicon.
Screenshot of Uber Eats Google Ad with favicon.

At first glance, it looks like a pizza emoji. Even though emojis are listed as “invalided or unsupported characters,” according to Google’s Advertising policy help doc, they have been spotted numerous times in ad URLs in recent years.

How did Uber Eats, an online food ordering and delivery platform, manage to get that pizza emoji in its Google Ad? Especially considering that the ad directly below has a generic favicon?

Well, now we know. Because Burk received a reply from Ginny Marvin, Google’s ads product liaison. And it isn’t an emoji — it’s a favicon.

Marvin confirmed what Burk tweeted about is part of a small, ongoing test for advertisers. According to Marvin:

“This is part of a series of small experiments to help users more easily identify the brand or advertiser associated with the Search ads they may see for a given query.”


Why we care. As Marvin noted, this is an interesting use of a visual element to catch the eye of searchers. This is one to watch to see if it becomes available to more, or even all, Google Ads advertisers in the future.

About the author

Danny Goodwin
Danny Goodwin has been Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & Search Marketing Expo - SMX since 2022. He joined Search Engine Land in 2022 as Senior Editor. In addition to reporting on the latest search marketing news, he manages Search Engine Land’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) program. He also helps program U.S. SMX events.

Goodwin has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in search and digital marketing since 2007. He previously was Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal (from 2017 to 2022), managing editor of Momentology (from 2014-2016) and editor of Search Engine Watch (from 2007 to 2014). He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

Get the must-read newsletter for search marketers.