- March 15, 2016
How can you make your search ads stand out from the pack? There are plenty of ways to help draw attention to your ads, but one of the best is to use ad extensions. They often help increase click-through-rate by offering additional relevant information and links for searchers.
Ad extensions are also important because they positively affect your ad rank. In his instructional video, Hal Varian of Google explains generally how ad rank is calculated. He says that your bid, expected click-through-rate, landing page experience, ad relevance, and ad formats are all taken into consideration. Ad extensions fall under the category of ad formats. Google places value on extensions because they give users “more information and more reason to click on an ad.” So let’s break down each extension with an overview of what they are and how they can add value to your ads.
Sitelink extensions allow you to show additional links beneath your ad that direct to other pages within your site.Your link text can be up to 25 characters, and you can also include two 35 character description lines beneath each one, just like an ad. Having several sitelinks, especially with description lines, can provide users with more links to directly get to the page they want, and helps your ads take up more space on the page.
Each of your sitelinks do need to have different link text and different final URLs. That means these wouldn’t be the best option if your goal is drive traffic to a single landing page. But if you have conversions that could be made on multiple pages, are running a more general campaign, or want more top-of-funnel users to easily be able to navigate to different pages, then sitelinks are quite useful.
Location extensions allow you to display your business address and store hours along with your ad copy. This is a link, so if users click on it, Google Maps opens for them to quickly get directions.This is great for mobile searches. The address is verified by linking AdWords with your Google My Business page, which you will be automatically prompted to do so upon attempting to add the extension. Location extensions aren’t super relevant for everyone, like online-only e-commerce sites. However, they are great for local brick and mortar businesses, including those who also offer online ordering or appointment booking. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, barber, or dentist these can be very beneficial!
Call extensions let you include a phone number in your ad so users can see it without even having to click through to your website. When the number is clicked on with a mobile phone, it allows users to call directly with just one tap of a finger. If you are in an industry where it’s common for customers to call, like for electricians, pizza restaurants, car dealerships, etc. these are a no brainer. If you primarily get phone leads and/or want more, then call extensions are for you.
If the number you enter into the extension matches the number on your site then you’re good to go. But if you’re using an alternate number, through a call tracking service for example, you’ll have to prove you own the domain. This can be done by linking AdWords to your Google Search Console account or by placing your unique AdWords conversion or remarketing tag in the website’s code.
App extensions create a link for users to download your mobile app. When you set up this extension, you have the option to specify whether your app is found in the Apple or Android marketplace. If it’s available in both you’ll need to add the app for each in the extension settings. You need to know your app’s package name, which is usually the inverse of your site’s domain name (com.example.mypackage for a package named “mypackage” created by example.com). If you’re trying to promote your app, or run your business mainly through an app, then I’d definitely recommend giving this extension a try.
Review extensions help you share your business’ positive reviews, rankings, and awards with potential customers. Reviews can appear beneath your ads as paraphrased or exact quotes, and show where that review came from. Any business that has positive reviews from reputable sources would benefit from review extensions.
The reviews need to be from credible third-party sources. For example, The Better Business Bureau is credible, while Yelp! is not. The reviews need to be recent (less than a year old) and when paraphrasing be careful not to edit them too much by adding extra descriptive words or exclamation points. You must also provide the URL from which the quote is taken.
Callout extensions allow you to include additional descriptive text lines in your ads. These are great for advertising benefits or services you offer like “Free Shipping,” “Lifetime Warranty,” or “We Deliver.” Three can show at once, and each one has a 25 character limit and cannot include any symbols or exclamation points. These are great for getting across those offerings that make you unique without having to fit them into your ad text, leaving you room there for other information and calls-to-action.
Structured snippet extensions allow you to list information about your products or services to provide more context about what you offer. Some of the categories for which you can list your offerings are Brand, Styles, Types, Service Catalog, Insurance Coverage, and more. Each item in your list is limited to 25 characters. Due to the variety of categories, just about any business can make use of structured snippets.
These may sound like they have a similar purpose to callout extensions, but Google differentiates them. They say to use callouts to “highlight what makes your business or products or services unique,” and to use structured snippets to “highlight a specific aspect of the products or services you offer”.
All of these extensions can be added to your AdWords account by navigating to the Ad Extensions tab, selecting the extension from the drop-down menu, and clicking the + Extension button. They can be added at the account, campaign, or ad group level. Every account is different; for example, one of my client accounts has campaigns for each of their physical locations, and the ad groups are focused around different product/service categories. So in this case, I use account level callout extensions because the general benefits I want to highlight are relevant across the account. I use campaign level call and location extensions since those are different for each physical business location. Finally, I use ad group level structured snippet extensions to list information specific to the products or services on which each ad group is focused.
I always include as many ad extensions as are relevant for my clients because they are a win-win. They help potential customers quickly get more information to better help them make a decision and/or take an action. They help advertisers because they catch the eye and improve perceived credibility (especially with review extensions), making your business a more attractive choice to people searching. Now go forth and try some out in your own campaigns!