So you use Google Adwords to promote your business. That’s great.
If you also take advantage of all the free ways to expand your ads so they take up more space in the search results, draw searchers’ attention better, and compel customers to click at higher rates (without you paying any more), you’re amazing!
If you don’t yet take advantage of all those ways to expand your ads and get more clicks, we’d like to introduce you to them: meet Ad Extensions.
Ad Extensions are set up right in the Adwords interface, and they let you add more information, sitelinks, click-to-call numbers, ratings, product details… and more. Let’s show you how to get your Ad Extensions. Then we’ll go into each extension one by one, and tell you what it’s good for and when you’d want to use it.
How to Set Up Ad Extensions
Go into your Google Adwords account. When looking at your Campaigns, click the Ad Extensions tab (it’s toward the right-hand side).
From that dropdown menu, you can choose an Ad Extension type to add, manage or see data for.
Once you’ve clicked on an extension, here’s how to add a new one of that type:
You can add an extension so that it will appear for your entire account, or for a single campaign, or just within one ad group. Balance the benefits of specificity with the amount of time you have available to write and manage multiple extensions. (If you have an extension of one type set up on the account level, and then another extension of that type set up for an ad group, the more specific extension (in this example, the one for the ad group) will override the general extension (the one on the account level).
One important thing to keep in mind when adding extensions is that there is never a guarantee that Google will show your extension along with your ad. Whether to show your extension (and sometimes, how many elements of your extension to show) is one of those Google-algorithm decisions based on position, bid, Quality Score and how well your extension has performed in the past. (Remember – Google WANTS people to click on your ad. That’s how Google makes its money. So it will do its best to display your ad – and the other competing ads – in a way that inspires clicks on *some* ad.)
Okay, that’s how to add Ad Extensions. Now, which Ad Extensions are going to help you the most?
Callouts let you add a few bullet points highlighting features of your product or service – or whatever you’re advertising.
Here’s an example:
Adwords lets you add up to four callouts, and they’ll display from two to four of them (assuming they are displaying callouts for that ad, which isn’t guaranteed – see above.)
Sitelinks let you feature certain pages of your site aside from just your target URL. By using sitelinks, you can draw people’s attention to different offerings or areas of your site – and draw more clicks from people who find your sitelink more relevant-sounding than your main target URL.
You can add up to 10 sitelinks, and Google will display up to 4 on mobile and up to 6 on desktop (at their discretion).
Sitelinks and callouts can work together. Here’s an example of where they both appear in the same ad:
Structured Snippet Extensions
While callouts let you choose what aspects of your product or service you want to highlight, structured snippets let you highlight aspects of your business that fall into predefined categories.
Here’s the list of category headers that you can choose for your structured snippets:
- Degree programs
- Featured hotels
- Insurance coverage
- Product type
- Service catalog
Obviously, not every header will be relevant for every niche – but most businesses will be able to find at least one that’s relevant.
Long ago, there was a debate among PPC advertisers as to whether you should include your phone number in your ad. One side said you should, because you could get direct, hot leads – no losing people through lead generation forms. Additionally, if searchers called your number instead of clicking, you wouldn’t have to pay. The other side said that you were shooting yourself in the foot by avoiding clicks. For every call instead of a click, your CTR would go down, your Quality Score would plummet – and there would go your chances of having your ad show up in the future. Moreover, they said, you couldn’t track direct calls – and you’d have no way of knowing if your ads were working unless you set up a dedicated number to show only on Adwords.
That was long ago.
Today, you can have your phone calls and your CTR, too. Adwords call extensions add a clickable phone number to your ad. On mobile devices, your number becomes a Click-to-Call button (even more enticing). You do have to pay for clicks on your phone number, of course, but all clicks boost your CTR and Quality Score – ultimately improving your results and lowering your CPC.
You’re not always available on the phone? Not a problem. When you’re setting up the extension, you can specify at what hours it should show.
PLUS – Adwords now enables you to track all the calls in the Adwords reporting interface and see how they’re contributing to your business… for free. If you use call extensions, make sure to do this! Here’s how to set up call tracking:
If your potential client base prefers texts to phone calls, message extensions are for you. Your message extension includes a call-to-action where you tell the searcher why they should message you, and an icon that will open their messaging app when they tap it. The messaging app will be pre-filled with a message you provide. If you’re a pizza place, for example, your pre-filled message might say: “How soon can you have the following order ready:”
Like call extensions, you can (and should) schedule your message extensions to show when you have people available to answer them promptly (or have an autoresponder set up to send an interim response).
Currently Adwords reports message conversions as call conversions – so make sure you have phone call conversion tracking set up (see above).
If you’re a local business trying to draw foot traffic, location extensions are a step in the right direction. (Okay, fine, pun intended.)
Location extensions add your address to your ad. The address is clickable and it brings up a map for you to get directions.
In order to get a location extension, your Adwords account must be linked to a Google My Business account.
Affiliate Location Extensions
Location extensions are for businesses with a storefront. If you’re a manufacturer with no storefront of your own, because you sell products through other stores, affiliate location extensions are for you.
When you set up affiliate location extensions, you tell Adwords which chains your products are available in, and in which locations. Adwords does the rest.
Price extensions show the searcher a carousel-style menu below your text ad with up to 8 products or services with descriptions and prices for each. The searcher can scroll through the carousel, and then click an item to go directly to the corresponding sale page on your website.
As of November 2016, price extensions show ONLY on mobile devices.
If the goal of your ad is to create more awareness and installs for your mobile app, try app extensions. App extensions add an install button below your text ad, that takes the searcher directly to your app page in Google Play or the Apple App Store – or starts a download. If the searcher clicks on the headline in your ad (instead of the button), they’ll still go to your website.
App extensions detect which device a searcher is using, and if you’ve set up links to both app stores, Adwords will automatically display the appropriate button.
If your business has gotten a great review in an online publication, review extensions are the way to showcase that. You can either quote the review exactly or you can paraphrase it.
How does Google know you’re not just making stuff up? You need to link to the actual source with the review.
Sometimes Google will surprise you and tack on an extension to your ad without you having asked. If you don’t like what’s showing up, or don’t want to be surprised, you can opt out of automatic extensions by following these instructions from Google.
Usually it’s beneficial to you to have them there, though. Automated extensions include automated versions of the above extensions: sitelinks (usually taken from your menu), call extensions (taken from the phone number on your site) and structured snippets. However, they also include information that’s not available in regular extensions, such as consumer and seller ratings, and the number of previous visits of the searcher to your site. Ratings information is taken from independent ratings sites combined with consumer surveys and external business evaluations run by Google itself.
If someone clicks on the word “rating”, they see this expanded evaluation of your business (although you don’t get charged for that click, because they didn’t go to your site or otherwise connect with your business):
Here’s where you can see which automated extensions Google is showing for your ad, and what the results are for clicks and CTR:
If you made it all the way to the end of this guide, you now know more about ad extensions than 90% (and likely more) of businesses out there. Put that knowledge to work – and go create some winning ad extensions!