Your Complete Guide to AdWords Ad Extensions
While many advertisers spend countless hours optimizing the text of their ads (which is a perfectly logical and beneficial practice), the latest numbers to come in suggest that the use of ad extensions are what can significantly boost your CTR. Also, with the most updated changes to ad rank, extensions have now become a pivotal part of getting your ads noticed.
Adwords ad extensions vary in purpose and use, and not all of them may work for your ad or target group. There are a lot of factors at play, such as when in the buy cycle are the people you’re targeting, where are they seeing this ad, and so on and so forth. So it’s important to know what types of ad extensions you have at your disposal, so that you can determine which ones are best for your specific campaigns.
There are a lot of extensions, and more coming through the pipe (currently in beta). Extensions include an image, review, phone number to call directly, previous visit, social annotations, location, seller ratings, and sitelinks. Studies show that the use of more than one extension outperforms ads that only have one extension, thus your job as an online advertiser is to determine which extensions work best for your business and target market.
Yet while you have the power to enable your extensions on your end, keep in mind that these extensions will likely not appear every single time that your ad appears. For example, if your ad appears on the side of the page for a Google search, then sitelinks and reviews will not show, whereas in the bottom of the page, you’ll only miss out on review extensions. If, however, your ad appears on the top of the search results page, every single extension currently available can appear.
Search partners are a little different (when users search with a partnering site other than Google). Generally you’ll notice that each position on the page has some restrictions, which the side of the page only allowing for seller ratings and social, while the top and bottom of the page allow for seller ratings, sitelinks and social.
Regardless of the search engine used, it’s evident, then, that the location of your ad on the page has a direct impact on which extensions appear. Chances are you might discover that one of the ad extensions works marvelously for a specific campaign. As such, you really want to monitor your ad’s average position so you can be certain that your desired extension is getting viewed as much as possible.
The Cost Of Extensions
Generally speaking, clicks on your extensions get charged the same price as a click on your ad. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Phone calls from a forwarding number on call extensions that appear on desktops and tablets are free; links to reviews from seller ratings are free; clicks to the review site on your review extensions are free; and when users click a +1 Google Plus button, or a link to your Google Plus page, that also is free.
Control Over Your Extensions
The most control you have, in theory, over your extensions is to enable them. You have little power over prioritizing which extensions you prefer to have shown. Google incorporates a lot of algorithms and data to come up with the best possible scenario for its advertisers. The extensions that are displayed are based on your previous performance, user context and space on the page that’s available.
But while implementing your extensions is just about all you have to do on your end, you also need to keep your eyes on your ads. Assess each ad’s performance to make sure that your extensions are actually helping your specific campaign. Be sure to take a snapshot of your ad before extensions are implemented, and afterwards, to gain a true understanding of the extensions’ impact.
Optimizing Your Adwords Ad Extensions
Below is a breakdown of how you can use and optimize each of the currently available ad extensions.
You should use this extension if you have a physical location where customers can actually come to. You can set these up at the account level if you’re using upgraded location extensions. This gives you the choice of setting up filters to that your extension doesn’t appear where and when you don’t want it to. Upgraded location extensions allow you to dictate if this extension should be shown on mobile devices, desktops, or both.
If you take phone calls at your business, this extension is beneficial. This past fall, Google announced that advertisers can now count conversions from calls. Now it’s your turn to decide if a direct phone call is as (or more) valuable than a web click. The most logical time for this extension is during a mobile search, when your target market has a phone directly in their hands. You can use target CPA and eCPC bidding options with your call extensions, which automate your bidding based on device, browsers, location, and time of day, so that you can enjoy the highest ROI.
If you have a product that is attractive to look at, enhance your ad with an image. If you’re interested in using this, request access to this extension through your account team. But in order for your image to appear, you have to be in the top spot, which means you really should only enable this extension for ads where it’s logical that you’d be number one. You also have to remember that image extensions eat up space, thus using them alongside other extensions may not be the best practice.
If your business has a fair number of positive reviews under its belt, why not make that be known with review extensions? Google claims this to be likely the fastest extension to put into place, as one review can be enabled for your entire account. In order to optimize for this extension, remember to alter your ad text so that it doesn’t repeat something being stated in the review.
Extensions That Show Automatically
Some extensions will automatically show if you qualify for them. Google will often times refer to these extensions as annotations. These include:
Different from reviews, as seller ratings reflect your company as a whole, not just a specific product. If you accrue 30 ratings within a 12-month-span, from Google Shopping, Google Trusted Stores, or a host of review sites listed here, then your seller ratings will appear on your ad. However, rest assured that if your rating is below 3.5 stars (collectively), then your ratings won’t appear.
If you’re active on Google Plus, then it’s best to get that incorporated into your ad. This will happen, automatically, if you connect your Google Plus account to your website, match your ads’ display URLs to your website URL on your Google Plus page, and if you have 100+ followers. You will need to make sure that you have a Google Plus account and that you have set up a page for your business.
Previous Visit Annotations
As of December, 2013, logged in users of google.com will see whether they visited your site before, even if that click came through an ad (and not through an organic result click). This requires you to have your search results or text ads to share the same URL as your ad’s display URL. You’ll need one click from an organic search result for at least two clicks from your search ads for this to kick into place.
What About Sitelinks?
We’ve actually talked at length about sitelinks, and how to create better PPC ads with them. Sitelinks require more work and understanding to optimize than other extensions, thus we recommend you read our sitelink specific post to learn how best to use this extension.
This guide is designed to help you understand extensions, where they appear, and how best to optimize for each one. Yet there’s still so much left to uncover. Running reports on your extensions, monitoring your ads for performance, and making changes to improve CTR, require the constant vigilance of you and your staff in order for you to take advantage of the positive outcomes that others are enjoying with extensions. OperationROI can help. Call us at 1-888-277-5429 or fill out our contact form to learn how we can help you with your ad extensions.