Since their first introduction into the Google Adwords playbook years ago, ad extensions have been a crucial component of any successful paid search campaign. Over the years, Google has expanded and tested its way to a fairly robust offering of extensions designed to provide additional value to users by allowing advertisers a number of different ways to showcase their business.
On October 23rd, Google announced an update to their Ad Rank calculation, including a variable for “the expected impact from your ad extensions and formats.” Historically, Ad Rank has been calculated using your max CPC bid and Quality Score, so the acknowledgement of a third component comes as significant news. Because the Adwords playing field changes so quickly, and often-times without much warning, it’s important to stay up-to-date on all of the ad extension offerings available.
Sitelinks are the most popular ad extension and for good reason. Sitelinks allow advertisers to place up to 6 additional hyperlinks just below their regular ad, enabling a user to take a deeper, more specific dive into your website directly from the ad. By offering similar, relevant page alternatives you can eliminate the possibility of a user getting lost in your site’s navigation by taking him/her directly where they would like to go.
While ease of navigation for the user is great, we typically see sitelink click rates are actually quite low. The biggest benefit of sitelinks to an advertiser is the big increase in ad real estate, which typically leads to a greatly improved click-through-rate for the ad headline.
2. Call Extensions
Call extensions allow advertisers to place their phone number in an ad so that a user can place a call directly from the SERP. When a user is searching on a computer the phone number will show as text but on a mobile device users will be able to click-to-call.
To better understand the value provided by call extensions, a Google forwarding number can be used to track calls placed through the ad. When using this feature, we recommend setting a minimum call conversion duration of at least 60 seconds to eliminate any wrong number calls or other non-leads from your reporting.
3. Location Extensions
For a local business, where your proximity to a user matters, location extensions are a must. If your ad shows to a user within close proximity to your business, your ad will include the address. If you have multiple locations, Google will do its best to show the closest location.
Location extensions can be managed by manually inputting business location information but we recommend linking your Google Places for Business account to streamline this process. This way, if your location changes, the address only needs to be updated in one place.
4. Social Extensions
If your business has a strong following on Google+, including your follower count in your ad can help entice users to click and improve click-through-rate. To get this up and running, simply connect your Adwords account to your Google+ account.
5. Review Extensions
Just released from beta testing in October, review extensions allow advertisers to append a quote from a third-party publication. These extensions are a great opportunity for advertisers to get an additional testimonial in front of users, which will not only help with click-through-rate but also conversion rate.
Advertisers can either use a direct quote or paraphrase. These extensions have a 67 character limit including the name of the source so finding a short, powerful review is a must.
6. Seller Rating Extensions
Not to be confused with review extensions, seller ratings allow Ecommerce advertisers to append a “star rating” to their ad, making it easier for users to identify highly rated businesses.
To be eligible for seller ratings, an advertiser must have a 4+ star rating and have at least 30 reviews on review sites all around the web. These extensions add a tremendous amount of credibility to an ad and are a must for any Ecommerce business that qualifies.
7. Mobile App Extensions
When smartphone users perform a search on Google.com and trigger your ad, mobile app extensions allow you to link directly to Google Play or the iTunes App Store so users can download your app. Or, if the user searching has already downloaded your app, the link can bring them inside the app to complete an action there.
With all of these current extensions available, a common question we hear is, “Which ad extensions do you think are right for my business?” While there are some general guidelines that can help get certain businesses started down the right path, our answer is almost always the same: Test and find out.
There is no 1-size-fits-all solution and the only way to know for sure is to try out the relevant extensions and see what works best. Like anything else in Adwords, a set-it-and-forget-it mentality just won’t work either. Ad extensions, like ad copy, should be regularly tested and improved to keep your campaigns running as efficiently as possible.