Paid Search Ad Extensions and Why They Matter

March 30, 2017

Annie Herges

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Paid search ad extensions are any additional link, text, or rating that is served with your standard headline 1, headline 2, and description. Paid search ad extensions allow marketers to show extra information within ads, giving consumers more relevant content about a business and services. Ad extensions come in many formats – each with their own purpose:

App extensions: A link to download an app

  • Call extensions: A clickable phone number on mobile, also displayed on desktop/tablet
  • Location Extensions:  Business address, phone number, and a map marker with an ad text
  • Review extensions: Third-party reviews appear in the form of stars
  • Sitelink extensions: The most common ad extension. Additional links below ads; typically 2-4 appear in the top two search results
  • Callout extensions: Set your business apart from others. Callouts are additional text used to feature benefits or sales
  • Structured Snippet Extensions: Predefined headers to feature products or service categories offered like styles, courses, amenities and more
  • Price Extensions: Updated February 2017 to serve on desktop – features set or starting prices for product tiers or services
  • Click-To-Message Extensions: An easy way to connect with customers from a paid search ad

Below is a timeline of these extensions from the past 8+ years:

Why Ad Extensions Matter

While there are many formats for ad extensions, sitelinks are the most common and widely used. Google states that click-through rates increase by 30% or more for ads with sitelinks compared to those without. All ad extensions ultimately help advertisers attract more clicks, making them a valuable element to your PPC strategy.

Additionally, ad extensions are an important consideration that Google uses to consider ad rank. Google uses the expected impact from ad extensions when determining ad rank along with bid amount and quality score. Therefore, implementing optimized ad extensions will improve ad rank and help your ad reach the top positions. Make sure you’re paying attention to your ad extensions: remove those with low click-through rates and continue to test new versions, including available betas.

Bing also uses the same type of ad extension features that benefit ad performance. Generally speaking, Bing will roll out any new Google ad extensions within a couple of months so that advertisers can use the same extensions in both platforms.

Ad Extension Betas

Before any ad extension goes live, Google will first launch a beta to test the results. A beta can run up to a year before becoming available to everyone, if it even makes it to that point. Betas allow advertisers try new ad extensions that could improve performance and give a competitive advantage.

One of the latest beta ad extensions that has been popping up on mobile devices is called a visual sitelink. Visual sitelinks feature an image carousel, all clickable. In the example below, the images actually appear above the text, unlike typical ad extensions which are below. These are not entirely new as Google tried these before, in 2013, but called them image extensions. While they didn’t survive in 2013, it looks like they’re here to stay this time around.

What This Means for Marketers

In summary, ad extensions continue to evolve while improving search performance. So, a few key takeaways:

  1. Make sure you’re using all relevant ad extensions for your business. They will make your ads more visible to potential customers.
  2. Don’t forget Bing! Carry over your AdWords extensions into Bing as well.
  3. Optimize ad extensions by removing any ad extensions that are not improving ad click-through rates.
  4. Lastly, participating in the latest beta releases may just give you a competitive advantage – ask your NH team if there are any relevant betas you’re not yet taking advantage of.

Information + Photo Source: AdWords: Source One and Source Two

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