Ever since Google updated the way AdWords calculates Ad Rank it‘s more important than ever to utilize ad extensions and if you haven‘t used them before I strongly suggest that you start now. Extensions can assist advertisers to push out more relevant information per impression while at the same time increase visibility which is essentially then name of the game.
Below is a mock-up version of the (relatively) new Ad Rank formula, note the question mark between Quality Score and Ad extensions. According to Google the “… expected impact from those extensions is factored into your Ad Rank” (source: http://goo.gl/SPHiqj), It’s still uncertain as to how they calculate the estimated performance, hence the question mark.
In the following article I’ll walk through some of the extensions available to you via Google AdWords. If this is the first time you hear about this feature you can find them here:
Sitelinks are a neat way of promoting other pages (e.g. related products and offers) within your website alongside your ads which users might be interested in. You can associate up to 20 sitelinks with your campaigns or ad groups (note that Google does not display more than six at a time), create sitelinks specifically for mobile or desktop/laptop devices and lastly create a custom schedule around them.
Below is a screenshot which displays two competing advertisers, one with sitelinks and one not. Notice how the top advertiser takes up much more space while at the same time promoting more pages related to the topic I searched for.
In addition to all of this you can show additional details with your link; these are commonly known as “enhanced sitelinks” and there are two sides to them. One is that Google finds data within your account that matches the sitelink in question and displays it, the other one is that you can add and edit a description yourself.
The copy guidelines behind enhanced sitelinks are similar to writing an ad text; link text (headline) can include max. 25 characters and both description lines can include up to 35 characters. I personally have not seen enhanced sitelinks often on SERPs and when I’ve seen them it’s after I I’ve done a branded search. To me that indicates a very strict policy around them but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add them.
Additional notes about sitelinks:
- Each Sitelink needs to have a unique landing page URL, you can’t use the same URL as you’re using in the corresponding ad copy.
- You need to have good to great Quality Scores in order for them to show.
- Your ad needs to be displayed above or below organic results.
- Try to keep the link text as short as you can, that way you’re more likely to have sitelinks shown.
For more information visit: http://goo.gl/gvkcMe
If phone calls are important to your business then Call extensions should definitely interest you, especially if you’re running a local campaign (e.g. restaurants). This extension allows your users to easily get in touch with your business and like sitelinks, they can appear in different formats. On desktop/laptop and tablet devices the phone number appears with the ads but on smartphones you’ll get a click-to-call button (see the below screenshot)
There are two sides in the way you can track your phone call performance;
- In the US, UK, French and German you have the option of opting into the Google forwarding phone number service. It allows Google to create unique phone numbers which in return allows them to track e.g. phone call conversions. These conversions count calls that last for a certain amount of time defined by you. I recommend that you take into account the average waiting time before pick up so you don’t count conversions that aren’t actual conversions. Using Google forwarding phone number also allows you to see how many times your number was manually dialed versus clicked on
- Google currently doesn’t support forwarding phone numbers in other markets unfortunately which means that you can’t track phone calls as precisely as in the aforementioned markets but you’ll still get statistics as to how many clicked on the click-to-call button.
- Call extensions can be used with location extension which is a double win for any advertiser running a local campaign
- One of the biggest fails I’ve seen from companies that don’t offer 24/7 phone support is not creating a custom schedule. This is very easy to set up when you create a call extension.
- You can have AdWords only serve call extensions on mobile devices.
- You have the option to display both headline & phone number or just the phone number (which would replace the headline)
For more information visit: http://goo.gl/MYJrIt
If your business has a physical location where you conduct most of your business, you should make it easy for users to find it. There are two ways to set up location extension:
- Manually enter the address (Legacy location extension)
- Connect your Google Places and AdWords accounts together and import the information (Upgraded location extension) – I prefer the Upgraded version.
Below is a screenshot that displays an ad with call, sitelinks and location extensions – a beautiful sight if you ask me. The ad takes over most of the „goldenbox“ and is in top position which creates a perfect scenario for a click. The extension appears as a link with the associated location name, in this case it‘s „Keflavik Internation Airport, Reykjanesbær“.
When a user clicks on the link he or she is taken to a Google Maps page where they can e.g. ask for directions to see whether your store is close by.
- In some countries (like Iceland, sigh…) Google does not allow account managers to manually add locations, here is the complete list of countries that can: http://goo.gl/3BspbT. That means that they’re only able to use this via a Google Places connection.
Being able to communicate trust towards possible customers is very important and even though you know that your business rocks it can sometimes be hard to convince users that you are everything they’re looking for. That’s where Review extensions come in handy.
Review extensions allow you to include a review from third party websites with you ads on the Google search network and can give your message a tremendous boost and credibility while at the same time assisting you in generating more elbow space on SERPs. This extension is especially brilliant for account managers that currently use quotes in their ad texts as it allows them use that space to deliver a richer message.
There are essentially two ways to set this up
- Exact quote: means that you copy and paste the text as it is on the source you’re taking it from as well as include the source name. The name needs to be included in the source URL (e.g. naming a source Awesome Reviews requires you to direct users to the page www.awesomereviews.com).
- Paraphrased: means that you can word the text a bit differently from how it’s actually written on the original source but you need to keep the same tone.
Both ways are limited to 67 characters in total which includes Source and Text
Keep in mind that Google’s advertising policy around Review extensions is strict but they basically require that the review is visible in the source and that the source itself is credible (here’s a link to Google’s review extensions advertising policy).
- Only English reviews are currently supported
- Publishers can request that the review is removed via an opt-out form found here
Keep in mind that extensions are known to have poorer %CTR when compared to click-through-rate on headlines (ads) but instead they help you get more real-estate on SERPs. There are more extensions currently available to you that I definitely recommend that you read about: App Extensions and Previous visit-, Seller rating– & Social annotations. On top of these there are new extensions currently in beta that look really promising like image and email extensions.
What’s your favourite extension?