All About Search Ad Extensions and How to Choose the Right Ones

January 31, 2018

This is a guest post from Charlotte Haab, Account Manager at
3Q Digital.

Google recently announced it would be sunsetting review extensions. While these have been around since 2013, they’re notoriously hard to get approved, and just generally clunky and unimpactful.

If you’re one of the few sad people to see them go, don’t worry! There are still a ton of other great extension options to bulk up your ads and bolster that ad rank. Like review extensions (R.I.P.) certain extension options complement certain business goals more than others. Keep reading to learn how to choose the right extensions for your goals.

Before I get into each extension type: an overview.

What are ad extensions?

Ad extensions are basically extra bits of information about your business or offering that you can tack onto your regular text ads. The general theory behind including as many ad extensions as possible is that they take up the most space on the SERP, and encourage users to click your ad over competitors. In fact, it’s proven that adding extensions can boost your CTR, which means a better ad rank and potentially even cheaper CPCs.

When do they show?

Ad extensions serve at the sole discretion of the search engine you’re running on. Search engines use a multitude of back-end factors to determine when, how, and in which combinations your ad extensions show in auction. That being said, the goal of their algorithms is to get the advertiser the best performance possible at no additional cost.

Choose the Right Extensions for Your Company Goals

Drive Converting Customers Onsite

If you’re like most online retailers you’re probably looking to get new users to your website with the end goal of driving conversions. With that in mind, you’ll want to be sure you have sitelinks, callouts, structured snippets, price extensions, and promotion extensions (when applicable).

  • Sitelinks give you up to 6 of what basically equate to miniature ads made up of a 25-character linked headline, and two 35-character description lines. Use these to showcase additional value props, upsell/cross-sell related or complimentary products, or even link users to your information or contact pages.
  • Callout extensions are exactly what they sound like. Use them to call out any unique or compelling factors about your product or business, such as free shipping, 24/7 customer support, sales, or virtually any value prop or descriptor you think is compelling. They’re 25 characters each and you can have as many as you want.
  • Structured snippets give you a more specific way to showcase information to potential customers by using a pre-defined header and listing items. The header types to choose from include Amenities, Brands, Models, Services, Styles, and Types, among a handful of others. From there you just list what you’ve got! You can list up to 10 items per header, each with a 25-character limit.
  • Price extensions are extremely important for ecommerce advertisers. While they’re unfortunately not available via feed, you can manually pick a few of your top sellers and list them with title, price and brief description—all of which are limited to 25 characters. The extensions should link straight to your product page.
  • Promotion extensions are a great way to highlight a special deal or sale to encourage customers to convert. You can choose or forego a pre-defined header—they’ve got most holidays and the big online ecommerce days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can fill out details about your promo including the discount or % off, and promo requirements such as qualifying order prices or codes. These should link to a relevant landing page with sale or promotion highlighted.

Drive Customers In-Store or Connect With Them Offline

If your business also includes brick-and-mortar or you want your customers to contact you offline, try adding location extensions, affiliate location extensions (if applicable), call or message extensions, and even callouts.

  • A location extension is simply your company’s address. You can manually input it yourself if you have one location, or you can link up your Google My Business account to manually import multiple locations.
  • Affiliate location extensions are the same thing, but instead highlight the addresses of affiliate stores that sell your product.
  • Call extensions display in the form of a phone number or button that a user can click to contact your business.
  • Message extensions allow customers who see your ad to directly send questions or comments via a direct text message.
  • You can use callouts to drive users to a location by highlighting location-oriented ideas like proximity, in-store deals, or in-person or 24/7 support.

A Note On Automated Extensions

Since extensions can be a little manual, if you have a large, or categorically segmented account, implementation can be a bit of a bear. Fortunately Google offers a few automatic options that can save you some time by pulling relevant information right from your website.

Some commonly used automated extensions include calls/messaging, seller ratings (the small orange star ratings you see at the top of an ad), previous visits, and even dynamically generated versions of sitelinks and structured snippets. Automated extensions are compatible with manual extensions if you want to run both. If there are certain automated extensions you don't want to be running, be sure to opt out in your account level settings.

In summary, ad extensions are a unique, free option for bulking up your ads, showing off additional value props, encouraging more clicks and conversions, and ultimately improving your ad rank and overall performance. Now that you know how to determine which ad extensions are best for your unique business goals you can get to work applying them to your campaigns and driving results!

Charlotte Haab

3Q Digital
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