Google Ad Extensions – Your Complete Guide To The Old And Excitingly New

4th January, 2017 - 12 minutes read

Recent moves by Google have confirmed long-held suspicions that mobile is the new black, and desktop is your geriatric Great Aunt Gertrude with regards to Google Search.

Hyperbole aside, with the ever expanding trend for mobile search (58% of Google searches are now conducted on a mobile device) and Google’s implementation of mobile first indexing, it is more important than ever that your Google ads are optimised for the mobile epoch.

One of the most effective means of creating mobile-friendly ads is to play around with ad extensions. These are aspects of ads that are transferable across devices, but their impact depends on the device in use.

Ad extensions give you the means to increase your SERP (search engine results page) ‘real estate’. This means your ad can potentially take up more space on the SERP, and serve to catch the eye of your potential lead.

This is your guide to Google ad extensions, from the old to the brand spanking new, I’ll discuss site link, call, location, app, offer, seller rating, price AND the new mobile and promotion extensions. Depending on your business goals, the extension to use will differ.

 

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions appear below your text ad. They offer the opportunity to direct people to other landing pages on your website (as well as the listed ad URL) that may be relevant to their search. Typically you would apply these to all of your campaigns. Google are handy with these as they’ll rotate the most popular (by clicks) of your links so it’s a good idea to have around six potential links, even if it’s more likely four will show. Adding a tailored description to each link can potentially increase the size of your ad and help your website stand out.

 

Screengrab of rubber4roofs ad extensions in SERP

Add for rubber4roofs shows how site link extensions can increase SERP real estate. Also shows what a call extension looks like in a desktop search.

 

Call Extensions

As shown in the above image, call extensions can appear on your desktop searches. This can be helpful to potential visitors, however, the real value is with mobile search.
As shown above, the call extension offers an immediate click to call function that users can utilise to call your business directly. This will be counted as a ‘click’ and your account will be charged with the lead – so make sure you’re phone manner is impeccable to maximise the potential for a conversion.

 

Mobile screenshot of Google result with examples of sitelink, call, and location extensions

Image shows how sitelink extensions look on mobile devices. Check out how the call extension lets the user call directly from their mobile device. Also shown is a location extension.

 

Location Extensions

Location extensions offer your business the opportunity to provide an address for your ‘bricks-and-mortar’ ground operations. If your aim is to drive footfall and increase your in-store sales then a location extension is essential. To make sure your location extensions show you’ll need to link your Google My Business account to your Adwords account. Listing your enterprise on Google My Business means that it can be found on Google Maps – making it easier for your customers to find you.

If you find that your ads still aren’t being displayed, this could be down to their quality – so make sure they are relevant and follow usual best practice.

Find out more about location extensions here.

 

App Extensions

If you have a business or website with a complementing app, you can create a clickable link that will take the user through to the download page on the app store. This is charged as a click (as if it was a click-through on a standard text ad).

You can create different extensions for different app stores and Google’s “smart detection” will show the relevant add to the user with regards to which device they are using – so an iPhone user will be shown an extension that links to the Apple app store.

More can be found on app extensions on the Google support page.

 

Mobile screenshot of Google display ad showing app extension

This mobile ad shows sitelink, location and app extensions. Notice the clickable ‘Download app’ at the bottom.

 

Seller and Consumer Ratings

The screengrab below shows seller and consumer rating extensions. Seller ratings are displayed as a measurement out of 5 stars and are compiled from independent sources. Seller ratings are automated, but for them to be displayed your business has to have had over 150 independent reviews, and an average rating above 3.5 out of 5.

Consumer rating extensions are quite similar but are based on consumer survey results, rather than proactively written reviews of a good/service. These extensions are useful as they can highlight the areas in which your business is strong, which could give you the edge in a competitive market. Click-through-rate is estimated to increase by 10% with the addition of consumer ratings to your ads.
Like seller rating, consumer rating extensions are automated based on whether Google thinks your business can benefit from displaying these statistics. If you don’t want these to show, it is possible to disable automated extensions.

 

Screenshot of Google ad with Seller and Consumer ratings

Screenshot shows seller ratings (stars) and consumer ratings (out of 10). Also shown is sitelinks – observe how big the Reebok ad is compared to the John Lewis one.

 

Review Extensions

Third-party reviews appear at the bottom of your ad text (where your consumer ratings might appear), will contain a snippet of a review on your product, and the source of that review.

Review extensions are only on offer for desktop, which leads me to believe they are one of the less popular extensions at Google as they make their transition to a mobile-first Google search.

Whilst evidence suggests CTR can increase by as much as 10%, there are more effective extensions available to show off consumer opinions on your product. See seller and consumer ratings.

 

The New Kids on the Block

 

Mobile Text Extensions

Text extensions came out of their beta phase in October, and offer an exciting development for the mobile Adwords age. Text extensions allow users to communicate directly with your business through texts. To be able to use these extensions you’ll have to provide a business number capable of sending and receiving text messages.

You add message extensions in the same way as other extensions, but you provide a pre-selected message that appears on the user’s device which they can then send to you directly.

 

Example of mobile text extension

How mobile text extensions will work. Source

 

For a socially awkward generation who prefer to conversate through text, rather than on the phone, message extensions offer businesses a valuable opportunity to interact with a range of people more willing to spend money and engage with brands.

Message extensions are almost as significant as call extensions with their effects on CTR, earning around 50% more clicks than a mobile text-only ad.

 

Promotion Extensions

Promotion extensions are still in the testing phase, and as yet are not widely available. It’s unclear whether these will be device specific, but they’ll be sure to peak the interest of your financially savvy customers

 

Screenshot of Google ad with promotion extension

How promotion extensions might look. Google are currently testing out this addition. Source.

 

As you can see, the promotion extension frees up space that may have been used on the site links extension for more useful links to your site.

Looking at the Talbots ad, we can see the importance of extensions for your Adwords campaigns. The traditional block of text is insignificantly sized in comparison to the four different extensions used in the ad. It might be a bold prediction, but it doesn’t seem that Google is too far from removing the text in paid advertising altogether, and simply providing information via extensions.

 

Round Up

As you can see, there are many different options when it comes to Google Adwords advertising. Knowing when to employ different extensions for different purposes can be tricky, but with a bit of research and patience, you should be able to get to grips with what works when. The arrival of mobile text extensions is further evidence of Google’s shift towards a mobile-first approach, and could prove a hugely important tool in your future PPC campaigns.

To find out which extensions work best for your ads you should tinker around with different things. If you keep a detailed analysis in your Adwords and Analytics accounts of the difference in the number of clicks you can figure out which are the most effective extensions.

Have you noticed anything interesting about how extensions have impacted your Google advertising? Are you getting the most out of your adverts? Drop us a line, we’d love to have a chat with you.

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