Are your click-through rates (CTRs) stuck in a rut? Have you created and tested ad copy over and over until you’re blue in the face and are still struggling to reach that elusive next level? Wondering how you can improve your ad CTR without changing your ad copy? Then you may wish to consider adding and testing more ad extensions!

There are many types of different ad extensions which have been around for a while but it seems that many advertisers still don’t use them – or at least the full range of them – in order to enhance their ads. They can really add another dimension to your ads, so if you’re not currently using them, perhaps you should give some consideration to the following different types of ad extensions

1. Sitelinks Extensions

2. Seller Ratings Extensions

3. Social Extensions

4. Image Ad Extensions (Beta)

5. Communication Extensions (Beta)

6. Location Extensions

7. Call Extensions

8. Offer Extensions

9. Product Extensions

10. Social Extensions

11. Dynamic Search Ad Extensions

12. App Extensions

13. “I am Looking For” ad extension (New – Beta) .

The first seven extensions emboldened above are what I will be looking at today, whilst the next six will follow in a ‘Part two’ blog post.

So let’s take a look at the first seven extensions individually and the benefits of each.

   1. Sitelinks Extensions

These allow us to provide additional links to specific, relevant content deeper within the websites that we are advertising. We can send users to six additional destination URLs in order to offer the most relevant page to a user based on the chosen sitelink text. NB – Your sitelinks URLs must differ or they are likely to be disapproved!


Ad sitelinks are designed to appear when an ad provides the “best” result for a search query. They’re also most likely to be displayed for searches for unique brand terms for top-ranked ads with higher quality scores. However, they may not always be shown for every top-ranked ad.

Google state that ‘advertisers who use ad sitelinks have seen their ad click-through rates improve by 30%’. We think that this is a touch generous, but it certainly delivers an increase in CTR of 15-25% in our experience. The example above shows sitelink extensions for two of our clients with different USPs and messaging being tested in order to promote different areas of the site.

Sitelink extensions can be controlled at an ad group or campaign level, meaning greater relevancy in the messaging is used as well as the links offered to searchers. This can make sitelinks much more relevant to those searching more specifically and enable users to reach desired areas of your website with less effort.

2. Seller Rating Extensions

Seller rating extensions display a star rating from Google Product Search to our AdWords ads. These star ratings – aggregated from review sites across the internet – allow users to find merchants that are highly recommended by other online shoppers.

If your online website is rated in Google Product Search with four or more stars from at least 30 reviews, you’ll automatically get seller ratings with your ads. What’s more, you’ll only be charged if someone clicks on the headline of your ad. There’s no other way to get seller ratings, as these are not officially an option within the AdWords interface like most other ad extensions. But if you encourage reviews on your site that Google can aggregate the data from, you will soon see them appear for searches.

Image shows men’s fashion and accessories online shop Swagger and Swoon.

Typical sites that Google aggregate this data from include, PriceGrabber, Review Centre, Shopzilla, Feefo, Trustpilot etc, as shown in the example below for one of our clients, Swagger and Swoon.

So the trick is to get a customer to Review your products. Incentivise with money off their next purchase if they complete a review.

3. Social Extensions

Social extensions allow us to link our Google+ page to our AdWords campaigns and ads, so that all of our +1s from our website, Google+ page , and our ads and search are collated together. This data is then displayed in the ads, showing +1 recommendations to other users. To enable these extensions, you will first need to ensure that your AdWords account, Google+ page and your website are all associated with one another.

You can see from the screenshot below that the piajewellery.com have linked their AdWords account to their Google+ page to attract more visits based upon the amount of followers they have. Google report that ads with Google+ annotations have a ‘5-10% uplift in click- through rate’ and we agree that this can certainly help to increase CTRs further.

4. Image Ad Extensions

Sometimes a picture really can speak a thousand words. That’s why AdWords recently introduced image ad extensions to the growing ad extensions family. This more visual extension is currently in Beta, but allows those whitelisted to enhance their ads with images (provided they own the images).

These images can help to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ when promoting a product or service, and allow us to accurately convey the style of something, be it an item of clothing, a vehicle or a holiday. More than one in every six searches on Google produce results with visual content, hence the recent addition of this ad extension. The example shown below is for the search query ‘Sydney hotels’.

These ads are designed to show in certain situations ideally when Google determines that a search query is likely for visual content. We can choose the images that we want displayed with our regular search ads and send them to our Google teams for reviewal.

We’ve seen how rich snippets in the organic listings, especially imagery, can drastically increase click-throughs. So if you’re an ecommerce site, or are a business that deals in selling experiences such as holidays, incorporating image ad extensions is definitely the way forward.

5. Communication Extensions

Communication extensions are new extensions that are not currently available to most advertisers. These extensions allow for an email data capture box to be displayed within the ad itself, with messaging such as ‘Get Offers’ , ‘Subscribe to Newsletter’ or similar, added to the button.

The form is automatically populated when people are logged in to Google, meaning that you can easily capture further email addresses to add to your mailing lists. This has proven very popular with our clients, and is something that we as an agency are using to build our email marketing list.

The above image is a paid ad result for our client Sydney Mitchell: award winning lawyers based in Birmingham.

6. Location Extensions

These extensions allow us to add our business address to our ads, so that our business name, address and phone number all display in the ad itself. Location extensions allow us to effectively promote our business to local searchers who may be either within the locality, or planning to visit the area soon.

The example ad below for our care home client shows the location extension in action for a location-specific search.

If a user were to click on the location extension itself, Google maps will automatically bring up a map containing the location, as per the screenshot below:

This clever integration with Google Maps could increase conversions, as people are more likely to check the journey distance, which is a strong buying signal.

7. Call Extensions

Call extensions allow you to add a phone number to your text ads, making it easier for customers to contact you directly. How the number will appear in your ads depends on the searchers device. On desktop, laptop and tablet devices, your number will appear in one of the formats below.

The two formats below differ as the first option for ‘Just You Singles Holidays’ is using Google’s free call forwarding option. This previously cost $1 or £1 per call, but is now free with Enhanced Campaigns. Using a call forwarding number allows us to set a conversion length for a call (e.g. 45 seconds+) and provides call data in the campaign interface.

If you do not wish to use call forwarding, you can simply add your regular business landline number as per the second screenshot for ‘Kenburn Waste Management‘ below.

On smartphones, your ad will include a ‘click-to-call’ button, which allows the user to click the button and automatically populate the number into their dialler, improving the user experience overall which is likely to lead to more conversions.

Final Thoughts

Upgrading your ad sitelinks can really help to add another dimension to your ads. In almost all cases it enhances relevancy, which is particularly important in competitive areas. These sitelinks will help to improve your CTR, which in turn can help to improve keyword quality scores and lower your CPC, not to mention improve the flow of high quality traffic to your website!

If you would like help in enabling these extensions and looking at the potential for your AdWords ads, email us today and we will be more than happy to help you. We work with dedicated teams at Google and can get accounts whitelisted for extensions in Beta, so get in touch today and improve that CTR now!

In my next post I will look at the next six ad extensions mentioned. Until then…happy advertising!

 

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