Ad extensions in AdWords have been around for a couple of years now but it amazes me how many advertisers still don’t use them. Seeing as Google recently added conversion tracking to ad extensions, I thought it would be a good idea to take a fresh look at the different ad extensions currently available.

In a nutshell, ad extensions are a cool way of getting searchers to interact with your ad in many different ways at no extra cost. If a searcher clicks on an extension, the advertiser gets charged for the click in the usual way. You select these at campaign level so they will apply to all ad groups within a campaign.

All of these extensions require a bit of background work to set up which I will outline. The sitelinks menu can be accessed in the AdWords interface as shown below –

AdWords-extensions-interface-1024x578

At the time of writing, the sitelinks available are as follows –

Location Extensions

This extensions allows the searcher to open out a panel with a map that includes an advertiser’s location. This is ideal for local businesses that have a physical location to which you would like to attract visitors. This is done dynamically and can include your business address, ad text and phone number.

Location targeting like this is ideal if you have one or more physical locations that you’d like to promote. For example, a searcher might be planning a visit to Oxford and wants to know if there are Italian Restaurants nearby.

These extensions will only appear as an option oif you have correctly configured your Google Places profile in your Google Account.

adwords_location_extensions_format_en

Call Extensions

This extension lets you include a clickable link with a phone number on it. This allows a searcher to call you directly from a mobile device. There is a lot more to call extensions and would probably warrant another blog post but these are the basics. You can choose to use a forwarding number that will allow Google to collect more detailed information about the origin of the call in including –

  • Call start time
  • Call end time
  • Call status (missed or received)
  • Caller area code
  • Call type
  • Campaign (if enabled using the Columns drop down)
  • Ad group (if enabled using the Columns drop down)

There is an extra charge for using call forwarding.

Sitelinks Extensions

This allows you to display links to pages on your site underneath your ad as shown below.

AdWords-extensions-links-1024x400

Sitelinks are brilliant because they allow the advertiser to send searchers to other pages as well as the original landing page for the ad as in this example. They tend to only show on ads that have a high keyword quality score for the keyword that triggered it.

According to Google, on average, advertisers who use ad sitelinks have seen their ad clickthrough rates improve by 30%. You should be using this at the very least.

Product Extensions

This is my favourite. It allows the advertiser to display products from their Google Merchant Centre account feed complete with images, titles, and prices of your products in a plusbox under your ad. You can also display buyer ratings if your are using Google Product Search feeds. You need to have a valid, properly configured feed for this to work. You only get charged for the click if a user clicks on any content in the box and not for just opening the panel like this.

productextensions_what

In my experience, the product extension tends to convert well when they actually display. I have one active campaign that has a 25% conversion rate from this extension alone.

Social Extensions

This extension allows the advertiser to show annotations or votes on your AdWords ads. These votes are generally interpreted as recommendations by other web users and are a powerful emotive technique. Plus 1 is enabled by default on all AdWords ads but the extension links it to your Google+ page. In other words, any Google plus one (+1) clicks will show on your Google plus page as well as your ads. It looks like this –

+1-Button-AdWords

You can also see the star ratings from Google Product Search in this example.

AdWords extensions are an excellent way to add value to your campaigns. They also look good and draw a web users attention which is a great way to get the heads-up on your competitors. If you are not using ad extensions then you are missing out.