bulls eye, best practices

Best Practices with Google AdWords Ad Extensions

Ad extensions. What a time to be alive and managing a retail paid search program, eh? Search ads have gone from boring blue text links on search results pages to being living, breathing entities that allow users to do so much more than just click through to your site.

AdWords Ad Extensions: A Brief Overview

Ad extensions are basically additional bells and whistles that can be added on to your text ads on Google’s search results pages. Currently, AdWords offers six manual ad extensions in addition to six of the automated variety.

ad extension types, adwords

Types of Ad Extensions in AdWords

While automated extensions are pulled by Google based on your website data, manual extensions offer advertisers a chance to pick and choose additional information they want to showcase to users. Some form of ad extension usage is highly recommended for virtually any retailer. Read more about extension types.

While ad extensions carry the obvious benefit of making your text ads bigger and more eye-catching; they also benefit your program by boosting ad rank, improving relevance to shoppers and, consequently, boosting traffic to your site -when used correctly! The key here is correct usage. If you succeed at tailoring your ad extensions to specific query intent, you will earn more qualified, higher-converting traffic.

To that end, here are some things to keep in mind.

Get the Most Out of Sitelinks and Callouts

Sitelinks are a tremendous bonus to both advertisers and shoppers. Usually someone who’s made a commerce-qualified search and come upon your ad, has a specific intent that corresponds to a particular page on your site, e.g. ‘Clearance Items’ or ‘Nearby Locations’. You can provide a more functional, relevant ad by including such pages as sitelinks.

There’s nothing too tricky when it comes to proper use of sitelinks.

  • There is a 25 character limit, but shorter is usually better. Keep in mind general link structuring best practices: make them concise and accurately descriptive of the page they link to.
  • You also have the opportunity to add more detail beneath each site link. This is great, but keep in mind the cumulative effect of adding all this text; be concise to avoid an overwhelmingly text-heavy ad.
  • Make sure you have at least six active sitelinks for desktop campaigns and four active sitelinks for mobile.

Unlike sitelinks, callouts provide extensions to your ads but do not contain clickable links. Think of these as extra real estate for your text ads.

  • You may want to try highlighting more static features of your business here while freeing up space in the body of your ads for fresh, new copy.
  • Pull any consistent business features like “Free Shipping” or “No Hassle Returns” from the body of your text ads and instead use those as your callouts.

Sitelinks in this case could be used for more seasonal or time limited offers along with more popular visited landing pages of your web site. This frees up valuable space in the actual body of your text ad to test more compelling and targeted copy for your users!

One pitfall to avoid here is to be careful not to use the exact same information or line in all ad locations. You’ve been given extra ad space with these 2 extensions, so be creative and keep it interesting for your audience!

Example Ad Here:

ad extensions, google adwords

Location, Location, Location

If you have a brick-and-mortar presence, location settings will likely benefit certain campaigns. Keep user intent in mind when choosing where to apply location extensions – for example, a location extension is appropriate for the keyword ‘running shoes 98103’, not so much for ‘best running shoe deals online’.

While location extensions are often thought of as an aid to offline shopping, we’ve actually observed them improve online conversion rates in many instances. As with Local Inventory Ads, communicating the proximity of a physical store location gives the shopper assurance that in-person customer service and returns are within reach, thus making an online purchase more appealing.

From Click to Call?

Similar to location extensions, if you have a business phone line you may also want to include a phone number with your ads when the user is searching for your products or services. There are a couple ways to accomplish this, now that you cannot include phone numbers in the body of text ads anymore.

  • Use Call Extensions in your existing ads to allow users to contact your business directly through your ad. Unlike Callout extensions, a Call extension displays the business phone number you have provided along with your text search ad for the time periods you have chosen. Tip: be sure that you are only scheduling this ad extension type to display with your ads during times when the provided phone line is being answered and users can easily get the information they need or make a purchase while calling.
  • If you have a nice, mobile-friendly site, you may also wish to have “Call-Only” ads. This way, when a user is searching for your business or products on a mobile device they may be able to simply click on your ad in order to call the number you have provided.

It’s all about understanding the needs and intent of your user and knowing how to make it simple when they are most likely to purchase! A great time to include a phone number with an ad extension is when the user is most likely ready to convert, so this means they have probably searched using your specific Trademark and or Brand name.

Pitfalls to Avoid

When it comes to extensions, more is often better, but not always.

In search cases with very specific query intent, bombarding the shopper with ancillary information may dilute the actionable messaging in your ad. For example, if a shopper searches ‘best price online for a Patagonia nano puff jacket’, they probably are not interested in calling a customer support line or visiting the Patagonia blog (not at the moment, at least).

Consider employing a Brand vs. Non-brand strategy, whereby if the search is brand specific, use only actionable ad extensions – like Call or Location – to encourage a user to take an action and convert. Conversely, for a broader or non-brand search, use extensions like SiteLinks, Callouts & Reviews to make your ad bigger and generally more visible while offering more information about your business than a standard text ad alone.

Find more great tips and advice on everything ad extension related in the slides below. Let our Director of PPC, Elizabeth Marsten (Voted this year as one of the top ten most influential people in PPC!) walk you through extension fun – from the basics to best practices.

Prefer some one-on-one expert assistance with your AdWords campaigns? We do too! Contact us for more PPC goodness.