Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
Google allows the insertion of additional text beside a standard AdWords pay-per-click ad. This text, called “ad extensions,” can communicate more information about your product, service, and business than the ad would otherwise permit.
Think of ad extensions as a means to visually improve your text ads in desktop and mobile searches. Using ad extensions you are able to maximize your budget and help get more clicks and therefore improve the click-through rate of your ads. More clicks means more traffic to your website.
If you are using ad extensions, your ad will likely show on the left side, above the the organic listings, rather than in the right sidebar where there isn’t room.
Additionally, if there are two competing ads with the same bid, quality score, and keyword, the ad using extensions will generally appear in a higher position.
What Ad Extensions Cost
There is no additional cost to use extensions in an ad. You are charged only for clicks on your ad, including clicks on certain ad extensions, such as app extensions, call extensions, and location extensions. There are a few extensions where there is no charge for the clicks. They are review extensions, social annotations, and seller rating annotations.
For those extensions where there is charge for clicks, the amount per click is set in AdWords in the same way as headline clicks. The most you’ll pay is what is minimally required to keep your extensions and ad position.
To access ad extensions, go to your Google AdWords account, choose the “Ad extensions” tab on the top. Use the drop-down menu to select different ad extensions.
Choosing Ad Extensions Based On Device Type
Different types of extensions are beneficial for different types of devices — desktop computers vs. mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Understanding where each extension is most effective will help you make decisions on the information you use in each ad extension type.
- Ad extensions optimal for desktop searches:
- Review extensions;
- Seller rating annotations;
- Social annotations.
- Ad extensions optimal for mobile searches:
- Call extensions;
- Location extensions;
- App extensions.
Google’s Ad Extensions support center states that all ad extensions will display on all devices. However, in my experience, some extensions are better suited for one type over another.
Types of Ad Extensions
- Social annotations. Annotations are automated and are placed below an ad when Google predicts it will improve the ad’s performance. To use social annotations, you must first complete three steps.
- Your Google+ page has to have a verified URL.
- The domain of your Google+ page URL has to match the domain of your ad’s URL.
- Your Google+ page needs to have recent, high-quality posts and a significant number of followers — about 100 for most businesses.
When Google’s system detects that you have a verified Google+ page your ad will now be able to display social annotations. Google’s system will then show these annotations when it predicts they will be helpful to improve your campaign’s performance.
These social annotations will display things like how many followers are following your company on Google+. Annotations will also show company endorsements from customers with their Google+ photo and name.
- Seller rating annotations. This will display your overall online rating to your customers using 5 stars. It will display the number of stars you are rated for along with the number of reviews it’s based on. These reviews come from a number of reputable third party sites that contain reviews for your business.
- App extensions. This displays a link below your text ad to your mobile application. When clicked upon it takes users to their app store and the app begins its download.
- Call extensions. Allows users to click a call button incorporated with your ad and speak with you directly.
- Location extensions. This allows people nearby you to find your nearest storefront or give you a call. Location extensions will add a map pin with your address and allow users to click on it for directions or a call option to call for directions.
- Review extensions. This displays positive reviews from reputable third parties. These reviews will be displayed in quotes below your text ad along with the source.
- Sitelink extensions. These are links you can add under your text ad to certain pages on your site. For example if you owned a restaurant, you could add a sitelink to your menu page.
- Offer ads. Offer ads were created to drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores. If you only have this extension, Google suggests you use sitelinks as well.
The format of the ad allows you to upload a picture along with tailoring the headline, offer date, redemption date, distribution date, and offer type — i.e., percent, amount, or free.
- Communication ad extension (beta). Communication ad extensions are unlike any other extension Google has offered. They allow you to generate leads directly from your paid search ad. Although this extension is still in beta, it’s currently being tested with a three different options: newsletter signup, request an email, or a call.
Once the user selects the form of the communication they would like, Google sends the advertiser a message, to complete the request.
- Image extension (beta). This is a helpful extension for the travel and food industries. Image extension allows an advertiser to enhance its text ads with pre-selected Google approved images.
- Drop-down navigation ad extension (beta). This extension allows users to click an “I am looking for” drop-down menu below the ad. The drop-down searches on 10 areas of the advertiser’s site.