Google Adwords Extensions: A Guide for Marketing Managers


There are well over 1 million Google Adwords advertisers at the moment and over 2 million Google AdSense publishers around the world – and this number is growing year on year. In 2014, consumers are more aware than ever of the power of Google ads and how they can streamline online shopping, online comparisons and information searches. Now is the time to make sure YOUR business’ Adwords ads are satisfying this increasingly clued-up audience.

Your Google Adwords account is full of opportunities to maximise marketing campaign performance, such as automated bidding, the Bid simulation and Keyword suggestion tools. However, one of the most instant improvements you can make is including “Ad extensions”; a campaign tab that is clearly marked on your screen.

Firstly, let’s look at the context of ad extensions and why they are such a crucial element of Google Adwords advertising.

1. The Ad rank formula has changed

In the early days, Adwords calculated your ad rank (the position of your ad in the search results) as: Max. CPC ÷ Quality Score. Now this formula has brought ad extensions into the mix – with a focus on their CTR and format – proving they are an important factor in consumers’ online searching behaviour.

2. Ad extensions put you in Google’s favour

If you are bidding the same CPC as a competing advertiser but your ad has extensions, yours will win the higher position. This is because ad extensions demonstrate efforts to be more relevant and helpful to your customers, which follows the golden rule of Google’s algorithms. As a result, your ads will have better visibility and more of an impact.

3. You save money

Having Adwords ads that are optimised with extensions often means you will pay a lower CPC for the same ranking position. If you do this with all of your ads, the savings will add up and mean better ROI.

Under the Ad extensions tab in your Google Adwords account you will be given 6 main extension options. Each one will appear underneath or to the right of your ad text as additional information or a link. The example below is an ad using Call, Sitelink and Review extensions:

Adwords_advertising_2You can use a couple or all of the extensions, depending on the size of your business, its audience reach, your marketing objectives and which devices your audiences are using the most. So whether your ads will be targeting local niches or competitive international markets, there is something to suit every marketing campaign - as well as potential for increasing CTR by 5-10%!

Sitelink extensions

You can promote related pages on your website, including special offers and additional information using Sitelink extensions. This compliments the main message in your ad by showing credibility and encouraging people to click and find out more. These extensions can be easily monitored using clear figures on clicks, impressions, CTR, CPC and conversions. You can improve these figures by including short descriptions under each sitelink and only showing links with high CTR.

Call extensions

As shown in the example above, Call extensions appear next to the display URL in the ad. This type of extension is particularly helpful if your website attracts sales through enquiries, or you sell high-risk products/services where people will want a consultation or more information before buying. When you enable phone call conversion tracking alongside Call extensions, you are likely to see more phone calls coming in through Google Adwords.  If your ad is optimised for mobile devices, searchers will be able to click on your number and place that call straight away!
Tip: On mobile optimised ads, why not write something like “Click to call” in the ad copy to encourage phone calls even more.

Location extensions

You have two options when setting up location extensions in your Adwords ads; adding the address manually to the campaign or linking your Google Places account at the account level. By linking the Google Places account, your address can easily be kept up-to-date and people can see your location on Google Maps. Manually added addresses are good for bricks-and-mortar businesses who want customers to visit their premises.

App extensions

If you have a mobile app that relates to your Adwords ad, you can create an app extension which links people to it – if they are searching on a mobile device or tablet. This is a flexible way to promote your app, as you can view performance statistics, disable the extension for certain devices and use “Smart” detection of app stores. For example, someone on an iOS device will see an Apple App Store link.

Review extensions

Review extensions appear under the ad’s display URL as a star rating, followed by the name of the site the review came from. Already common features of online shopping in the US, reviews have a huge impact on the success of Google Adwords adverts. If you know your business has been reviewed on a website before, simply insert a link to the review itself and it will appear on your ad.

Social extensions

This final type of extension links your Google+ page to Adwords ads, so that people can see the recommendations your business has received by doing a Google search or on your Google+ page. Having social extensions will ensure that your ads are shown more often and eventually boost CTR. This is a great ad extension to use if you want to demonstrate online presence and open communication with customers and your business network.

Search engine advertising is getting more competitive in every industry and sector and at the same time, consumers are looking for products and services that stand out by adding real value. Ad extensions give an immediately positive impression of your offer and business, along with proven increases in CTR and lower CPC, so try them out in your Google Adwords campaign and you will notice the difference.

Google Adwords Checklist - JDR Group

Article by Laura Wootton