Since launching Ad Extensions, Google AdWords advertisers have had the opportunity to extend their PPC ads with bells and whistles that offer more relevant information for searchers and performance improvements for advertisers. Many advertisers have experienced an increase in CTRs for the ads that contain Ad Extensions. This increase in CTR can help to improve quality scores overall and possibly lower costs. The available extensions include:
1. Ad Sitelinks
Ad Sitelinks shows up to four additional text links below the Display URL in your ad copy. These text links can direct searchers into deeper content on your site, specific product categories, promote a special offer, or other call-to-action.
Ad Sitelinks can be displayed across one line or two lines. While you can add up to ten Ad Sitelinks in the AdWords ad set-up, Google will only show the four they believe are the most relevant to the query. They are often shown on brand searches, but can also be served on more general searches. They only appear in the very top ad rank positions (above the organic results) and advertisers need to have a high quality score.
As a plus for advertisers, Google recently added the capability to copy Ad Sitelinks from one campaign to another, saving time previously spend on manual entry.
2. Location Extensions
This Ad Extension links your Google Places information to your ads. It offers the searcher the option to click a “PlusBox” to expand the ad and show a map of your business location. Locations are matched up with the searchers location or the location indicated in the search. Advertisers can override this with a different address for an individual ad if necessary.
In addition to ad copy, searchers will see business information like address, phone number, and “get directions” link. Google recently integrated location extension ads into “Place Search.” If your ad shows in the map, it will include a blue pin icon to draw clicks.
3. Product Extensions
Product Extensions link your AdWords ad in the search results to your Google Merchant Center. If your Google Merchant Center has products that match the searcher’s query, Google will add images, prices, and titles to your AdWords ads. Like the Location Extensions, the searcher must click on a “PlusBox” to show products from the advertiser.
To ensure the best bang for your buck, be sure to follow the best practices for high data quality in the Google Merchant Center.
4. Phone Extensions
Allows searchers to click-to-call your business phone numbers directly from a text ad that appears on mobile device searches. Advertisers can select “call metrics” to get a custom phone number (forwarded to the actual business number) with call data. The “call metrics” option is only available to a limited number of users at this time. Otherwise, your regular business number will appear in the ad.
To Set Up Ad Extensions
From the main “Campaigns” tab, you will see an “Ad extensions” tab. If you do not see this tab, you will see a small arrow button to the right of the navigation. Clicking this button will enable you to show this tab, among others.
Reporting and Tracking
Reporting and tracking varies on the individual types of Ad Extensions. There is no neat and easy way to get reporting, so it will be critical to research and plan for this prior to implementing.
One report recently added allows advertisers to view the clicks that occur on extending the “PlusBox”. Google is calling these “free clicks,” but it gives you an idea of the interaction that searcher is having with your ads before clicking through to the site. This applies to the two ad extensions that incorporate plus boxes: product extensions and location extensions. This data is available under the “Dimensions” tab, from which you’ll select “Free clicks.”
Sorting through the complexities of setting up and analyzing performance for Google’s Ad Extensions may take a little time. Many advertisers have reported seeing increased performance in their AdWords campaigns as a result of implementing Ad Extensions. In the competitive world of PPC, advertisers can use any advantage they can get!
Lisa will be featured in the upcoming Spring 2011 issue of Search Marketing Standard magazine with an article on “Are You In With The In Crowd? Step By Step With LinkedIn Ads.” Subscribe before February 21 and you will be included on the mailing list for this Spring issue. Sorry — print subscriptions received after February 21 will begin with the Summer 2011 issue.