If you’re a marketer, it’s probably safe to say you’re familiar with the benefits of Google Ads.
But what about Google Ads extensions?
This guide will walk you through all the different types of extensions, as well as why and how you should be using them to grow your business.
What We’ll Cover:
- What Google Ads Extensions are
- How extensions improve your ad’s performance
- Manual extensions vs. automatic extensions
- Factors that affect your ad extensions
- Manual Extensions:
- Automatic Extensions:
- How to measure Extensions performance
What are Google Ads Extensions?
The internet is an endless universe of information. With over 3.5 billion daily interactions spread across 246 million visitors, companies now have advertising opportunities that have never been seen before.
You want to be sure that your ad doesn’t get lost in the void.
You want your ad to be visible to the right people who will buy your product or service.
In order to do this, you need to optimize your ads by taking advantage of extensions.
In a nutshell, ad extensions give additional information to your ads.
Normal text ads include your headlines, a short description and URL. Ad extensions allow advertisers to include more useful information like contact information, customer reviews and ratings, call buttons, etc.
Who should use Google Ad Extensions? Just about everyone, according to Google.
With extensions, ads gain more prominent listing and often perform better because of it – which means more eyes on your ad and a higher ROI.
“By adding more content to your ad, extensions give your ad greater visibility and prominence on the search results page. That means you tend to get more value from your ad. Extensions often increase your total number of clicks, and can give people additional, interactive ways of reaching you—as with maps or calls.”
In fact, Google reports that adding an ad extension can improve your CTR by 10-15%.
And, when it’s all said and done, this extra advertising requires very little from you.
Manual Extensions Vs. Automated Extensions
Extensions are separated into two categories: manual vs automatic extensions.
Right now, you’re probably wondering how are manual extensions different from automatic extensions. We will cover this in-depth momentarily, but there is a simple explanation that differentiates between the two types of ad extensions.
Manual extensions are ones you choose and set up yourself.
Automatic extensions are predicted by Google based on which extensions might improve your ad’s performance. These, naturally, are set up automatically and require no extra work from the advertiser.
Factors That Affect Your Extensions
Here’s the thing. Even though everyone has access to extensions, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll show up.
Whether or not they show depends on a number of factors, including:
- Ad rank – a minimum Ad Rank score is required for extensions to show. To meet it, you may have to increase your bid or ad quality
- Position of your ad – higher ad position = higher likelihood that your extensions will show. Google notes, “the system generally won’t allow ads in lower positions to get more incremental clicks from extensions than the incremental clicks they’d get from moving up to a higher position.” So if you need a higher position, you may have to pay for it with higher bids amounts.
- Other ad extensions – Google will show you the highest performing combination of extensions, but you will not be able to get a combo of extensions that gets a higher click-through rate (CTR) than the expected CTR of an and in a higher position.
In a nutshell, your extensions are used at Google’s discretion, and your bid amount and ad quality factor in quite a bit.
While I do recommend enabling any type of ad extensions that you might find helpful, keep in mind that they will be most beneficial to those with already-high ad positions.
For tips on how to make your extensions more likely to show, click here.
Manual Google Ads Extensions
If you’re trying to compare manual vs automatic extensions, let’s dive in a little deeper.
First, let’s cover all your manual extension options.
As you get started with extensions, Google recommends the following best practices:
- Use every extension relevant to your business
- Try adding 4 or more extensions (Google has found that ads with more than one extension perform better than those with just one)
- Create extensions at higher account levels, if applicable
To set up your manual extensions, go to the Google Ads extensions tab in your campaign manager.
Let’s talk more about the different types of extensions.
First, there are location extensions. Use these if you want people to buy from a physical place.
Use these if you want people to buy from a physical location.
- Location Extensions
Location extensions are pretty straightforward: they show searchers your business information.
You can include your business location, hours, photos, directions, etc.
Additionally, you can input a clickable “call” button, and show users the distance to your physical location from where they are.
Pictures of your storefront can also be used.
These are of course most useful for any business with a brick-and-mortar store trying to attract foot traffic.
Location for Google Ad extensions can be shown on the Google Search Network, Google partner sites, Google Display Network and YouTube Video Ads.
- Affiliate Location Extensions
This ad extension shows nearby stores that sell your product (think retail chain stores).
So, if you’re a retailer selling through chains, this extension will help customers find stores closest to them that have your product in stock.
When someone searches for a product similar to yours on Google, your ad will pull up with the closest affiliate store listed. It will appear either as an address or a map (and if they’re using a mobile device, they can click on the address to pull up directions).
Note: these are only available for retail chains in select countries.
When looking at the different types of extensions, contact extensions are crucial.
Use these if you want customers or leads to get in touch with you.
- Call Extensions
Call extensions are simple but effective. They allow you to add your phone number to the ad and give mobile users the option to click-to-call.
Keep in mind that Google Ads may set up automated call extensions if you’ve indicated getting customers to call you as a business goal.
Google also notes that the ad extension is the best way to include a contact number in your ad; placing a phone number in ad text is against Google policy and will result in the ad being disapproved.
This is one extension where scheduling is particularly important. You’ll want to schedule the extension to only show during business hours when someone is able to answer the phone.
- Message Extensions
Like call extensions, message extensions allow people to contact your business directly, only this time via text message.
Again, Google Ads may do this automatically if they deem it one of your business goals.
If you choose the message extensions and someone clicks on it, they will be taken to their text message app with a pre-filled message (that you’ve already created).
Conversion extensions should be used if you want to direct more traffic to your website.
1. Sitelink Extensions
Sitelink extensions are additional links you can add that direct customers to a specific page of your site.
When someone clicks on the link, they’re taken directly to that page. It could be contact information, services, store hours, etc.
Sitelinks will appear on one to two lines below your ad (depending on which device is being used) and show as text rather than URLs.
You can include 2 to 6 sitelinks, which can sometimes also include short descriptions.
The benefits here are pretty obvious: more links back to your site, meaning increased opportunities for clicks. It’s quite a useful extension.
If you’re going to use a site link extension, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Keep it short and simple.
- Schedule “start” and “stop” dates for time-sensitive ads.
- Check on your links periodically to ensure they are working properly.
- Be sure to stick to Google Ads policies and guidelines.
- Avoid redundancy and repetitiveness by creating interesting and engaging advertisements.
2. Structured Snippet Extensions
Structured snippets are used to highlight specifics about your product or service. These are non-clickable snippets that show at the bottom of your ad extension with a header and list of features.
For example, you might see an ad with “Service Catalog: SEO, PPC, Social Media Management.”
Your headers will be chosen from a list, which includes categories like brands, destinations, types, etc. For a full list click here.
Using structured snippets will help promote any unique or important details about your brand that might attract more customers.
3. Price Extensions
Price extensions show a list of your products or services with their prices, allowing customers to browse your catalog without visiting your site to do so.
They show up as a set of up to 8 clickable “cards” below the text on your Google Ad.
Google uses the example of a hairdresser. If they were to use the price extensions, their cards would consist of services like “haircut,” “full color,” “partial color,” etc. with the prices next to each item.
If someone clicked on one of the services, it would take them directly to the corresponding page on your site.
These can be updated whenever you would like to promote any new services or deals, and you have probably seen them pop up on Facebook and Instagram.
4. Callout Extensions
Callout extensions are generally used to point out additional product features or business highlights.
For example, you could use this extension to include a snippet like “free delivery” or “open 24 hours” to draw attention to unique, beneficial features.
Advertisers are able to change the text of their callouts at any time, meaning you can easily update or include relevant information without rewriting your original ad text.
Google Ads allows 2 to 6 callouts, which appear below your ad text.
5. Promotion Extensions
Promotion extensions allow you to use your ad to highlight any sales or promotions you have going on.
This ad extension can display 2 lines of information text at the bottom of the ad along with a price tag icon. When a user clicks on it, they will be sent to the special offer landing page to complete their order.
Use app extensions if you want people to download your app.
This feature is compatible with both Android and iOS. Google will detect which store to use based on the user’s device, and the ad will only appear in one form.
Automatic Google Ads Extensions
If you are still wondering how are manual extensions different from automatic extensions, we’re almost to the finish line.
In the debate of manual extensions vs automatic extensions, now we’ll get into automatic extensions.
Remember, these are added automatically by Google Ads unless you choose not to have them do so.
If you do choose to disable automatic extensions, Google will walk you through the process here.
1. Dynamic Sitelinks for Automatic Extensions
Like manual sitelink extensions, these are additional links included at the bottom of our text ad.
They’re different in that instead of you choosing which links and pages to showcase, they instead pull links related to a search question.
If you do use manual sitelinks, they will override any automatic sitelinks Google pulls.
2. Dynamic Callouts for Automatic Extensions
These callouts for automatic extensions are similar to the manual ones in that they again list a snippet of text under your ad that highlights any special or unique features.
However, instead of you choosing the snippet, Google pulls information that it finds relevant and uses it. The information would then be pulled from the existing copy on your home or landing page.
3. Dynamic Structured Snippets for Automatic Extensions
These also pull small snippets to highlight product features, but it does this in a category fashion.
Google pulls these categories it finds on your site relevant to specific search queries.
4. Seller Ratings
Seller ratings for automatic extensions are used for product or service based on a star system.
The reviews are pulled from “reputable sources that aggregate business reviews.”
5. Previous Visits for Automatic Extensions
This extension shows a searcher if and when they last visited your site.
Google notes, “to see previous visits, people have to be logged in to Google and clicked through to your website at least once from a previous Google search result, or twice from a Google search ad.”
6. Consumer Ratings for Automatic Extensions
Consumer Ratings extension shows industry-specific ratings based on consumer surveys.
These do not use a star rating, and they are shown instead on a scale of 1 to 10.
How to Measure Your Google Ads Extension Performance
AdWords offers performance information on all of the ad extensions used in a given campaign.
You can access the information through the “Ad Extensions” tab on your account page.
Here, you’ll be able to see if the extensions are showing in your ads, and if they’re working.
Depending on the extensions you use, you can go in individually to see if they’re getting the desired calls, clicks, downloads, messages, etc.
To navigate, simply:
- Log into your account
- Click on the Campaigns tab
- Click the Ad Extensions tab
- Click on the View dropdown and choose the extension you’d like to measure
- Select “All Campaigns” to see stats across all campaigns, or select the individual campaign
If you want to make sure your extensions are showing, you’ll use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool.
As always, if you find that your extensions aren’t performing as well as you’d hoped, test a few changes.
Use a new extension, or change the links or language in your existing ones.
Wrapping Up Google Ads Extensions
Extensions are an easy and valuable way to add more relevant information to your ad – and encourage more click-throughs.
Hopefully, you now understand the two types of ad extensions and how they can be used to boost your company’s online presence and sales.