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Ad Extension Best Practices Every PPC Marketer Should Know

June 28, 2017
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The digital marketing landscape is as competitive as they come. In the PPC world, this is especially true and generating great results for your clients is a constant battle. In order to gain a competitive edge, constant optimizations and strategy adjustments must be made on a regular basis.

Along with standard account management, a good PPC management agency take full advantage of all Google’s offerings that are at your disposal. Ad Extensions are one the best tactics in your arsenal for getting a leg up on your competitors and driving the results that clients expect.

Ad Extensions are additional pieces of information to display along with your text ads. Why is this so valuable you may ask? Communicating to your consumer base all of your unique offerings can prove to be difficult, and at times not possible, due to the character constraints involved with basic expanded text ads (ETAs).

When Ad Extensions are utilized properly, fully conveying your USPs can become a reality and positive results become more plausible. Along with displaying additional content, Ad Extensions provide your ad greater visibility with the added real estate required to display them on the SERP. Finally, using extensions come with no supplementary costs as you are only charged on a Cost-per-Click bases.

All these benefits at no additional costs are a search marketers dream come true but, like other aspects of PPC, they must be employed properly. With that being said, lets dive into the individual extensions and their best practices to maximize account performance.

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink Extensions are incredibly useful for leading traffic to the most relevant landing pages possible. They allow you to highlight specific product or service offerings and place links to those distinct products or services. This helps improve your Click-Through-Rate (CTR) because the additional links provide the added choices that a consumer may need and can ultimately lead to them clicking through to your site.

Related: 11 Settings You Need to Check Before Posting a New AdWords Campaign

Sitelinks can also provide insightful information as to which landing pages convert best or what products/services garner the most traffic so any necessary adjustment can be made to your accounts based off these results.


Sitelink Extensions Best Practices:

Set them at the campaign/ad group level – Campaigns and ad groups should be broken out categorically and therefore sitelinks should be geared towards those groupings. Being as granular as possible leads to the utmost relevancy and places the correct pages in front the eyes most likely to convert.

Creating a single set of sitelinks places irrelevant links in the eyes of consumers and limits your ability to fully utilize the added SERP territory granted with Sitelink Extensions. Where you lead traffic to on your site is crucial throughout the conversion funnel, therefore it’s critical to be highly detailed when selecting landing pages associated with campaign and ad group categories.

Avoid Redundancy – Sitelink Extensions allow you to provide additional information about what it is you have to offer. They should work in accordance with your ETAs and not repeat what has already been said.

Use the added real estate to promote what can’t always be included in your ETAs. For example, if you’re offering a free 30-Day trial for different yoga classes, your ETAs can mention the free trial with ambiguity while your sitelinks illustrate the specific classes where the free trial is available.

paid media services

Callout Extensions

Callout Extensions are comparable to Sitelink Extensions minus the clickable links. They allow you to advertise your USPs and “callout” the specifics of your offerings. They are an opportunity to directly describe aspects of your business that make you different. Searchers can be and are often overwhelmed by the amount of options available on the SERP and Callout Extensions can help lead them in your direction.


Callout Extensions Best Practices:

Promote what makes you unique – Use your Callout Extensions to illustrate how your offer is better than your competitors. These extensions are a tremendous opportunity to place the focal point on the aspects of your business that make you great and separate you from the pack.

Uniqueness is key in the world of paid search and Callout Extensions help you communicate it. Discover what it is about your business that draws the attention of consumers and use Callout Extensions to promote those nuances.

Related: How Quality Score Affects Your Ads

Be concise – Less is more when it comes to Callout Extensions. While Google allows for a 25-character limit, don’t push that limit. You want to be clear and to the point. Callout Extensions should be as straight-forward as possible and not too busy.

Searchers should be able to quickly skim over your callouts and fully understand the value that you have to offer them and what you bring to the table. Having brief callouts makes these extensions more readable and can give you assurances that all the messaging fits nicely within your ad.

Structured Snippets

Structured Snippets provide details into the aspects of your product or service. To use them, marketers must select headers made available by Google and choose what values to place with them. The values created for selected headers should be describing the features of said headers. These headers include:

  • Amenities
  • Brands
  • Courses
  • Degree Programs
  • Destinations
  • Featured Hotels
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Neighborhoods
  • Service Catalog
  • Shows
  • Styles
  • Types


Structured Snippets Best Practices:

Be as clear as possible – What are the exact properties of the headers you have chosen. Searchers should not have to think twice about the values you have decided to list alongside your headers. There should be zero ambiguity in the message that you’re trying to get across and the variations you have included.

The conversion path should be as smooth as possible so maintaining clear messaging eliminates unneeded noise and makes decision making easier for potential customers.

Related: 5 Things Your PPC Agency Should Constantly Be Monitoring

Inform rather than promote – Your text should educate your consumers and not try to sell them on a current offer you may have. You want to illustrate specific variations of your products or services and not the tactics used to try and create a purchase or form-fill.

Your ad copy should include all the necessary call-to-actions while your structured snippets display the options that you’re calling potential consumers to. Being too salesy can deter these potential consumers away so be sure to maintain instructional messaging.

Note that Structured Snippets at lower-levels will override those set at higher ones. So, if there are snippets created for distinct ad groups or campaigns, they will appear over any built out at the account wide level.


Call Extensions

Call Extensions allow you to display your phone number directly in the SERP. They can increase your customer engagement and make it much easier for consumers to get in touch and receive the information they need. They can be set for both desktop and mobile and both help boost your results.

Setting up call-only campaigns for mobile devices is a great way to directly lead traffic to your business by specifically bidding with the intent to drive phone calls. Even better, when set up on desktop, your number is visible so you essentially receive phone calls for free if no one clicks on your ad. What more can you ask for beyond free leads?

Call Extensions Best Practices:

Create Ad Schedules – This one should be a no brainer. You want to be sure that someone is there to answer a call when it comes through from an ad. Failing to do so will cost you money only for a potential consumer to hear your voicemail.

Ad dollars need to be spent wisely and failing to set a proper ad schedule prohibits that from being possible. Piggybacking off this, raising bids during your available hours helps to ensure placement on the SERP and subsequently generates the greatest number phone leads possible.

Set-up call conversion tracking –  Keeping track of your data and how you’re generating leads is a vital component of search marketing and that principle applies to Call Extensions. Clients want to see how their ad dollars are being spent and if it is done so efficiently.

Tracking your phone leads from ad campaigns clearly dichotomizes the results you’re driving versus organic and other types of traffic.

Location Extensions

Location Extensions allow you to display data about your businesses locations alongside your ads. If leading traffic to a brick and mortar location is a part of your business goals then setting up these extensions is extremely beneficial.

Google has revealed that nearly 1/3 of mobile searches are queries with the intent of finding local businesses. With mobile searches surpassing desktop, that’s a lot of volume aimed at finding your business so do yourself the favor and guide them there with Location Extensions.


Location Extensions Best Practices:

Use for brick and mortar – Clients with the intent to drive foot traffic to their business are best fit and most ideal for setting up location extensions. When used on different devices, these extensions have different effects. On mobile devices, searchers can see the distance to a store’s location and instantly get directions to your storefront.

On computers, a street address will appear so searchers can locate your business. It’s important to be extra granular with your geotargeting for campaigns or ad groups that location extensions are applied to. You don’t want your ads and location to be served to searchers who are outside your area.

Related: Top 6 Must-Have Tools for SEM Marketers

This can burn ad spend if a searcher clicks your ad or hurt CTR when impressions are generated outside your business’ location. Some examples of industries that can benefit from Location Extensions are rehabs, car repair/maintenance shops, or restaurants.

Review Extensions

Review Extensions, only eligible to appear on the Google Search Network, allow you to highlight reviews that you’ve received from third-party sources. Reading reviews about your business not only provides you with insightful information, they can help allure more customers to your online storefront. Using reviews in unison with your ads is a powerful tool that can have great influence over the decisions potential consumers make.

In order to take advantage of this function offered by Google, you must adhere to all off their many policies. Some of these policies include using reputable sources like review publications or organizations (you must provide your source URL when setting them up), using reviews that are less than one year old, and leaving reviews in the verbatim that it was originally written. These extensions are notorious for being exceedingly difficult to get approved so check out all of Google’s policies here.


Review Extensions Best Practices:

Apply to branded campaigns – As a rule of thumb, you want branded keywords to always land in the top position of the SERP and this will allow for your extensions to appear. It is much more likely that a searcher will click on your ad when they are already familiar with your brand and deliberately typed your business into their search bar.

As mentioned before, however, the digital marketing landscape is intensely competitive and opposing players in your space are likely bidding on your branded terms. Review Extensions can play a huge role increasing the likelihood that a searcher chooses your ad over your competitors.

Granting searchers the ability to read a positive review about your business will differentiate yourself and aid in preventing those inquisitive searchers from clicking elsewhere. You want to dominate the SERP for your branded keywords and Review Extensions is a great method to do just that.

Wrapping Up

Ad Extensions provide a tremendous opportunity to not only take up more real estate on the SERP, but to vastly improve overall account performance. It is important to note, however, that these extensions will not always appear with your ads.

They should be treated as a means to boost performance across your accounts rather than a wishful attempt to pull a struggling campaign out of hot water. For Ad Extensions to show, your ad must appear in the top position on the SERP so it is vital to conduct the adequate account maintenance to ensure dominant position over your competitors.

Every Ad Extension has its advantages and the best results are enjoyed when they all work collectively. Strong ad creative tied together with supporting extensions transform your ads to a well-oiled machine destined to drive conversions and the overall achievement of your goals. Your clients want results and you are expected to deliver.

Setting up and enabling Ad Extensions improves CTRs, Quality Scores, and overall account performance so don’t waste any more time, follow these best practices and enjoy seeing the advancement of your accounts.


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