Ad Extensions and PPC

Google’s AdWords and the other leading PPC and paid search platforms afford campaign managers and marketers the option to append ad extensions to their ads. These extensions literally extend the ad to show additional information such as a business address or phone number. The ads in their placements stay the same save for a clickable portion that “extends” the ad further down to reveal the ad extension.

These ad extensions are generally free to use, though some formats may have accompanying click interaction charges that you should know about and clarify beforehand. The foremost reasoning for using extensions is to provide additional click incentive depending on what sort of call to action the extensions invoke.

There are several different types of ad extensions:

  • Location extensions (physical address)
  • Social extensions (social media; e.g. +1’s for Google AdWords)
  • Call extensions (phone numbers)
  • Seller ratings (online ratings out of 5 stars)
  • Product info extensions (additional product info)
  • Sitelinks (extra website page promotion)

Ad Extension Advantages

The inherent benefits of target marketing and being able to offer more than just an ad but a particular call to action to search users are obvious. Aside from these, what else can you expect to get out of ad extensions for your PPC campaigns?

Some ad extensions have additional features, such as call extensions providing click-to-call functions when users search via smartphones. This brings instant high-quality leads, as well as speeds up the sales process. Location extensions can likewise be maximized through proximity bidding, where you can adjust your keyword bids based on search location proximity to your business address. For the most part, however, it is how you use your extensions that dictate how much they impact your PPC performance. As an example, you can use sitelinks extensions to display special offer pages and create urgency through time-sensitive deals.

Some Precautions

Bear in mind that the marketing-slash-call to action prowess of ad extensions will only work if they show up the right way. This is one of the primary concerns when using extensions: you typically can’t tell which one (product info, sitelinks, location, etc.) will show up when you enable several for a campaign.

While there are no explicit and external guidelines for these, there is a hierarchy that universal search results follow. For instance, product extensions are prioritized over one-line sitelinks extensions, and contact forms are prioritized over location extensions. There are instances where the search parameters and the device used will narrow down the options. When ads appear in Google Places search results, for instance, it is more likely that your ads will display location extensions.

Another concern for ad extensions is that while Google rolled out (without announcing) an Analytics tracker for ad extension conversion at the start of April 2012, sitelinks conversion data are aggregated, which means you cannot measure how much conversion a single link generates. Another concern is that sitelink and location extensions data are yet to be integrated into AdWords Editor, Google’s free AdWords management tool.

Remember, just as in any other potentially powerful marketing tool, you need to have good working knowledge of ad extensions to benefit your Google AdWords PPC campaigns. After that, it all boils down to how you use them in your paid search marketing strategy.