In Part I of our series on AdWords Ad Extensions, we covered the basics of where ad extensions show on a page and how you can analyze your traffic from ad extensions.  In this post, we’ll dive into the various types of ad extensions and examine how to optimize for each.

What You Need to Know About Managing Ad Extensions


Use case: You have a physical location where you can attract customers

You can now set these up at the account level if you’re using upgraded location extensions.  Account-level extensions allow for easier setup but also give you the option of setting up filters to prevent extensions from showing up on campaigns where they don’t make sense.  Remember to think of the intent behind your keywords and whether that user would benefit from seeing the nearest location that you have.

Upgraded location extensions also have the benefit of device control for advertisers.  You can choose if you want your extensions to show on mobile devices or desktop/tablet.

Although it varies by vertical and advertiser, your online conversion rates generally go up when location extensions are present, despite this being thought of as an offline extension.  When reporting on extensions be sure to check that metric.


Use case: Phone calls are an important way for customers to connect with you

In November, we announced that you can now count conversions from calls. Decide whether receiving a call can be more valuable to you than a regular website click. This can be particularly true on mobile devices. Review how many conversions are generated from calls vs. website clicks. If calls convert at a higher rate, use call extensions and adjust your bidding strategy to maximize total conversions instead of just online conversions.

The good news is that phone calls now work with target CPA and eCPC bidding options.  These options automate bidding - incorporating factors such as device, browser, location and time of day - to get the most conversions for your budget.


Use case: Seeing your product or service is more compelling than just reading about it

These haven’t been widely released yet, but you can request access to image extensions via your account team.  Clicks on the image take users to the same landing page as a click elsewhere on your ad.  These can be a very powerful feature, but remember a couple of things: you have to be in position one in the top slot to be eligible to show (so only enable them in places where it would make sense for you to be in position one), and these can take up a lot of real estate, so they aren’t as accommodating in their co-triggering as other extensions may be.


Use case: You’ve received positive press or awards that could prove value to potential customers

One review can be enabled for your entire account, so it’s possibly the fastest extension to put into place.  Once you have them in place, make sure that your main ad text isn’t repeating something in a similar vein to something that appears in your review.

Be sure to read the review extension policy guidelines to learn what reviews can or cannot be approved.

(Optimizing sitelinks involves more than other extensions, so those details are in a separate post that’s coming soon.)

Some Extensions Will Show Automatically

If you qualify for certain extensions they will appear alongside your ads without any action on your part.  We’ll often refer to those that appear automatically as annotations instead of extensions.


Use case: Your company (not your individual products) has accrued numerous positive user reviews online

Accrue thirty ratings in the last twelve months from any of the review sites listed here (along with Google Shopping and Google Trusted Stores).

You can view your current active reviews by visiting http://www.google.com/products/seller?zmi=xxxxxxx.com (replace xxxxxxx.com with your domain).  If you have a total rating lower than 3.5 stars, it won’t be shown on search ads.


Use case: Members of the social community are following you on Google+

To have ads appear with social annotations all that you’ll have to do is connect your Google+ account to your website,  match your ads’ display URLs to website URL on Google+ page, and have 100+ followers on your Google+ page.


Use case: You want searchers to find their way back to your website

Logged-in users on Google.com will be shown notifications whenever they’ve visted your site before, whether they’ve visited via Google Search results or Search ads.  Organic results have shown this annotation for a while, but ads began showing them in December 2013.  As long as search results or text ads share the same URL as your ad’s display URL, these annotations will be eligible to appear.  You’ll need at least one click from an organic search result or at least two clicks from your search ads.


We want our users to find value in the ads we display, so you can rest assured that we want your ads to be engaging.  If auto-enabled extensions are projected to hurt your performance we won’t show them.

If you would rather opt out entirely, that option is available to you.  Only opt out if you really feel that you wouldn’t want these annotations to appear in any situation.

Opt out of seller ratings
Opt out of social annotations
Opt out of previous visit annotations

The Moral of the Story

You can engage with your target audience right on the Google results page by making the most of your ad extensions.  Optimization can be limited for them, but you should be aware of everything that’s available to you and know how they’re doing.  Enable those extensions that you haven’t implemented yet for a fast way to improve your ads and increase your likelihood of connecting with new users.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing