Over the years, ad extensions have proven to be simple and effective ways of increasing performance with relatively little effort. Ad extensions work by either appending search ads with additional information, or by allowing users to interact with ads in different ways, such as displaying a click-to-call phone number on mobile ads.

Ad extensions are great for marketers, as they require little additional effort, allow for greater customization and richer content, and carry no additional cost to display. If a user does click on an ad extension, those clicks incur regular CPC costs; the exception for this being clicks on review extensions, social extensions, and seller ratings, for which advertisers are not charged.

Ad extensions in Google Adwords:                               Ad extensions in Bing:

Here are some top tips to make the most out of search ad extensions to meet your marketing goals:

  1. Sitelinks. Widely-used sitelinks essentially allow top-ranked ads to display up to four additional links to specific pages, giving users the option of clicking on whichever of the five headlines best matches their intent. Sitelinks can greatly increase your chances of reaching a user with what they’re looking for, and help ensure that they click through to the page that is most relevant to them.


Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 11.23.03 AMPro tip
: Although advertisers can create up to eight sitelinks, a search engine results page  (SERP) will only show up to four. Google and Bing will select the sitelinks based the combination they believe will perform best, so take this into account when considering which additional sitelinks to include with your ads—and make sure you link to popular and high-converting sections of your website.

  1. Review extensions: Review extensions let you feature positive reviews and quotes on prominent, credible third-party sites. You can include with your ad a section of quoted or paraphrased review, along with a link to the site where it can be found. Nowadays, we know that more and more people look for social feedback and support before making a decision or purchase. This is a great way to take advantage of positive reviews to lend credibility to your product or service.

quote_searchPro tip: Review extensions can be applied at the ad group, campaign, or account level and will be given preference in that order. So you can get specific about a particular product, or remain general about your company’s overall performance. Use the extension accordingly, with product reviews, when fitting, for more targeted search terms. 

  1. Callout extensions: Callout extensions allow for an additional line of text below your ad to feature three short unique selling points. You can highlight services such as “free shipping,” “easy returns,” or “24/7 customer service.” Companies like PPCHero have seen examples of double- and triple-digit click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate improvements with callout extensions.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.47.24 AMPro tip: Like review extensions, callout extensions can be applied to specific ad groups, campaigns, or the account. Be mindful of how your callouts interplay with the calls to action so you’re taking full advantage of the extra text and not overlapping with ad description text. Essentially, make the most out of your limited number of characters.

  1. Location extensions. Location extensions are great for local businesses and brick-and-mortar stores. Adding a location extension with a map marker for your business can help encourage customers to visit you in person.

Pro tip: Use geo-targeting and geo-fencing so location extensions make sense from the perspective of the user. Showing directions for a store two hours away when they’re within a mile of a closer store is a bad experience.

  1. Call extensions: Especially great for mobile ads, call extensions display a business’s phone number either as the sole option or in addition to a website, making it easy for prospects to get in touch.phone_num_search_v2

Pro tip: If you’re listing a number for your sales department, make sure you update your negative keyword list to ensure terms related to “customer service” and “customer support” are included. You want customers who are looking for support to be directed to a help line, not sales. Not only would this be a bad experience for existing customers, but you would also incur unnecessary costs.

  1. App extensions: Are app downloads a key business goal? If so, use this extension to drive users to download your app directly from the App Store or Google Play.

Pro tip: If you have multiple apps, make sure you map out the search terms that are most applicable to each app. It’s easy for head terms to start overlapping, and you want to make sure that you’re showing customers the most relevant product for what they’re searching.

  1. Product extensions (Bing only): Product extensions connect with the Bing Merchant Center to pull product images, information, and supply/inventory that are then displayed alongside search ads.

Pro tip: While these are perhaps the most powerful extension for selling physical goods, they do require daily attention to reflect product updates. If you have a fast-selling product or frequently change inventory (e.g., travel sites), it may not be worthwhile to maintain. 

What makes ad extensions truly special is that multiple ad extensions can be selected to show simultaneously, granting top-ranked ads even more prominence than lesser-ranked ones. Given the importance of search engine page real estate, having multiple ad extensions greatly increases the likelihood of generating a click—and hopefully a conversion.

At the same time, search engines algorithms ultimately decide when, and which, ad extensions are shown for a particular query. This means that while multiple ad extensions might be shown in one instance, Google or Bing could decide to show only one or none in other instances.

To make sure that your search ads will continue to be most relevant for your customers, only use the ad extensions that make the most sense for your audience. Make sure you continue to evaluate how well the messaging of the various ad extensions aligns with the experience you’re trying to create with ongoing performance analysis.

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Learn more about how you can boost your search campaign performance: check out our on demand webinar, Marrying Search and Display.