Unleashing the Value of PPC Ad Extensions

Getting results from PPC ads is a never-ending challenge, but there is one weapon in your arsenal which you may be underutilising and that’s ad extensions.

Written by Peter
Thursday May 25, 2017

Google says “implementing extensions is often an immediate and highly impactful way to improve CTR”. They also say that “On average we have found that there is a 10-15% CTR uplift from implementing a new ad extension.”

What Are Ad Extensions?

Ad extensions are a PPC ad format that allows you to include extra information in your advert. They include:

  • App extensions which add a link directing people to the app store to download your app. This is only available on tablets and mobiles.
  • Call extensions which enable people to call you by clicking a phone number in your ad.
  • Sitelink extensions which add deep links to pages on your website, along with a brief description.
  • Callout extensions which feature extra text highlighting key information such as your USPs

Bing offers almost all the same ad extensions as Google, but has some extra ones such as image and video extensions. Google also offers automated extensions, such as consumer ratings and social extensions, which you can choose to opt out of.

Whether or not your extension shows depends on your Ad Rank. If your Ad Rank isn’t high enough your extension may never be featured in your ad. You should therefore aim to include the most important information in the main part of your ad.

The Benefits of Ad Extensions

Using ad extensions has a number of benefits including making your ad stand out more. Since the extensions are more likely to be added to ads in the top positions, you could end up occupying all the ad space above the fold on mobile phones.

The extra information you can include also means you’ll have more opportunities to persuade people to click on your ad. All this is likely to improve your CTRs, conversions, quality score and Ad Rank. Ad extensions are also often a cheaper way of getting more clicks, compared to raising your bid.

Making the Most of Ad Extensions

To get the most out of ad extensions, it’s worth being strategic about when you use each one. For example, you can cater your extensions to the stage of the buyer journey your ad relates to, as follows:

  • Research phase – Use sitelink extensions to give people extra information and review extensions to provide social proof.
  • Consideration phase – Use a callout extension to persuade people to choose you instead of a competitor. For example you could highlight any discounts you are offering.
  • Purchase phase – Include the app extension to make it easier for people to buy from you.

Matching your extensions to the objective of your campaign is also a good idea:

  • Building brand awareness – Use sitelink extensions to show the range of services you offer and appeal to more people.
  • Driving traffic in store – Use the location extensions to help people find you.
  • Lead generation – Use the price extension along with call and location extensions to get better qualified links.

Best Practice Tips for Ad Extensions

Every good PPC ad manager knows how important it is to continually monitor and optimise the performance of their account and the same goes for ad extensions.

You can see which extensions are most effective by checking the segment dropdown titled “this extension vs other”.

Also keep an eye on your change history report to garner insights on what’s working. You can also get insights from Google’s Automated Ads Reports, which you can then apply to your manual ad extensions.

Be sure to set up call conversion tracking in AdWords as well as iOS/Android conversion tracking for app extensions.

Writing effective copy is another PPC fundamental that is equally relevant to ad extensions. Be concise when writing your sitelinks descriptive text. Google recommends 18 to 20 characters on desktop and 12 to 15 characters on mobile.

Also make sure your extension text isn’t simply repeating what’s in the rest of your ad. You want to put those valuable extra characters to good use.

As part of the general upkeep of your accounts, you’ll also need to make sure you are not featuring out of date information. You can use the Scheduling Sitelinks feature for time sensitive information such as flash sales.

Also make sure your click to call extensions only shows up when someone is available to pick the phone. You can do this by using the Ad Schedule Bid Adjustment.

If you are not sure how many ad extensions to use, Google has outlined how many of each they recommend using. For example, they recommend adding between six and 10 sitelinks so their system can rotate the best ones to use for each auction.

One more thing worth bearing in mind is what to do if your CPC goes up because your position has gone up. In this case, it’s better to cap the amount you a bid rather than removing an extension and losing out on its benefits all together.

Conclusion

Every PPC manager should be experimenting with ad extensions in order to stay ahead of their competition. Ad extensions are a great way of getting more creative with your ads because they give you more scope to try out new tactics to generate results.

As featured on: Telemedia Online