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AdWords Extensions: An Introduction & All The Reading Material You’ll Ever Need

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Ad Extensions are VIPs in the world of AdWords – they add a little something to standard text ads and bring attention and clicks wherever they go. But what are they and how should you use them? Here’s our training guide to help you to get your head around ad extensions. With a little help from The Avengers, because awesome.

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Update March 2014: Since this post went live, AdWords has removed the product extensions from the interface, forcing new users of product listing ads to create Shopping campaigns, which do not need the product extension as an activation step.

Reading Material

So you’ve gone through the deck, you’ve absorbed a whole ton of information, but I bet you’ve still got questions, right? Wondering how clicks on extensions are charged? Whether anyone’s going to click on your sitelinks? And what the hell are Dynamic Search Ads anyway? Here’s a round-up of all the extra reading material that you need to help you understand the ins and outs of AdWords extensions.

General Ad Extensions Advice

Enhance your ad with extensions (AdWords help centre guide)

With 10 ad extensions – and more likely to follow – it’s hard to cram everything you could ever need to know into one succinct presentation. If you’re still left wondering about any technical details, e.g. character counts, ad extension policies and how the extensions interact, you’ve got to get the information straight from the horse’s mouth, make your life easy and use the AdWords help centre guide.

Google’s Ad Rank update leads to improved performance of PPC ad extensions by David Moth at Econsultancy

In October 2013, AdWords updated the ad rank formula, which decides an advertiser’s position on a page, to include the expected impact of ad extensions. This post gives a run down on what this means for advertisers, including The Search Agency‘s findings on how the change affected accounts.

Google Says: Use AdWords Ad Extensions, Or Else by Larry Kim for Search Engine Watch

Another post on the change to ad rank, but more of a thought piece on what it means for advertisers generally. (The clue’s in the title.)

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your AdWords Performanceby Dan Friedman at Inside AdWords

A post from the official AdWords blog with tips on how to improve ad performance, with some handy stats on how ad extensions affect performance.

20x Increase in Mobile Paid Search ROI with Ad Extensions– a case study from Google’s Think Insights

Think Insights is an awesome resource of real world case studies (this isn’t the last time you’ll see them pop up in this post), this particular one discusses how Starwood Hotels boosted their ROI after implementing click-to-call and location extensions.

Google’s Mobile Ad Strategy: An Interview with Surojit Chatterjee, Head of Global Mobile Search Ads by Larry Kim at WordStream

While this post doesn’t focus on ad extensions by any means, there are some useful stats on their use and it’s a good introduction to Google’s approach to mobile.

The Complete AdWords Audit Part 4: Ad Extensions by Wijnand Meijer for Certified Knowledge

A guide to ad extensions along with a handy checklist to help your audit your ad extensions.

Can Your Google+ Local Page Improve AdWords Campaign Performance? by Phil Frost for Main Street ROI

A look at how Google+ local interacts with AdWords covering location extensions and social annotations.


Evaluating the Impact of AdWords Sitelinks by Chad Summerhill for Certified Knowledge

When Chad Summerhill’s brand sitelinks were disapproved he went digging to find out whether or not he really needed them.

Should You Create Ad Group Sitelinks in Enhanced Campaigns? by Brad Geddes for Search Engine Land

Advertisers had complained about the inflexibility of sitelinks , which only allowed for one set of sitelinks per campaign, since their launch. When Enhanced Campaigns hit, we finally had the ability to create sitelinks at ad group level. But are they worth the time and effort? Brad Geddes investigates.

Don’t use AdWords Editor to make bulk Sitelinks edits! by Francesco Garofano on her blog

One of the annoying features of Sitelinks laid bare.

New Adwords Sitelinks Policy – An Interview with Jeremy Brown by Melissa Mackey at Search Beyond the Paid

Sitelinks were always intended as a way to add additional links to additional landing pages, and yet when they first came out many advertisers pointed all sitelinks to a single URL. In 2012, AdWords announced that they were going to start getting medieval on advertisers’ asses and stop this happening. In this post Melissa and Jeremy discuss that change.

Boost Your CTR With Sitelink Descriptions by Jacob Fairclough at PPC Hero

Extended sitelinks (sitelinks with an extra 70 characters below the headline) launched in 2013, PPC Hero has got the scoop on what the change meant and how advertisers should use them.

11 Great Points About Google AdWords Sitelinks & 9 Not-So-Great Points About Adwords Sitelinks by Melissa Mackey for Search Engine Watch

These posts are old, so some of what Melissa has to say about sitelinks has changed (ad group sitelinks are now available, as is individual sitelink reporting) and yet there’s still a lot of truth about both the good – and bad – of sitelinks.

Location extensions

5 Ways You Shouldn’t Use AdWords Location Extensions by Carlos Rodriguez at White Shark Media

Not sure whether or not location extensions are right for you? Carlos talks you through the situations where (nine times out of ten) you’re best giving location extensions a miss.

What Good Are Location Extensions, Anyway? by Katie Walton for 3QDigital

You got me, this post is by me, but if you’d like to see real stats about the performance of location extensions, here’s some numbers for you.

Call extensions

Demystifying Call Tracking In AdWords by Frederick Vallaeys for Search Engine Land

AdWords has a ton of different call tracking options – so how do you know which one to use? Frederick has got your back with a clear and easy to understand explanation of all the options to help you decide.

Google AdWords Call Extensions: Beware the Data Gaps by John Lee for Search Engine Watch

So you’ve read Frederick’s guide and decided that Google’s forwarding number is the right choice for you. Before you set it up, read John’s advice on when Google’s forwarding number simply doesn’t work to make sure you’ll get the data you need.

Google Says No To Phone Numbers In PPC Ads, Forcing The Use Of Call Extensions by Ginny Marvin for Search Engine Land

“Why do I need call extensions anyway? I’ll just put my phone number in my ads!” Stop right there, this is against AdWords’ policies as this guide explains.

Esurance Reduces Cost Per Acquisition by 30% – a case study from Google’s Think Insights

A video case study into how using click to call helped one company kick ass on mobile.

CUnet Drives Quality Lead Volume Through Call Extensions – a case study from Google’s Think Insights

Prefer text-based case studies from Google? This one comes in downloadable pdf form and once again is packed full of stats on how call extensions helped a company to excel.

Mastering PPC: Google and Bing Call Extensions by Audrey Bloemer at SEER Interactive

A recent guide to call extensions, with bonus information on Bing Ads’ call tracking options.

Review extensions

Google’s Review Extension: Get the Scoop by Jaime Sikora at 3QDigital

A guide to the new review extensions along with thoughts on how they might impact on search campaigns in future. Disclaimer: contains thoughts from my head.

Improving CTR in Google Adwords with Review Extensions by Matthew Gangnier at iProspect

Some insight and advice into how to use review extensions from an agency with real world experience.

AdWords Review Extensions Helped CTR Soar By 66%! by Hayley Coutinho at Receptional

It’s always good to see some cold, hard data before deciding to implement something new in your account. If a 66% increase in CTR doesn’t persuade you that review extensions are worth a try, I don’t know what will.

Adwords Review Extensions – Good or Bad? by Rebekka at Net Media Planet

Another agency reveals how they used review extensions and the results that they saw on two accounts.

App extensions

AdWords Targets Mobile App Market with New Mobile App Promotion Ad Format by Larry Kim at WordStream

Larry looks at the new mobile app promotion ad and the app extension – so if you aren’t clear on the difference between the two, this is the guide for you.

Seller ratings

How Ratings Extensions Gave a Boost to CTR for Shop Bedding by Aaron Parnes for Certified Knowledge

Aaron reveals how he got seller ratings to show on his account and how it helped performance.

AdWords Seller Ratings Gone? Here’s How To Get Them Back! by Manuel Berndorfler at TMI

In late 2013 Google changed which review sites they used for seller ratings – this post looks at what you should do if this change hit you hard.

How To Get AdWords Seller Ratings In Your PPC Ads by Shawn Livengood at PPC Without Pity

A post from 2012 on seller ratings, but still solid advice on how to get the stars to shine in your PPC ads.

Social annotations

How To Social Proof Your Google Adwords Campaigns by David Rodnitzky for KISSmetrics

David’s post is a little out of date (with the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns there’s now no need to set up social extensions – if your site is linked to Google+ they’ll appear automatically) and yet his advice on how that impacts your entire strategy still stands. Just ignore where he says to eliminate social extensions if they don’t pay, sorry guys, you can’t.

H&M Google+ Case Study by Google

This case study focuses on H&M’s entire Google+ strategy. You might wonder why you should care about Google+ when we’re talking about AdWords, but don’t forget that your social annotations will only show if you have recent, high quality posts on the site. This case study not only gives some insight into the strategy used by a major brand, but also gives great stats about results – including how it helped their AdWords performance. If you want more like these, also check out the Cadbury’s Google+ Case Study and the Google+ Case Study.

3 Ways To Leverage Social PPC To Gain More Targeted Customers by Steve Olenski for Marketing Land

This post looks beyond AdWords to consider all the ways that social can help PPC out – including why social annotations matter – well worth a read.

Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) & Product Listing Ads (PLAs)

We don’t want to make this a post about DSA and PLAs – but as the ad extensions are a vital piece in the set up puzzle for these Google products they might have piqued your curiosity, so we’ve included a few posts to help you out:

Dynamic Search Ads: A Slow and Painful Journey by Elizabeth Marsten at Portent
A general look at what DSAs are and whether you should use them. You can tell from the title what Elizabeth thinks of these, but make sure to read the post to find out why.

Dynamic Search Ads Complement Pay-per-click Efforts by Matthew Umbro at Practical Ecommerce

And just to prove that there are two sides to every story, Matt is here to tell us how DSAs can really help an account. His endorsement may be less than glowing, but he does suggest that DSAs can be useful.

Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) – Portent Webinar by Elizabeth Marsten at Portent
Yes, another entry from Elizabeth, but this webinar was invaluable when I was first getting to grips with PLAs, well worth putting the time into watch it.

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Text Ads and PLAs: A Winning Combination from Google’s Think Insights

Worried that PLAs are going to cannibalise your text ad traffic? They play well together according to Google – and while they would say that, there are links in the posts to case studies that might persuade you that they’re telling the truth this time.

Upcoming Extensions

Image Extend Your Ads: Google Introduces New Image Extensions by Lewis Austin for WordStream

A guide to what image extensions are and potential ways they might be used. Since this post was written the beta test has been expanded to include UK advertisers.

Google AdWords Communication Extensions Case Study by Matthew Chantry at screen pilot

Real world results from an agency that have used the Communications Extension on multiple clients. Still no signs that this feature will become widely available (unless I’ve missed something), but this post may help you decide if you want to (try to) get whitelisted to try them out.

Have you seen reference to Offer extensions in other ad extensions round ups and wondering why you don’t find it here? Well, sadly this extension has gone to the great sandpit in the sky. We said our last goodbyes to offer extensions on November 1 2013, but they live on in our hearts and our Google accounts as Google Offers. RIP, buddy.

Are there any great posts we missed? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Boom Online

Boom Online

Boom was founded in 2010 as an eCommerce specialist digital marketing agency. Our specialism is in the home retail sector, where we've managed SEO, PPC and Digital PR for both household brands and local businesses.View Author posts

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