Fast forward to today and now ad extensions are simply expected to be a part of any coherent PPC strategy. Not using ad extensions feels a little bit like turning down an offer for free real estate – like someone knocked on your front door and offered to quadruple the size of your yard and you said no thank you because you didn’t want to maintain it. Essentially, using ad extensions these days isn’t going to give you a huge competitive advantage anymore, but not using them will certainly put you at a substantial disadvantage. That being said, let’s look at which ad extensions are going to the most beneficial for your business and how you go about setting them up!
Where: Under the “Ad extensions” tab > click on “View: Sitelinks extensions” from the dropdown > click on the “+ Extension” button
How: When creating a new sitelink, you’ll be prompted to enter link text and a final URL. Optionally, you can also set your device preference and write a description. The link text that you choose should describe the page effectively while integrating a keyword, where possible. The final URL should be the page on your site where you want to send traffic (usually a category page, product page, or dedicated landing page for your marketing efforts). As a default, sitelinks do not have a preferred device, which means that if you want the sitelink that you’re creating to be used primarily on mobile devices, you’ll need to check that box. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that your sitelink will only be shown on mobile devices, it will just appear more often for mobile users than desktop or tablet users. Writing a description essentially allows you to place a smaller sub-ad within your larger overall ad text. Use the description lines in the same way that you would when creating your main ad –highlight value propositions, use engaging text, incorporate calls-to-action, etc.
Why: Sitelinks give searchers a way to delve deeper into your website. For example, let’s say you sell art supplies for kids. You may have ads groups around each of the types of supplies that you sell, but you may also have a much broader ad group to attract people looking for kids’ art supplies in general. Once your ad appears in front of these searchers, presenting them with sitelinks that feature your top categories of art supplies gives them an idea of what you sell. This achieves two objectives – it extends the ad text with additional information, and it also lands shoppers on your website closer to what they really want to buy, which reduces the barrier to convert.
Keep in mind that you’ll only be allowed to create one sitelink per page, so if you sell multiple products from the same page (for instance glitter paint, neon paint, and camouflage paint), choose your most popular one to build a sitelink around.
Where: Under the “Ad extensions” tab > click on “View: Callout extensions” from the dropdown > click on the “+ Extension” button
How: To create a callout simple fill in the callout text box and select the device preference just like you did with your sitelink extensions above. Optionally, you can also set start/end dates and times when you want the callout to run. This is a great feature for time sensitive information, like sales/promotional offers and messages during business hours. For instance, a callout like “20% Off This Weekend Only” has a distinct end date and a callout such as “Stop In and Say Hi” really only makes sense when your store is open. In these situations, you’d want to schedule your callouts – and perhaps even create a custom schedule to determine exactly which hours on which days they’ll run.
Why: Callouts are probably the most versatile ad extensions, which makes them the best way to differentiate your business from the competition. They let you quickly hit on your value propositions (ex. “Price Match Guarantee”), make offers (ex. “Orders $50+ Ship Free”), highlight top products (ex. “25+ Colors of Kids Glue”), or do some combination of them all. Just like any other ad extension you can test your callouts to see which perform best along with your ad text, and you can set them at the campaign or ad group level.
Structured Snippet Extensions
Where: Under the “Ad extensions” tab > click on “View: Structured snippet extensions” from the dropdown > click on the “+ Extension” button
How: Structured snippets are far more restrictive than callouts because you must select a header for them from a predetermined list that Google has provided. You’ll notice from the header dropdown where it says “choose” that many of the structured snippet headers are aimed at travel sites with things like “amenities,” “featured hotels,” “neighborhoods,” etc. As an ecommerce site, the ones that will probably be the most logical for you to use will be either “brands,” “styles,” or “types.” Once you’ve selected a header, fill out the text boxes which as many variations as you’d like (or as many as you carry). You can continue to click the “+Add” button to insert more text boxes as you see fit. (Keep in mind that if you list out a ton of structured snippets your ad won’t just continue to grow and grow into a behemoth advertisement that eats up the entire search engine results page. Google will just rotate through the ones that you’ve listed each time the ad will show to fill those slots with the snippets that you’ve provided.) Again, you’ll select a device preference and, again, you can set scheduling if it makes sense to do so.
Why: Structured snippets let you quickly give searchers a sense of what you sell to entice them with your offerings. This is helpful for shoppers that may have a brand or style preference but may not have specified it in their search or shoppers that may not have known exactly which item they were looking for when they did their initial search. That’s why it’s a good idea to tie your structured snippets into the rest of your PPC efforts by using keywords that you’re bidding on in other ad groups. For instance, if someone searches for “kids drawing supplies” and sees your ad where you highlight that you carry Crayola crayons and markers, they may then re-search for “Crayola for kids” or “Crayola drawing” instead of clicking on your ad, so you’ll want to have an ad group dedicated to this popular brand to avoid losing out on clicks.
Where: Under the “Ad extensions” tab > click on “View: Call extensions” from the dropdown > click on the “+ Extension” button
How: Call extensions are pretty simple to set up. You just enter your business phone number in the box provided and then determine whether you do or don’t want to track calls. By default call tracking is turned on, and for good reason – it makes sense to track calls and the data that you can get around call tracking is helpful for making strategic decisions related to your PPC performance. Under the advanced pop-out you can also set up scheduling, which is a very important step if your business line isn’t monitored 24-hours a day. (It’s an even more important step if you’re a small business owner and you don’t have a dedicated business line and just use your personal cell phone number instead.) Use the scheduling functionality to only display your call extension when you want people to ring your business line.
Why: Obviously, people can always visit your website and find your number there and then choose to call, but providing a call extension as part of your ad is a great way to encourage calling directly from the ad itself. This provides a click-to-call functionality that people searching on mobile devices really appreciate and can greatly improve instances of scheduling appointments, making reservations, calling with product inquiries, etc. This is why setting call extensions is always a good idea on mobile ads even if you don’t want to use them on your regular search ads.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!