For businesses that are specific to a particular location, such as hairdressers or restaurants where people have to physically visit a place of business to purchase a product / service, location extensions can be a very useful tool.

Location extensions allow advertisers to show additional business information such as business name, address and phone number alongside an AdWords ad, allowing advertisers to show exactly where they are and how to contact them without the character constraints of a text ad.

This helps raise awareness to customers who may be in close proximity of a business, or who are searching for information related to a business in their area.

Google also provides the option for customers to discover directions to that particular location by showing a map of the quickest route and has discovered that a lot of users are interacting with these ads in this way.

Back in January, Google began to report on these interactions to give advertisers a feel for how well their ads were performing and how users where interacting with an ad before a click-through.

Google is now improving this feature and over the next few weeks will be showing advertisers performance statistics for directions alongside clicks and phone calls data. Google will also begin to charge for this type of interaction in the same way that it charges for clicks on the headline or telephone number of an ad.

To see this information split out in to the specific click types advertisers can log in to AdWords and visit the ‘Keywords’ tab, then from the ‘Segment’ drop down click the ‘Click Type’ option from the list and Google will separate out the clicks for ‘Headline’ and ‘Mobile clicks-to-call’.

The directions option appears slightly differently for mobile ads and desktops. If searching on a desktop a user may see a “Directions” link within the information on a sponsored Google Maps window.

However for mobile search the user will see a “Get directions using Google Maps?” pop-up when clicking on the expandable map. The user will then have to click “OK” in the pop-up to get directions to the business.

If advertisers would like to see past clicks on the directions link then this information can be found within the ‘Dimensions’ tab (if you can not see the Dimensions tab then click the arrow at the end of the row of tabs and tick ‘Dimensions’ in the list shown). Then you can change the ‘View’ to ‘Free Clicks’ by choosing that option from the drop down list.

If advertisers do not wish to pay for clicks for ‘Directions’ to their business then the only way to opt out is to remove location extensions from their ads.