A Google ad extension is defined as “a feature that shows extra business information with your ad, like an address, phone number, store rating, or more webpage links”. They add further information to your ad and also increase its real estate in the search results, making it more prominent to the searcher and can, therefore, increase its click through rate (CTR). Google says, “On average we have found that there is a 10-15% CTR uplift* from implementing a new ad extension”.

The type of ad extension(s) that appears alongside your text ad is completely in the hands of Google though, it decides which type of extension it thinks will best benefit your ad in that particular auction and that is why it is best practice to utilise every extension that is relevant to your business.

Most of the extensions are manually chosen and set up by the advertiser, but Google also offers automated extensions that are compatible with any campaign or ad group that has the traditional, manual extensions active. To opt out of this and stop Google showing automated ad extensions you must remove extensions.

Types of ad extensions available

  • Location extensions – linked to the advertiser’s Google My Business account this shows the business’s address alongside the ad
  • Affiliate location extensions – these help people find retail chain stores that sell your products
  • Callout extensions – extra text that can be displayed with an ad to provide additional information about the product / service / business etc. 2 to 4 callout extensions are shown at once and they can be up to 25 characters each
  • Call extensions – adds the business phone number which encourages users to click-to-call
  • Message extensions – adds the business mobile phone number which encourages users to send a text message from the ad
  • Sitelink extensions – links to deeper pages of the site where the user can find additional information about what they were searching for, you should have more than 4 per campaign/ad group
  • Structured snippet extensions – these provide information that customers may find valuable, within a predefined header (ie. Models, Types or Courses) and lists those items
  • Price extensions – allow advertisers to provide pricing for 3 or more products so the user can see the price ranges without having to click through to the site
  • Review extensions – highlight reviews from published sources
  • App extensions – link directly to where the advertiser’s app can be downloaded on mobile
  • NEW: Promotion extensions – these new ad extensions are available in the new AdWords interface and highlight sales and/or promotions for people that are searching for a deal

There is no way of optimising or controlling which of the ad extensions Google shows alongside your main text ad, so it’s best practice to use all that apply to your business and make them as relevant as possible to your campaign/ad group. Google chooses which specific extension to display as a function of previous performance, user context and available space on the page.

How much do ad extensions cost?

It doesn’t technically cost anything to add ad extensions to a campaign. You are charged in the same way as normal when someone clicks on your ad, so that might be on the headline of the ad or on an ad extension, ie. a sitelink or the click-to-call link. However, if someone clicks on the review extensions and seller ratings the advertiser is not charged.

How to enhance ad extensions

Most of the optimisation is done by Google when it comes to ad extensions but there are a few things advertisers can do to ensure their extensions are up to scratch and are helping their ads, rather than hindering them.

  • Sitelinks:
    • Try to have at least 6 (max 20) active sitelinks for desktop and mobile
    • Keep them short and concise
    • If some of your sitelinks aren’t getting many impressions it’s because Google is overlooking them so these are the ones that require attention
    • Add additional information (2 lines of 35 character description) – these won’t always show with the sitelink but can provide the user with even more information when they do
    • Mobile-preferred sitelinks – add these but think about the different frame of mind of a user on a mobile and make the text appeal to them
  • Call extensions:
    • Make sure these are only showing when you have someone available to answer the call – you don’t want to spend money on a call that cannot be answered
  • Callout extensions:
    • Use these to highlight features of your product or business, ie. Free Delivery, Next Day Delivery etc
    • Have more than 2
    • Keep them short and concise
    • Don’t repeat what’s in your ad

See how your ad extensions are performing

In the ad extensions tab (or the Ads & extensions section, if you are using the new interface, and then the Extensions tab) you can see how many impressions and clicks (where applicable) that your extensions have received.

When looking at sitelinks, to see when someone clicked on a sitelink, rather than the headline of the ad you must segment by click type:

However, to see which sitelink was clicked on your must go to Google Analytics: