The Growing Importance of AdWords Ad Extensions

April 17th, 2014 by John Callery

BLOG-adextSince their introduction in 2009, Google AdWords ad extensions have been a powerful and effective PPC advertising feature. The various types of ad extensions allow advertisers to show additional information about their business within ads, such as an address, phone number, links to additional pages within their website and more. When AdWords transitioned to enhanced campaigns last year, they also introduced upgraded ad extensions that offered a number of improvements when compared to their predecessors. These improvements included:

  • Added control over which devices AdWords ad extensions will show on
    • The new “Device Preference” option allows advertisers to show their extensions on mobile devices more often if that strategy aligns with their advertising goals.
    • This can be particularly effective for call extensions, as well as sitelink extensions that lead to mobile-optimized landing pages.
  • Ad Extension Scheduling
    • Upgraded call and sitelink extensions can now be scheduled to show during specific dates, days of the week, or even times of the day.
    • ┬áThis allows advertisers to align their ad extension schedule with business hours or special events, such as a sale or promotion.
  • Advanced Reporting for Sitelinks
    • Sitelink extension reports are more detailed and precise.
    • Google AdWords Advertisers now have the ability to manage and track individual sitelinks, rather than only being able to view combined data for all sitelinks.
  • New Conversion Types
    • AdWords Call Extensions now include an option to count phone calls as a conversion if the calls exceed a certain length.
    • This allows advertisers to compare the value of call conversions to more traditional conversion types.

These added features offer a much more granular view of AdWords ad extensions and their performance, allowing advertisers to optimize extensions better and make sure their extensions are effective in regard to ROI. The addition of these features highlighted the growing importance of ad extensions, and it appears that this trend will persist as Google AdWords continues to evolve.

Updated Google AdWords Ad Rank Formula
Near the end of 2013, Google announced that they had updated their Ad Rank formula, which they use to determine the positions of different ads on the page following each search. Previously, Ad Rank was calculated using a keyword’s Max CPC and Quality score. Ad Rank now also considers a third factor when determining ad position: the expected impact of ad extensions and formats. According to Google, they now “consider such factors as the relevance, click-through rates, and prominence of ad extensions” when calculating Ad Rank.

How will this impact your PPC advertising on Google?
If you are using a certain keyword, and one of your competitors is also advertising on that keyword with the same bid and the same quality score, Google will prioritize the ad with ad extensions. Therefore, something as simple as the addition of a call extension or sitelink extensions can give you a distinct advantage over your competitors in the ad auction without the need to bid higher. This can help improve ad position, which often increases click-through rates and helps generate more traffic and conversions, without the risk of accruing any additional, unnecessary cost.

Ad extensions have always been an important feature since they were introduced, and they can certainly improve PPC performance and ROI. With the upgraded Google AdWords ad extensions that were rolled out last year, as well as the announcement of the new Ad Rank formula, it appears that Google will continue to place more and more emphasis on ad extensions moving forward. If you aren’t using extensions in your ads already, it might be the time to take a closer look at the added benefits they can offer your PPC advertising.

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