Editor’s Note: This article is a part of our Hero Conf guest post contest. Based on a combination of pageviews and editorial review from the PPC Hero writing staff, a winner will be chosen from the finalists we post throughout the week. Today’s post comes to us from Paula Spencer, Online Campaigns Manager at Effective Spend.
It’s the beginning of a new year, the holiday shopping season is over (finally!) and there couldn’t be a better time to give some tender love and care to your campaigns. Google has already given us a preview of how ads will change going into 2014 with the possibility of yellow ad labels and PLA’s making their move to the top of the SERPs, but most importantly, Google has very quietly updated their ad rank algorithm. Now Google is factoring in the expected impact of ad extensions on CTR. This means that if you’re not keeping up with the latest and greatest ad extension features, your campaigns could suffer higher CPCs, lower ad rank, and fewer impressions.
And now that we all have a bit of campaign downtime, why don’t we all complete an ad extensions audit? Sitelinks, call extensions, and social extensions (remember Google+?) have always carried a great amount of ad rank “weight” but now there are a few more options available to give extra strength to your ad rank such as image extensions, enhanced sitelink extensions, and review extensions. Let’s take a tour through each of these new features, and discover how these could possibly work for your 2014 PPC campaigns.
First Up: Image Extensions
Image extensions are still a beta product, but more and more big brands are getting a hold of them, and they look amazing! Google loves them because they boost click through rate and they provide more value to the searcher. Images can be used on up to 5 ad groups, and will be shown when you’re in first position, however, Google still decides on when your image extensions will be displayed. Some of the requirements to keep in mind before submitting your images to the approval process are: no animation is allowed, the images must not have white space or company logo present, only the 16:9 aspect ratio is allowed, and the images must be found between 1-2 clicks of the destination URL. P.S. This is great way to gain some additional ad space from your top competitors.
You currently can’t track which images are receiving the most clicks but you are able to get click through rate, impression, and conversion data on image clicks using the segment by click type feature within the AdWords main interface.
Next Batter Up: Enhanced Sitelinks
Just when everyone thought sitelinks were old news, Google decided to put a glitch in the matrix by allowing enhanced sitelinks. Advertisers can now utilize up to 70 characters of additional text below each sitelink, perfect for promotions or product descriptions. This is another great gift from Google as it gives your business additional paid ad copy real estate, further increasing your chances for a higher CTR. Another added benefit, you can send your searcher to a different landing page URL that might be more relevant to the searcher than your physical ad, potentially a sale page, or a holiday packages page, even a Contact Us page.
Getting four or more sitelinks to appear will occur mostly on less competitive and branded keywords. Usually on more competitive searches, you will see two enhanced sitelinks or the traditional four sitelinks with no additional text. For this reason, it is important to rank your sitelinks in priority order:
Last to the Plate: Review Extensions
This feature is now out of the beta stage and available to all English advertisers across the globe. Review extensions allow for a paraphrased quote, positive review, award, or accolade right below your ad text. This gives your ad more credibility and appeals more to the average searcher who might still be in the “research” phase of the purchase process. The advertiser is still charged for the click on the review extension, but the searcher is directed to a webpage where the review can be found, giving the searcher more positive information about the advertised product or service.
The only tricky thing about review extensions is that they cannot be from user review sites such as Yelp! or CitySearch, and must be easily found within the published resource link to expedite the approval process. Also if you submit multiple reviews, the first one to be approved will be the one that shows with your ad, so submit wisely!
There you have it, an overview of some of the newer ad extension features available in AdWords. The more you utilize these features the more likely you are to see higher impressions, an increase in CTR, lower CPC rates and happier clients, win, win, win, and win!