AdWords Ad Extensions: An Overview
December 17, 2010
If you’re not leveraging Google’s expanded ad formats, you may be missing out on valuable traffic and conversions. Especially for local businesses, businesses with several different products or services with their own landing pages, and e-commerce businesses, these extensions can add significant relevance (and likely value) to the relationship between a searcher and your ads. So what are these things, and how do you use and report on them?
Who What Where?
There are four ad extensions currently available to most advertisers in the AdWords interface:
- Location Extensions
Allows you to add address/map extensions to your ads which will show with your ads to users in the geographic area of a listed address. You can either add addresses by linking your AdWords account to your business’s Google Places account, or add up to 9 addresses in one location extension manually within the AdWords account.
- Phone Extensions
Allows mobile users to click on a phone number within your ad to call you directly. If you have call metrics enabled (AdWords call metrics is a limited-availability feature which essentially provides unique trackable phone numbers for each a campaign) your phone extension ads will appear to both mobile and desktop searchers.
- Product Extensions
Allows you to associate specific products from your Google Merchant Center account with a campaign. You have to link your Merchant Center and AdWords accounts to enable. Jen wrote about these in much detail earlier this month, so see her post about both AdWords product extensions and PLAs for fabulous info.
- Sitelinks Extensions
Allows you to add links to deeper, more specialized pages within your website.
There are also “Seller Ratings” extensions available for some advertisers based on reviews and ratings on Google Product search- if you’re interested in qualifying your business to show these extensions, see Google’s listing of requirements for seller rating extension availability.
Currently, these extensions are only available at the campaign level, with the exception of location extensions. It is possible to add location extensions at the individual ad level.
For location extensions, you can add up to 9 business addresses manually, or link to a Google Places account and all of its associated addresses. If you have multiple business locations, remember that addresses outside a searcher’s “relevant” geographic area as determined by Google will not show. For sitelinks and product extensions, if you have several different audiences or product types, separating them into campaigns will allow you to offer relevant and properly targeted product extensions or sitelinks to deeper pages. If you are using different phone numbers for different initiatives for call tracking, separating your different categories into campaigns will also make phone extension addition and tracking more straightforward.
There is not extra cost incurred with using these extensions in terms of cost per click, so don’t be afraid to experiment with their addition. Google provides the caveat that these extensions are available at their delivery discretion for high-quality ads, so don’t be surprised if performance is somewhat inconsistent, as their determination of position and quality will influence whether or not your extensions appear with your ads, and aside from bid management and quality score management to keep positions high, it will be difficult for you to “make” Google show your extensions.
Unfortunately, the only of these extensions you can add and manage within AdWords Editor are Location Extensions at this point. On the bright side, you can add the same location extension to multiple campaigns or ads within Editor, as well as upload map icons or images. Adding the other types is a little more time-intensive as they’ll need to be implemented within the online interface, but it’s not horrible as once you create one, it’s saved and can be applied to other campaigns without re-creation each time.
Special consideration should be given to product extensions, as when you add filters to your Google Merchant Center feed to control which of your products are eligible to appear in product extensions, you will also restrict the products eligible to appear in any product listing ads you may have set up for the same campaign.
Remember as well to specialize sitelink and product extensions based on the search queries and proven user interest of visitors to each campaign if possible. If you have more general keywords in a campaign and have data that indicates that most visitors have an interest in a particular set of products or services, test adding product extensions or sitelinks that will show those particular products or services to searchesr to increase CTR and conversion rates for those general campaigns. Also, keep in mind that Google decides how many/which sitelinks or products to show, within the parameters of which are available that you’ve set.
Yay! These ad extensions sound great! Show people the products or services they’re looking for! Demonstrate to them that you’re local! Let them call you from the car! But. In reality, until recently you could not see demonstrable ROI in AdWords, because even if you have perfectly functioning conversion tracking, AdWords won’t report on conversions generated by any of the ad extensions from the Ad Extensions tab, only data such as clicks, impressions, CTR, CPC, etc. That means if you wanted to track the results of user interaction with the extensions, you got to play with messy Analytics tracking URL parameters and filters and call tracking systems.
Thankfully that’s no longer the case, and as of late November, you can segment your stats at the campaign, ad group, or keyword level by “click type”, which will report on all relevant data, including conversions, for each product, sitelink, or phone extension type you have enabled. Remember that you will not be able to see how many people clicked on each individual internal page linked to, or on which particular product, via this reporting, so if you want to gather data at that level, you’re still going to have to use Google Analytics (or internal analytics) tracking to collect information about each page or product. For a client who I have implemented site links for, I’ve tagged each sitelinked URL with a unique parameter describing it as a sitelink URL and specifying which program it covers, and applied the same set of sitelinks across multiple campaigns to which it is relevant. This way Google will report on conversions at the campaign level, and I can use internal URL tracking data to make determinations about specific URL performance when integrated as a sitelink.
I am not sure how Google provides conversion metrics for phone extensions, because it seems unlikely that phone calls from mobile devices will likely lead to a conversion type trackable with AdWords conversion code, even though they are likely to provide substantial value, but for the others the data tracking path is fairly straightforward.
There also isn’t a click type segment currently available for location extensions, and data (minus conversion data) is only available for these under the Ad Extensions tab. I think there must be a way to track these in Analytics, but I am not sure how the URL tracking or filters would need to be set up to distinguish traffic as coming from both a location extension AND AdWords, rather than simply AdWords or another source, such as Google Maps. If you do, please comment! Additionally, if you have any experience with any of these extension types and want to share best practice ideas or issues you’ve experienced, please do.
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