The five W’s… I’m sure some of you may remember these from grade school as who, what, when, where and why. Collectively, they comprise the basic formula for getting the complete story on a particular subject. In fact, this is what I hope to achieve in my coverage of AdWords ad extensions this month. We had a few of our dedicated readers request coverage of this topic awhile back as well, so it’s a nice 2-for-1! For the purpose of this 2-part post, we will focus on the different types of ad extensions available in AdWords and apply the nifty 5 W’s formula to each in order to get a better feel for how they can enhance our ads.


Essentially, ad extensions give potential customers more reasons to click on your ad. Whether you are trying to include your address and phone number, links to key areas of your website or product information, extensions offer a variety of ways to increase the relevancy of your ad to users. In this way, they can have a direct impact on your click-through rates, while simultaneously allowing you to take up more real estate on the SERPs. Who could argue with that!?

Let’s take a look at 4 of the 8 extension types AdWords has to offer (the other 4 types will be covered in a follow-up post later this month!):

Location Extensions

  • Who Should Use Them? Restaurants, retail stores, local businesses, or anyone with a brick-and-mortar business location.
  • What Do They Do? Similar to business cards, location extensions allow you to easily share your location and contact information with users searching for your brand. Location extensions will show if Google detects that the customer is located near your targeted location, or if they detect location-specific terms in the query, such as “indianapolis restaurants”, that indicate interest in a particular area you’ve targeted.
  • When Should I Use Them? If you’re a business owner that wants customers to visit a nearby physical location. For example, a local pizzeria might utilize location extensions to encourage tourists to stop in for dinner.
  • Where Can They Appear? Google properties like Google Maps, Search Network and Search Network partner sites. They are also eligible to appear on high-end smartphone devices as well.
  • Why Are They Beneficial? Location extensions are great for encouraging more business in localized settings. They enable you to help nearby consumers find or call your nearest storefront and even shows your available locations on a corresponding map as well. In this way, your business becomes even more accessible to potential customers.

Call Extensions

  • Who Should Use Them? Insurance companies, restaurants, retail stores, or any business that can capture and nurture customers over the phone.
  • What Do They Do? Appends a clickable phone number to your ad when targeting smartphone devices, making it easy for users to inquire about your product or service. Call extensions will also show on desktops and tablets if you’re opted into call metrics.
  • When Should I Use Them? If you have a dedicated call staff or you prefer to interact with your customers via phone conversations. For example, insurance companies might utilize call extensions to encourage potential customers to speak with client representatives over the phone, who might be able to better describe the services they’re offering and address any questions/concerns users may have.
  • Where Can They Appear? Google Search and Search partner sites. They are also eligible to appear on high-end smartphone devices as well.
  • Why Are They Beneficial? Call extensions are a great way to encourage customers to call, rather than visit your website (although both may occur). Moreover, the click-to-call feature enables detailed reporting and allows for users with high-end mobile devices to contact your company with one simple click of a button. Google will even provide a forwarding number to use if you’re interested in tracking performance results of your calls.

Sitelink Extensions

  • Who Should Use Them? Clothing retailers, automobile manufacturers, or pretty much any business that has multiple landing pages they want to incorporate.
  • What Do They Do? Adds 2, 4 or 6 additional links beneath your ad when viewed on a desktop or tablet. For smartphone displays, your ad can show up to 2 additional links.
  • When Should I Use Them? Whenever you have enough content available to make good use of them. However, be sure to use unique destination URLs with each of your sitelinks, as Google is now enforcing this as part of their recently updated policy. For example, an online clothing retailer might use sitelinks to point users to the specific product or product category they’re interested in. Also, be sure to keep your link text short and sweet, as character length can affect the number of sitelinks that appear with your ad.
  • Where Can They Appear? Google Search Network and Search Network partner sites. Keep in mind that your ads won’t always show sitelinks and the format may vary. You can increase the odds of having them appear with higher Quality Scores and bidding for the top ad positions.
  • Why Are They Beneficial? Sitelinks are a great way to boost click-through rates and increase the relevancy of your ad to potential customers. You can highlight price points of certain products or allow them to quickly see popular sections of your site. Aside from that, sitelinks are extremely easy to update and help you take up more space on the search results pages.

Product Extensions

  • Who Should Use Them? Any ecommerce retailer with a variety of online product offerings.
  • What Do They Do? If your ad appears and your Google Merchant Center account contains one or more products that are relevant to the search query, product extensions may show the images, titles, and prices of your closest matching products underneath your ad. Additionally, when a customer clicks a product image or link, they’ll be taken to the destination page listed for that product in your Merchant Center account.
  • When Should I Use Them? Whenever you have an online product inventory you’d like to showcase. However, be sure to set up a Google Merchant Center account beforehand, since this is where the product data is extracted. For example, (above) uses Product Extensions to showcase a variety of soccer cleat options. In this case, the name and price points are included underneath the ad.
  • Where Can They Appear? Google Search and when viewed on high-end mobile devices using full Internet-enabled browsers. Product extensions won’t appear on other Search Network sites, or on Display Network sites.
  • Why Are They Beneficial? Product extensions are a great way to highlight select products that potential customers may be interested in. Remember that these are dynamically extracted from your Merchant Center account in response to user search queries. In this way, these can be a great way to boost click-through rates and ecommerce sales. With product names, price data, and the occasional pictures, customers become much more informed just by seeing the ad, which can save you money on wasted click costs as well.

Closing Thoughts

So we’ve covered 4 of the 8 extensions available in AdWords so far. Hopefully you’re starting to pick up on some of the reasons these are essential for any PPC account if you haven’t already. But now it’s my turn to ask about how you utilize these 4 AdWords extensions in your own accounts? Feel free to describe any of your experiences in the comments below. Be sure to check back later this month as I cover the remaining 4 extensions. Thanks for reading!