While bids are an essential component of PPC ad performance, paying more for ads won’t deliver any long-term performance gains. First and foremost, Google rewards ads that have a good user experience.
So how can you make sure your ads are worthy of users’ attention? Well, with Google ad extensions.
Using the right ad extensions for your audience puts a spotlight on your ad, improves the ad experience, and increases click-through rates — without spending a single cent more from your PPC budget.
After we break down what to expect from extensions, we’ll show you when and how to use each extension type.
Let’s dive in.
What Are Google Ad Extensions?
Google Ad extensions do exactly what the name implies — they extend your ad. Ad extensions append additional information about your business to the main body of your text ad. For example, this ad from Lucidchart:
Everything highlighted in the box includes ad extensions — they communicate more information about the software, including product highlights, relevant links, and pricing.
Google serves extensions with your ad automatically, depending on the context of the search. These extra morsels of information in the ad extensions add value to the user and perform well because they match user signals like intent, location, or device.
Now you know that Google ad extensions tell users more about your product, what other benefits are there to using them?
Benefits to Using Ad Extensions
Ad Extensions have a ton of benefits for you. Here are a few of the top perks:
1. Maximized Ad Text
Before a customer clicks on an ad, there are a few things they may want to know. For instance, they may want to know your location or phone number.
But regardless of what extra information users might want to know, it’s unwise to fill your ad text with details like contact information. It’s too many wasted characters! And it wastes time manually entering all of that extra information.
By contrast, ad extensions are easy. You’ll enter this information just once, and you can enable them for any ad group or campaign you think could benefit. (We’ll go over the how a little later.)
2. Increased SERP Real-Estate
Probably the most obvious statement about Google ad extensions is that they take up more space. Take a look below:
The first ad takes up six whole lines all by itself, and they even have a “more” option with a drop-down.
Although the second ad takes up four lines instead of six, extensions with links, location, and hours add variety and color to the ad.
Finally, the third ad only used the phone number extension. While this is valuable, the ad is less impactful overall by contrast.
The takeaway: Google ad extensions are free real estate on the SERPs, and Google will use up to 4 of them at any given ad auction. Start taking up as much room as possible!
3. More Qualified Leads
Google ad extensions give a lot more information to the user up-front.
Armed with more information, only those who believe they’re a good fit for your business will engage with the ad. Most poor-quality leads will see that they’re not a great match for you and self-disqualify.
In addition to buying intent, users who click on extension ads will more likely convert on post-click landing pages since they know what to expect once they land on your site. In other words: relevant extensions = an informed, empowered user = user action.
4. Better Ad Quality
Ad extensions improve ad quality, and by extension, ad rank. One aspect of ad rank is the expected impact of ad formats (relevance, CTR, and prominence of the ad format).
From Google directly, having ad extensions will automatically increase your Ad Rank. Google favors them because it allows Google to offer a better variety of ad formats and include more relevant information for the searcher.
In summary, since ad extensions are larger ads designed for relevance and improve expected CTR, Google rates the format as a whole more favorably.
So a higher CTR means a higher ad rank and a higher ad rank…
5. Could Save You Money
If you’ve followed along to this point, then you’ll know that using ad extensions will raise your ad rank and can take up more space on the page.
Both of these factors increase your Click Through Rate, which impacts quality score positively. Fortunately, all of this culminates in a lower cost-per-click (CPC).
The lower your CPC, the less you’re paying per click. And the less you’re paying per click, the less you could potentially pay per conversion. The less you’re spending for a lead, the more money you’re making for less.
Do you get it? Good. Let’s move on.
What Are The Types of Google Ad Extensions?
Each extension type is a building block of extra information about your business. Currently, there are 10 unique manual ad extensions you can use for your ads, including:
- Callout extensions*
- Structured snippets*
- Call extensions
- Lead form extensions (beta)
- Location extensions
- Affiliate location extensions
- Price extensions
- App extensions
- Promotion extensions
*Sitelinks, callout extensions, and structured snippets are universal extensions. Universal extensions are ad extensions that Google recommends every advertiser use.
Of course, you can use as many extensions as makes sense for your business… but which types make sense for your business?
Let’s learn a little more about each ad extension type, so you know when to use them.
1. Sitelink extensions
Sitelink extensions add additional links under the main text ad in search. These links direct users to other pages on your site you want them to visit.
In the example above, users can click on the main branded link in the header or visit Pricing & Packages or Success Stories directly. These links make users take fewer steps to get what they’re searching for, decreasing friction and bounce rate and encouraging conversions.
Sometimes, sitelinks drop the descriptions and just show the link headlines:
When you add sitelinks as an extension, follow these best practices:
- More is more: Sitelinks won’t show unless you have enough content on your site for two. You should set up 8-10 active sitelinks in each campaign.
- Link-page match: Your sitelink title should describe the page content. No ambiguous titles. And don’t send people to your home-page and title the sitelink “Services.”
- Best performers: Link directly to pages that convert or perform well.
- Your site only: Extensions should go to your website; don’t try to sneak another domain into your ad.
Great pages for sitelinks include contact us pages, testimonial pages, and pricing/offers pages. For eCommerce sites, you have many more options for sending customers to category pages or specifics pages.
2. Callout extension
Nope, not “throw her under the bus” call out — “shout it from the rooftops” call out.
In other words, callout extensions are 25-character snips of text describing the most exciting and valuable qualities of your business, products, or services.
So if you have free in-store pick up, free shipping, or pride yourself on your ethically sourced materials, callout extensions are for you.
Remember to follow these callout extension best practices:
- Short and sweet: You only have 25 characters — make it count! And use 6 per campaign.
- Use fragments: Google made these intentionally short, so it should be scannable. “Comfortable treatment” rather than “We provide comfortable treatment.”
- Broad appeal: All callout extensions need to apply to the entire offering you advertise for.
- Numbers and specifics: “Locations Nearby” is shorter but not as concrete or compelling as “3 convenient locations.”
For more information on callout extensions, check out our in-depth guide.
3. Structured snippet extension
If callout extensions highlight your business’s best big-picture elements, structured snippets zoom in on specific sneak-peaks you want users to know about an offered product or range of products and services.
The main benefit of structured snippets is more qualified leads. Why? Because when people already know about specific information on what you want to give them, they’re primed to convert once they click and land on your site.
Use structured snippets to communicate specific amenities, types or categories, and destinations or locations. Additionally, follow these best practices:
- Prioritize value: only include information that truly attracts or helps new customers. Use at least 2, ideally 4, structured snippets per headline.
- Header-Snippet match: don’t just copy-paste a list of general snippets every time. Match the amenity, type of product or service, or location to the headline you are advertising with.
How to save ad text with structured snippets
Instead of using ad text space to list details about what you offer, like “chiropractic services, massage therapy, spinal decompression, injury services,” compile that list into a service catalog and apply it to all your ads. Google lets you apply up to ten types of one category:
We’ve compiled this cheat sheet below for each header type, the extension name and description, good examples, and bad examples.
4. Call extension
The call extension is a lifesaver for businesses that want calls from customers. You can put your phone number directly in the ad, so the friction between a lead and your business is basically zero.
A call extension works well for this Attorney’s office, which generates leads from free consultation calls.
On mobile, call extensions allow users to call you directly with a single click.
This option makes it more convenient for people to reach you and usually generates more qualified leads.
And if you’re not available 24/7 to take calls? No worries. Call extensions allow you to specify your availability schedule down to the hour. They won’t show up outside of those times.
Just remember to:
- Enable phone call conversations reporting so you can measure performance.
- Provide a great experience on your end. If customers call you and get a lackluster response from the front desk (this includes waiting to return their call for more than an hour), that’s on you! The success of all calls — but especially ones you pay for — will depend on how well you train your staff. You got this!
If you’re looking for more detail in your phone tracking, we recommend CallRail or Invoca as great tools.
5. Lead form extension
We were all sad when Google retired Message extensions from Google Ads at the start of 2020, but we’re hoping lead form extensions will perform just as well.
Lead form extensions are the newest form of Google Ad extensions and are still in Beta. Like the old message extensions, lead form extensions allow users on the SERPs to contact your business in just a few clicks, directly on your ad.
That’s right. A potential customer doesn’t even have to navigate to your site. They’re able to submit information from a customized form directly on your ad, and you can contact that lead as soon as possible. Currently, you can get information like:
- Phone Number
- ZIP or Postal Code
- State / Province
- Company Name
- Job title
- Work email
- Work phone number
That’s a lot of valuable information, and lead gen companies everywhere should hop on the Lead Form extension train whenever possible.
6. Location extension
A location extension is a must-have for any brick-and-mortar that requires the customer to come to you.
If you get lost as much as I do, you’ve probably needed this extension type before. It drops a business address, phone number, and map with the ad text. On mobile, you get a link that opens up a maps app.
Obviously, location extensions are not for online-only businesses. However, if you do operate out of a brick-and-mortar location(s), this extension type can increase the likelihood that users will find, visit you, and make in-person purchases.
When you use location extensions, make sure you:
- Keep contact information and addresses up-to-date.
- Use bid modifiers for users near your business’s location. Competitive bids for users already in the area increase the odds that your ad is served, and location extension is seen.
Note: be aware that you might not benefit from a location extension if you offer a service where you travel to the customer’s location. It might hurt performance, as people will assume they have to visit you to get your service.
Keep an eye on how your conversions perform before and after adding a location extension.
7. Affiliate location extension
An affiliate refers to an individual or other organization officially connected to another. In this case, you use affiliate location extensions to direct users to other locations that are authorized to sell your product.
Let’s say you want to sell a line of essential oils facemasks through your website. However, you also sell your product with a retail partner — like Sephora. You want users to know that they can buy your product through that location. You’d then link the stores that your product is available at as an ad extension.
This will allow the customer to make an online purchase or visit that Sephora location to purchase. The biggest advantage here is that you’re giving customers options — to buy online from you or in-store near them.
Affiliate location extensions are best for manufacturers.
8. Price extension
Has a mechanic shop ever tried to rip you off on an oil change price? They tried with me — and failed because I saw a price extension ahead of time.
The primary value of price extensions is not to prevent your employees from deceiving customers but setting clear expectations. They inform users about pricing up front, and an informed user means that when they decide to reach out or show up to your store or website, they’re more ready to book an appointment or buy from you.
Again, pricing transparency increases trust and prepares users who click on your ad for the content on your landing page. They’ll have a higher conversion or purchase intent.
Use price extensions if you:
- Have variable pricing or tiered services
- Multiple service packages
- Lots of SKUs or options
Like structured snippet extensions, Google gives you a range of options to choose from for the type of product or service you’re selling.
And if your price isn’t exact, no worries. You can add price qualifiers to the extensions:
In the original bike example, we can see that they’re using the “from” price qualifier to advertise their lowest-priced bikes.
When you organize your account, add these ad extensions at the campaign or ad group level to make them as granular as possible.
9. App extension
If you offer a mobile app, pop this Google ad extension on here.
I mean, manually opening and searching an application on your phone is a pain. App extensions make your app more visible and make it easy for interested users to download directly from the text ad.
One other great thing about app extensions is that it’s the only way to track app downloads based on your keywords.
When you use an app extension, make sure you do these three things:
- Link your headline text to your website and the app extension to the app store.
- Add app extensions with branded and generic keywords.
- Include more keywords than just the ones trying to get app downloads.
10. Promotion extension
One of the more frustrating things as a company is to have a promotion, list it everywhere you can think of and have no one use your code or apply for the promotion.
Sure, you just got some full-priced sales, but who knows how many people didn’t purchase because they didn’t see your promotion?
This company won’t have that problem:
Against all the other competitors on the page, they were the only ones with a promotion extension, and 60% off sounds pretty good.
Promotion extensions also display your deals in an eye-catching way on mobile:
Google is pretty flexible with how you run this extension. Choose to show the extensions on specific dates, days, or hours, or pick pre-populated event tags, like back-to-school or Black Friday. They’re easy to toggle on and off, and you won’t have to make a new ad to do so.
11. BONUS: Automated ad extensions
These extensions aren’t on the list of ad extensions you can enable manually. Google runs three types of automated extensions when it thinks the extension will help your ad perform better (how nice!)
Automated ad extensions include:
- Dynamic extensions
- Seller ratings
If you want to check on the performance of your automated ad extensions, click on Extensions in the Overview tab and navigate to the All dropdown:
There, Google will show you the automated extensions it’s running for you, and you can see the stats for each one.
If you’d like to opt-out of the automated ad extensions, you can do so by going to More > Advanced Options and turning them off there.
Considering that ad extensions don’t cost anything extra and Google is hand-picking these for you, it’s a good idea to keep them on. Ad Extensions do help performance.
Let’s take a look at each type of automated extension:
There are three types of dynamic extensions: dynamic sitelinks, dynamic structured snippets, and dynamic callout extensions.
Honestly, the most significant difference between these three types of extensions and their manual twin is that Google generates the information automatically.
For dynamic structured snippets and callout extensions, Google will populate the extensions using data from your website and internal sources, and existing content (like landing pages) on your site, respectively.
Also known as stars extensions, seller ratings are the second type of automated ad extensions. They connect to various Google-approved rating systems and use data there to generate a seller rating score and 5-star rating icon.
Data sources for seller rating extensions include:
- Google Customer Reviews (GCR)
- Google-let shopping research
- Google Customer Surveys
- Third-party review sites
If you haven’t set up ratings for your business, get on that. Ratings and reviews increase trust and purchases by consumers.
How to Create Ad Extensions
Now that you have an idea of which ad extensions you want to use for your business let’s learn how to set them up in Google Ads.
From your Google Ads dashboard, click the Ads & extensions option on the left navigation bar. Select Extensions, then the All dropdown.
Under All, you’ll see which manual ad extensions are available to you. Select that type, and hit the + button.
Once selected, there are some universal settings you’ll have to choose for all extension types.
We’ll dive into those settings now.
Set Up The Add to Extension Level
When you select what ad extension you’d like to add, you need to choose which level the extension should apply: account, campaign, or ad group level.
Pro Tip: you should add extensions at the campaign or ad group level for the best results.
Work through your extensions on a campaign-by-campaign or ad-group-by-ad-group level. This includes ad extensions that you’d like to use across your entire account. Basically, adding them at the individual level helps ensure they’ll be shown more frequently.
You can toggle between campaigns and ad groups by opening the far left navigation bar. When you add extensions, customize them to be specific to each campaign or ad group.
Create New or Use Existing Ad Extensions
The second step to adding an extension is to create a new extension or use an existing one.
This is a huge time-saver for you. When you choose to use existing ad extensions, you’re shown a list of all the ad extensions you have in your account. For example, with this sitelink extension, all I have to do is check which links I want to include.
If you choose to create a new extension, you’ll need to fill out any text, contact information, description lines, or URLs Google prompts you to include.
Use Advanced Extension Options
Finally, there are Advanced Options. Don’t skip them, friend; that’s a rookie mistake.
Let’s pop open the tab and take a look:
Starting with device preference, you’ll always, always want to select Mobile. Here’s what Google has to say about the device preference:
In essence, if you want your ad extensions to appear on mobile devices, you’ll click the box.
Additionally, advanced options for ad extensions provide scheduling flexibility when the extensions should serve with your ad.
You’ll need extension scheduling in circumstances where there’s a season offer or limited-time promotion. Don’t leave it up to your memory to turn it off on time.
Want more granularity? You got it. You can also set up your extensions to only show during specific days and hours. For example, if you have a call extension, make sure to schedule it to run only when someone’s around to answer the phone.
Don’t pass the advanced options by; use them to save time and run your account smarter.
Add Google Ad Extensions to an Existing Campaign
Let’s say you have a set of ad extensions set up and performing beautifully. You decide you want to add them to other campaigns that don’t currently enable extensions.
Do you have to add extensions to each of these campaigns manually? Thankfully no, because that would be a lot of miserable work. I’ll show you how to add extensions to an existing campaign here:
1. Navigate to the Extensions page (Overview > Ads & Extensions > Extensions). If you have a specific extension type you want to add to an existing campaign, select the All dropdown and click that type. We’ll choose Sitelinks for this example.
2. Check the box next to the ad extensions you want to be added.
3. Click the Add to dropdown and click the desired level.
4. Once you select where you want to add the ad extensions, add them to as many places as you wish:
You also have the option to select as many of those extensions as you’d like to the different levels. As a note, you are limited to a total of 20 ad extensions per campaign.
How easy was that!?
Despite the initial overwhelm of so many options, you really can’t go wrong with Google ad extensions. When used appropriately, they are a great, free way to increase engagement and improve ad quality across your Google Ads account.
Here’s a highlight real for you to take away:
- Building blocks: Google ad extensions are snippets of extra information that Google will add to your text ad’s main body.
- Universal extensions: every advertiser should use universal extensions (sitelink, callout, and structured snippets).
- The magic number is 4: Google will use up to 4 ad extensions for any given ad auction, so make sure you have at least that many enabled per campaign.
- Don’t set it and forget it: keep your extensions fresh by updating text and link URLs when you make changes to sales, special offers, or product offerings.
- Always be optimizing: monitor ad extension performance at the ad group level.
No time to optimize your PPC account yourself? Contact us; we got you covered.
Evie is dedicated to keeping an eagle eye on her PPC and digital marketing accounts. When she’s not scouring through her accounts to make sure they’re flawless, she can be found ascending new heights in the local mountains or hiding inside the rock climbing gym when it’s too cold.
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