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“Always deliver more than expected.” This immortal quote by Google co-founder Larry Page is often easier said than done. However, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms give you a very simple way to make it happen – ad extensions. Best of all, they improve the user experience and your PPC results. In our ad extensions guide for beginners, we’ll walk you through how they work, different types of extensions, best practices, and troubleshooting tips, so you can get your ads to start performing better right away.

What PPC Ad Extensions Are and How They Work

Ad extensions are additional pieces of information that can be included in your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to make your ads more helpful and appealing. They’re designed to expand your advertisement, giving potential customers more reasons to choose your business. This could include more links to specific parts of your website, business location information, phone numbers, or even product images. The primary goal of ad extensions is to improve the performance of your ads by maximizing ad visibility and increasing click-through rates (CTR).

Types of Ad Extensions

There are several types of ad extensions, each serving different purposes. Here’s a quick rundown.

Types of Ad Extensions

Sitelink Extensions

These allow you to add additional links beneath your ad. This is particularly useful for directing potential customers to other relevant pages on your site, such as specific products or services.

Call Extensions

With call extensions, you can add your phone number to the ad, enabling mobile users to call you directly with just one click.

Location Extensions

These show your business’s address and phone number, thus helping local customers find your physical location easily.

Callout Extensions

Callout extensions let you include extra descriptive text in your ad, such as “Free shipping” or “24/7 Customer Support.”

Structured Snippet Extensions

These provide a way to highlight features of a specific product or describe the range of services or products your business offers, enabling users to assess the fit of your services or products before clicking the ad.

Image Extensions

Image extensions let you add images to your text ads, making them more visually appealing.

Price Extensions

These extensions display prices for your products or services directly in your ad, helping users make informed decisions right from the search results.

Promotion Extensions

These extensions display either a flat-rate or percentage-based discount to highlight ongoing promotions and sales, giving users an additional reason to click.

Seller Ratings Extensions

With seller ratings extensions, you can display your aggregate seller rating from various sources around the net. This allows you to start building trust and allow users to become comfortable with your brand before they click your ad.

Lead Form Extensions

These extensions eliminate the need for users to visit your landing page. Instead, they request more info, a quote, a demo, and more, directly from the search results.

App Extensions

If you have a mobile app, you can invite users to download it via the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store with an app extension.

Affiliate Location Extensions

If other businesses sell your products, you can use affiliate location extensions to show users the closest locations to them that offer them.

Benefits of Ad Extensions in PPC

The value of using ad extensions in PPC campaigns is significant. They not only make your ads more prominent and more noticeable but also provide potential customers with useful, additional information, which can be a decisive factor in their journey. Importantly, ad extensions often improve your ad’s CTR. Sitelinks, for example, boost clicks by 20 percent, Google reports. Google’s ad ranking algorithm also considers the expected impact of extensions. Therefore, using ad extensions effectively can lead to higher ad placements and lower cost-per-click (CPC) rates. In short, ad extensions are a powerful tool to increase the efficiency of your PPC campaigns, driving better results while often lowering your overall advertising costs.

Implementing Common Ad Extensions

Some of the most common ad extensions for beginners to implement are sitelink, call, and location extensions. Below, we’ll cover some additional background on them and tips for implementation.

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions let you direct users to specific pages on your website beyond the main landing page. This is ideal for guiding users directly to high-interest areas, such as special offers, product categories, or important information about your business.

Tips for Implementing Sitelink Extensions

  • Relevance: Choose links that are relevant to your ad and offer additional value to your potential customers. For example, if you’re advertising a financial company, you might include sitelinks to your services, online quotes, and contact information.
  • Concise Descriptions: Each sitelink can have a short description. Use this space wisely to briefly explain what users will find on the page, encouraging more targeted clicks.
  • Seasonality and Promotions: Regularly update your sitelinks to reflect seasonal offers, promotions, or specific marketing campaigns to keep your ads fresh and relevant.

Call Extensions

Call extensions let you add a phone number to your ad, enabling users to call you directly. This is especially useful for businesses where immediate contact can lead to conversions, like service providers or emergency repair businesses.

Tips for Implementing Call Extensions

  • Mobile Optimization: Ensure that your call extensions are optimized for mobile users, as they are more likely to use this feature.
  • Business Hours: Configure your call extensions to only appear during your business hours to ensure that someone is available to answer the call.
  • Tracking and Measurement: Utilize call tracking to measure the effectiveness of your call extensions. This can help you understand how many calls are generated from your ads and the quality of these leads.

Location Extensions

Location extensions display your business address, phone number, and a map marker alongside your ad. This is perfect for local businesses looking to drive foot traffic.

Tips for Implementing Location Extensions

  • Google Business: Connect your Google Ads account with your Google Business (formerly Google My Business or GMB) listing to enable location extensions. This ensures that your business information is accurate and consistent across Google services.
  • Multiple Locations: If you have more than one location, Google Ads will show the location nearest to the user, making your ad more relevant and increasing the likelihood of a visit.
  • Local Keywords: Pair your location extensions with ads that include local keywords to increase relevancy further and improve ad performance.

Advanced Ad Extension Strategies

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can move into advanced strategies for improving ad performance with extensions. These require additional knowledge to effectively convey your value proposition and directly engage with your target audience. Structured snippet extensions and callout extensions are powerful tools in this regard. Let’s explore how to maximize their impact.

Structured Snippet Extensions

Structured snippets allow you to showcase a specific aspect of your products or services by listing them. This helps users grasp the range or diversity of what you offer at a glance.

Tips for Implementing Snippet Extensions

  • Highlight Unique Selling Points: Use structured snippets to highlight areas where your business excels, such as a wide range of services, specialties, or product categories. For instance, a healthcare provider might list “Pediatrics, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Geriatrics” to show the breadth of their care.
  • Complement Your Ad Message: Make sure your structured snippets complement the overall message of your ad. If your ad focuses on a specific promotion or product category, use snippets to add additional context or detail that reinforces your ad’s main point.
  • Segment By Audience: Tailor your structured snippets to different audience segments. If you’re running multiple campaigns targeting different customer groups, customize your snippets to match the interests and intents of each group.

Callout Extensions

Callout extensions are short, descriptive texts that can be added to your ad to highlight important information about your business, products, or services, like free shipping, 24/7 customer service, or exclusive offers.

Tips for Implementing Callout Extensions

  • Emphasize Benefits and Features: Use callouts to emphasize the key benefits or features that make your offer stand out. Consider what matters most to your customers—free returns, warranty information, or same-day shipping—and highlight these points.
  • Test and Optimize: Experiment with different callout texts to see what resonates most with your audience. Regular testing and optimization can help you identify the most effective messages that drive clicks and conversions.
  • Seasonal or Time-sensitive Offers: Leverage callouts to promote time-sensitive offers or seasonal deals. Updating your callouts to reflect current promotions or seasonal messages can make your ads more relevant and timely, encouraging more immediate action from potential customers.

Ad Extension Best Practices

Applying a few best practices for ad extension use is crucial for enhancing engagement and driving the performance of your PPC campaigns.

Optimizing Ad Extensions for Greater Engagement

You won’t necessarily increase clicks just by enhancing ads with extensions. Just like your ads, extensions must be optimized in order to be effective. Below, we’ll cover a few components of ad extension optimization.

Relevance and Precision

Tailor your ad extensions to the content of your ads and the interests of your target audience. The more relevant your extensions are to the search intent, the higher the likelihood of engagement. For instance, if you’re running ads for a digital marketing course, use sitelink extensions to direct users to course outlines, testimonials, and registration pages.

Utilize All Relevant Extensions

Don’t limit yourself to just one type of extension. Different users may be attracted to different types of information (contact details, product specifics, images, etc.). By using a variety of extensions, you increase your chances of engaging a broader audience.

Clear and Concise Messaging

Whether it’s a callout extension highlighting “Free Shipping” or a structured snippet showcasing your service categories, keep your messages clear and to the point. Users often scan quickly, so your value proposition needs to be immediately understandable.

Update Regularly

Markets and consumer interests can change rapidly. Keep your ad extensions up-to-date with current offers, products, services, and relevant information. Seasonal updates are particularly effective for maintaining engagement.

A/B Testing and Performance Analysis

While many advertising platforms integrate A/B testing to some degree, it’s essential to test and track results on your own, too.

A/B Testing (Split Testing)

Experiment with different types of ad extensions, messages, and formats to see what works best. For example, test different callout extensions to see which leads to higher click-through or conversion rates. Make sure to only change one variable at a time for accurate results.

Use Analytics Tools

Utilize tools like Google Ads’ built-in analytics to track the performance of your ad extensions. Monitor metrics such as CTR,  conversion rate, and cost per conversion. This data will help you understand which extensions are contributing most to your campaign goals.

Performance Analysis

Review your ad extension performance regularly. Look for patterns in what works well and what doesn’t. For example, consider incorporating more visual elements into your campaign if you notice higher engagement with ads that use image extensions.

Competitive Analysis

Look at your competitors’ ads and see which extensions they are using. While direct copying is not recommended, understanding their strategies can give you insights into what might work well in your industry.

Iterative Optimization

Ad extension optimization is not a one-time task. It requires ongoing adjustments based on performance analysis and changing market conditions. Keep refining your approach based on the data you collect.

Troubleshooting Common Ad Extension Issues

Troubleshooting Common Ad Extension Issues

Implementing ad extensions can significantly boost your PPC campaign’s performance, but it’s not without potential pitfalls. Below, we’ll explore some common issues businesses encounter with ad extensions and how to address them.

Disapproved Ad Extensions

Ad extensions, like ads themselves, go through an approval process by the ad platform (such as Google Ads) to ensure they comply with advertising policies. Extensions can be disapproved for various reasons, including:

  • Policy Non-Compliance: This includes the use of prohibited content, copyright infringement, or misleading information.
  • Improper Formatting: Extensions that don’t meet the specific formatting guidelines, such as character limits or use of symbols, may be rejected.
  • Irrelevant or Inaccurate Information: Extensions must be relevant to the ad and landing page content and provide accurate information to users.

Strategies to Address Approval Challenges

  • Review Platform Guidelines Carefully: Before creating your ad extensions, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the advertising policies of the platform you’re using. Each platform has its own set of rules regarding what is and isn’t allowed.
  • Ensure Relevance and Accuracy: Make sure all information in your extensions is relevant to your ad and landing page and is accurate. For instance, if you’re using location extensions, ensure the address matches your business’s actual location.
  • Proper Formatting: Adhere to character limits and formatting requirements for each type of extension. Avoid excessive use of capitalization, symbols, or numbers that don’t adhere to the platform’s guidelines.
  • Clear and Direct Language: Use clear and straightforward language in your extensions. Avoid making vague claims or using jargon that could be confusing to users.
  • Appealing Disapprovals: If your ad extension is disapproved, review the feedback provided by the ad platform to understand the reason. Most platforms offer a way to appeal disapprovals. Ensure you address the specific issue cited before appealing.
  • Contact Support for Clarification: If the reason for disapproval isn’t apparent or you believe your extension was wrongly disapproved, don’t hesitate to contact the platform’s support team for more information. They can provide specific guidance on how to correct the issue.
  • Regular Review and Update: Ad policies and guidelines can change over time. Regularly review and update your active extensions as needed to ensure they remain compliant with current policies.

Low Click-Through Rates

Despite adding extensions, some businesses see no improvement or even a decrease in CTR.

Strategies to Address Low Click-Through Rates

This often means the extensions are not compelling enough or irrelevant to the audience. Review your extensions to ensure they offer value to the user. Consider customizing ad extensions more, testing different messages, ensuring they’re closely related to the search intent, and using A/B testing to refine what works best.

Ad Extensions Not Showing

Sometimes, ad extensions don’t appear with your ads, which can be frustrating and make you question whether they’re even working at all.

Strategies to Address Ad Extensions Not Showing

  • Ad Rank: Google’s decision to show ad extensions depends partly on Ad Rank. Improve your quality score and bid amount to enhance your ad’s visibility and the likelihood of extensions being shown.
  • Relevance and Ad Extension Setup: Ensure your extensions are relevant to your ad content and target keywords. Also, check that you’ve set them up correctly in your campaign settings.

Incorrect or Outdated Information

Extensions with outdated or incorrect information can lead to better user experiences and better clicks.

Strategies to Address Incorrect or Outdated Information

Regularly review and update your ad extensions. This includes checking sitelinks for changes in URLs, updating contact information in call extensions, and ensuring any promotional offers in callouts or structured snippets are current.

Ignoring Mobile Users

Not optimizing ad extensions for mobile users can lead to missed opportunities, especially since 63 percent of searches now occur on mobile devices, per Statista.

Strategies to Address Mobile Friendliness

Optimize call extensions and location extensions for mobile users. Ensure your landing pages are mobile-friendly, and consider the context in which mobile users might encounter your ads.

Not Utilizing Extension Scheduling

Businesses often set up extensions but need to remember to schedule them appropriately, leading to irrelevant information being displayed at certain times.

Strategies to Address Scheduling

Use scheduling to ensure your extensions are only shown when they’re most relevant. For example, call extensions should only be active during business hours when someone is available to answer.

Failure to Measure Performance

Not tracking the performance of ad extensions can lead to missed opportunities for optimization.

Strategies to Address Measurement Issues

Use the reporting features within your PPC platform to monitor how different extensions perform. Look at metrics like CTR and conversion rates for ads with extensions versus those without, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Get Help Implementing Ad Extensions or Improving Your Results

While our ad extensions guide may be enough to get you started, setting up extensions can still be complicated and add considerable time to your ad maintenance routine. An experienced PPC agency can tackle this for you quickly and cost-effectively so you can focus more on serving all the new customers your ads bring. We’re happy to match you with an agency that understands your industry and can help you start generating the results your business deserves. Request a complimentary consultation to get started.

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