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Improve Your AdWords Campaign Using Ad Extensions

In this modern day of search engine advertising, search ads are no longer limited to just headlines, description lines, and display URLs. Yes, they still play a big part in …

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In this modern day of search engine advertising, search ads are no longer limited to just headlines, description lines, and display URLs. Yes, they still play a big part in how ads appear in SERPs, but advertisers now have the option of using one of the most potential PPC boosters this 2014: Ad Extensions.

Most PPC managers already have an idea of what ad extensions are. You can look at them as neat little add-ons, and what they do is show viewers additional information about your website or offer. Not a lot of advertisers are willing to dabble in this strange area of PPC advertising, which is good news for all of you who are reading this because this means that you can worry less about competition and worry more about all the money you’ll be making.

With Google’s new (and somewhat secretive) update of their ad rank algorithm, ad extensions are slowly getting the limelight and advertisers are moving fast to make the necessary changes. I’m sure you don’t want to get left behind, which is why we’ve dedicated this entire article to talking about Ad Extensions.

We know you’re excited, so buckle up.

The Basics

Alright, fellow web marketers. Let’s do a quick audit of what we already know about ad extensions. Sitelinks, call extensions, and social annotations – yes, they were great in helping boost ad ranks, but now there are new players in the field and they’re oozing with traffic potential!

I’d like to move on to talking about them too, but we’d like to make sure you know what the initial three ad extensions are and how they work on ads. Think of it as a memory jogger. You can skip this part if you want too. If not, then let’s get rolling.

  1.       PPC Sitelinks

These are classic favorites in the Extensions Department. They’re an important part of successful ads and they show value to potential customers even before a click is made. User interaction between sitelinks is so strong that they’re considered a basic part of ad text.

Adding sitelinks can increase the average CTR on a single ad by 10-20%, and around 20-50% when the search is one of the your branded terms. So you can consider the amount of time you spend implementing this extension well spent.

Good to know:

Short sitelinks are proven to garner the most results, so try to keep the characters close to 18-20 for desktop users and 12-15 for searchers using mobiles.

It’s important that your ads do include sitelinks, and once they’re there, then focusing on improving them is one of your main priorities (as well as improving the ads themselves). They not only increase the relevance of the ads, they also increase the quality of user experience after clicking on the ad.

Alright, now that we’re done with the first type ad extension, we can move on to the next. The secrets are all coming out, so don’t stop reading just yet!

  1.       Call Extensions

If the goal of your campaign is to collect and close leads on the phone, then you should add call extensions to your ads. There are a few different ways for you to choose from to customize these extensions. For a small fee, you can use a Google voice tracking number so AdWords can give you an in-depth detail report on the call. Or you can just use your normal business phone number to get calls from potential customers directly.

This isn’t for every business, so think about how much your business values phone calls and how it can benefit from it. One example of a business industry that’ll make good use of call extensions are universities offering educational programs that target students who have inquiries.

  1.       Social Annotation

One of the possible Google+ metrics that displays within your ad is social annotations. This increases the likelihood of social engagement on Google and therefore improves your organic ranking.

Google+ Annotations originally started as social extensions in AdWords. They automatically display within your ad text if you’re eligible based on certain criteria, and they display information such as how many followers you have or how many +1’d you.

Benefits of AdWords Social Annotations:
  1.       Social proof of your authority
  2.       Increase trust signals
  3.       Display a personal recommendation through circle connection
  4.       Increase engaged followers on Google+
How to get them to display:

These are the three basic criteria for eligibility:

  1.       Your Google+ account must be verified
  2.       Your display URL and website URL associated with Google must match
  3.       You must have enough followers and recent, quality activity on your account

For the number of followers, Google doesn’t really say how many they should be, but 100 is reported as a good benchmark for most.

Now that we’re done with the three basic types of ad extensions, let’s continue with the other types:

  1.       Location Extension

Location extensions are a great way to dynamically attach your business address to your ads. It lets you feature your company’s name, address, and contact number along with the description lines and URL that appear in your ad text.

If you’re looking to target local customers living in the same area, we strongly recommend that you invest on these extensions to reel in more customers.

Good to know:

Over 20% of all of Google’s searches are for local business, places, or products. Whether you’re a multi-channel business or a brick & mortar business, location extensions are great for attracting new customers to the physical location of your business. They’re also proven to increase CTR by 10%.

The two popular functions of location extensions are:

  • They communicate the location of your closest branch to encourage customers to drop by; and
  • They provide viewers with your contact number.
  1.       Mobile App Extension

If you’re trying to build exposure for a new mobile app your company created, then adding mobile app extensions can drive not only search traffic but also direct downloads. App extensions (and apps in general) are considered relatively unexplored territory in AdWords.

Not a lot of people have invested time on implementing these extensions, but here’s what we do know:

Apps give marketers the unique opportunity to stay top-of-mind and let shoppers send a huge time on their favorite device – their phones.

Clickthroughs on the app will cost about the same as a click-through on your site link. If you do have an app, it would be a good idea to test the app extension and see if the value of click-through to download your app is in line with the click-through to your website.

  1.       Seller Ratings Annotations

Through the use of Google Product Search, the extension displays a star rating within your ad, using aggregated data review sites across the entire web.

As a buyer, they’re supposed to feel reassured by endorsements and product ratings. It tells them that you are to be trusted and there’s virtually no risk of them getting scammed.

The seller rating extension is automatically triggered when an online merchant’s website has been rated in Google Product Search with four or more stars. They must also have accumulated at least 30 reviews. If you haven’t reached 30 reviews yet on your products or services, or if you haven’t received any reviews, I suggest that you simply encourage reviews on your website.

  1.       Review Extensions

Using review extensions, you give new potential customers a great experience and a level of comfort doing business with your company. It’s literally powerful stuff. Reviews must come from a reputable third-party source, so don’t just pay your best friend $5 for a quote from his personal blog. For further assistance regarding this, you have the option of asking our support staff. They’ll be more than willing to help you out.

Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts from Google’s support page that you should remember when using review extensions:

Do:

-Use a quote or paraphrase that represents a current source

-Use accurate and up-to-date reviews.

-use ellipses if you can’t fit the entire review and need to truncate a portion.

-link to the original source, not your website.

Don’t:

-link to aggregate ranking.

-use links to individual’s reviews.

-use links to press releases or second-hand reports.

  1.       Previous Visit Annotations

Logged in users of Google.com can now see whether they visited your website before or not. This new update was officially released last December 2013, and they currently show if someone’s clicking on a search result link at least once or on search ad links at least twice.

Here are the key points of Previous Visit Annotations:

  • They help searchers find their way back to your website.
  • AdWords shows these annotations when it predicts that it will improve your campaign’s performance.
  1.       Consumer Ratings Annotations

Consumer Ratings Annotations show information from customers that have rated your business. The information comes from Google Surveys, and the ratings consumers give you will be shown at the bottom part of the ad. Google say the average number of surveys they collect before deciding to integrate rating annotations with your ads range above 1000. The annotations may be free but Consumer Surveys are not, so this will take some time.

Here are the main benefits to using this ad extension:

o   They potentially increase your ad real estate.

o   They provide online shoppers with more information that encourages clicks

o   They give you more insight into what shoppers really think about your store; and

o   They increase ad CTR by 10% on average (according to Google)

This is still a good ad extension, but we feel that as an advertiser you should be focusing more on the ad extensions that are delivering the most returns and positive results. Testing different add extensions is one way to go, but it would take you a lot of time and money to just make an analysis of what would suit your business best.

Just make sure you at least have these four ad extensions utilized for your PPC ads: Sitelink extensions, call extensions, and seller ratings annotations.

Closing

While ad extensions may seem like extra text and images that clutter the top of SERPs, they are additional features that can be extremely helpful to driving even more traffic to your site. Ad extensions are a great way to point potential customers to specific landing pages, allowing them to find what they’re looking for in a more efficient way.

These small yet powerful sub-links can boost an advertiser’s conversion rate while ultimately improving ROI, and they help improve user experience. As an advertiser, learning about ad extensions is vital to your success, especially with the latest announcements of incorporating more ad extensions into the AdWords platform.

Finally, Google has a lot of new ad extensions that are still currently in beta testing, but a lot of advertisers are already making speculations on whether they’ll provide more opportunities for AdWords users to improve their overall PPC advertising success.

Make sure to check back here often, as we’ll be making updates in the future too about the latest ad extensions and how you can benefit from using them.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed writing it for you. If you did, show us some love and share with your friends! We love having new readers on board who are as enthusiastic and interested about PPC advertising as we are.

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