The Google ecosystem exists to present the most relevant information to a user. One of the most effective ways is Google Ad extensions. These unique ad formats are about one thing: providing additional information, which empowers a user to self-select where on an advertiser’s website they would like to land.

Since their introduction, Google has placed a high value on extensions. It rewards advertisers that utilize them with a higher ad rank, which determines where they show up relative to competitors, and lowers their CPC. On the other hand, when advertisers fail to add extensions, Google in effect punishes them with a negative ad rank and higher CPC. In short, it’s in your best interest to add Google Ad extensions. They will ultimately lead to improved performance.

 What Are Ad Extensions in Google Adwords?

A Google Ad extension is an additional promotion, piece of information or snippet that’s added to the primary text. A sitelink is perhaps the most common and well known type.  In the Google Ad sitelink extension example below the user submitted a brand query. Now, there’s a choice to either click the main ad or select one of the additional options underneath.

Advertisers can create a “choose your own adventure” experience utilizing sitelinks, allowing a user to quickly move deeper into the website. Each one allows for a 25 character headline and two lines of description at 35 characters each. Google has the option to show the sitelinks with and without this description text. As such, a best practice is to make sure the headline is clear and descriptive even without them. Finally, sitelinks can be added at the account, campaign or ad group level, which provides flexibility. 

Why Do Search Ad Extensions Matter?

Google Ad extensions provide additional information to the user that doesn’t fit within the limits of a standard ETA (expanded text ad), or RSA (Responsive Search Ad). Additionally, they’re used as part of the calculation of ad rank, which is adjusted during each auction. By providing Google with as many ad extensions as possible, you’ll deliver the most relevant information based on the user’s query.

Ad extensions come in many different formats in addition to sitelinks, which allows Google to mix and match information that it deems relevant to the user based on the query, device, time of the auction, expected CTR and more. Available formats include:

  • Sitelink 
  • Callout
  • Structured Snippet
  • Call Extension (i.e., phone number)
  • Location
  • Affiliate Location
  • Price
  • App
  • Promotion
  • Lead Form Extension

Most advertisers’ accounts cannot implement all of these ad extensions. As you begin planning consider whether your competitors are using ad extensions, or if it’s common practice in the industry. If, for example, many of your competitors are utilizing a Call Extension and Callouts, you may see a negative impact on your ad rank if you’re not.

A Newer Google Ad Extension in Beta 

In the lead generation space the lead form extension can be very useful. More and more platforms are moving to a model where users can submit information to third parties without exiting. Facebook and LinkedIn are both high profile examples.

The first step in optimizing the lead form extension is to select a call to action and compose text. For the former, Google provides options such as “Learn More,” “Get Quote,” “Contact Us,” “Download” and others. Choose the call to action that best aligns with your campaign goals. You also have 30 characters of text to use. Be as clear and to the point as possible.

In terms of the actual lead form you have a number of customization options. The basic requirements of a lead form extension are a headline of up to 30 characters, a business name of up to 25 and text of up to 200.

The headline should reinforce the benefit for the user or act as a reminder of the requested action.

Google allows you to add multiple preset fields such as name, address and phone. However, a greater number of fields typically lowers lead volume. Do your best to balance the information desired and the minimum required to move the user down the purchase funnel. 

Since the user stays on the platform with the lead form extension, you can add a thank you message and instructions on what the user can expect next.

You can also include a link back to your website. Ideally, you’d link to a page with additional details about the submitted request. More specifically, it might address the following:

  • How long it will take for them to hear from you
  • What they can expect when you reach out
  • How they can get in touch with you immediately

Google integrates the lead form extension with many top platforms via webhook. Advertisers can also import their leads directly into a Google sheet, which can be downloaded manually.

As you consider implementing ad extensions into your Google Ad campaigns, feel free to contact us with questions. This unique format may be the key to improving ad rank while optimizing the user experience of your Google Ad campaign.