All About Ad Extensions

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “All About Ad Extensions.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What is your take on the relevance/importance of ad extensions in today’s PPC landscape? Why?

  • Essential not only for SERP real estate but also for ad rank. Include extensions or get buried. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • The more real estate, the better. TAKE ALL THE AD SPACE. – Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
  • Important to increase shelf space. Also helps with relevance to direct people to exactly what they need from the ad. – Kimberly Wingo (@wimmiekingo)
  • Hugely important to take up real estate on the SERPS with multiple ad extensions. – Mark Roll (@MarkRoll32)
  • In B2B, extensions offer a chance to show user the breadth of our expertise. – Matt Lukens (@tunadonut)
  • I’ve always seen ad extensions as necessary for taking up more space and improving headline CTR (sorry, interaction rate!) – Matt Umbro
  • Always seems like a good idea for maximizing space, but never actually verified that with data. – Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
  • In today’s landscape, you cant discount the impact that the extra size of the ad when extensions are included provide. – Evan Cummins (@cummins_evan)
  • A necessity. Ad extensions have a direct affect on your Ad Rank. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Ad Extensions are brilliant for adding context to a users query as well as personalisation. On campaign setup checklist! – Jason James (@Jason_A_James)
  • Beyond the more space point, they are inarguably important now that Google admitted they impact ranking. – Nate Knox (@nateknox)
  • It adds a lot to your ad. It could be a winning factor between your ad and another getting the click. – Amy Valleskey (@amy_valleskey)
  • Definitely more important from an ad rank/real estate factor rather than a creative standpoint. – Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
  • Extensions are an integral part of any ppc strategy. More space on page, more validation points for the brand, etc. – Michael Knight (@MichaelAKnight)
  • Only blocker is that you need to be in the top 3 .. not good when competition is very high (real estate). – Sameer Hakim (@hakim_sameer)
  • low relevance/low importance. They’re just not big levers. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • But when all the ads have multiple extensions, could you benefit by not having any & thus stand out? – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • It’s a million places to add more USPs. Relevant uniqueness is the #1 factor for CTR. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • I’ve never heard of an argument not to use ad extensions. They’re so fast and easy too. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • Bid + expected CTR + LP quality + ad relevancy + ad Extensions = Ad rank. Recent test for Adobe Extended headlines + Site Links + Callout Extensions = 13% CTR lift. – Chris Haleua
  • Ad extensions give the consumer more “touch points” with your site before clicking in and make the content more relatable. – Alexandria Lowe (@alexlowe2015)

Q2: How often do you update your sitelink and callout extensions? Why?

  • Way less often than I should. Tend to fall into “set and forget” unless I make a point to review. – Kyle Crocker
  • Depends on the size of the client and seasonality. Always update for new products/promos and offers. – Mark Roll
  • The biggest driver for updating is usually for promo/update/new release purposes. Other than that, the data can be lacking. – Gil Hong
  • Very rarely TBH – as long as they are relevant I’m OK since most clicks occur on the ad headline. – Matt Umbro
  • Probably not enough. But in general USPs don’t change, helpful & converting content slow to be produced. So what’s the goal? – Doug Thomas
  • Update Sitelink extensions only when site structure or content changes. Callout extensions if/when USP’s or value-add changes. – Jason James
  • I’ve never quite understood scheduling sitelinks – do sitelinks really need to get this granular? And I understand the purpose of scheduling them, but again, does it really make that much of an impact? – Matt Umbro
  • Sitelinks/callouts can help your account by being updated to direct people to a big sale or offer. Otherwise, top site pages. – Evan Cummins
  • Not as often as I should – but at the very least, when brand messaging changes, pages update, etc. Quarterly is usually works well. – Michael Knight
  • For ecommerce you need to make sure site links surface your current promos/seasonal product changes, so as often as needed. – Catherine Kellogg (@CatKellogg)
  • I’m usually updating sitelinks when new products arrive, but callout extensions I keep somewhat general, so not as often. – Amy Valleskey
  • Weekly .. provided there are new offers to show .. which there are .. also based on demand and supply. – Sameer Hakim
  • Probably quarterly, to ensure that ext. linked pages don’t correlate with lower overall conversion rates. – Matt Lukens
  • I try to review monthly or quarterly, unless there are promotions in them. – Brooke Townsend
  • If my main selling points or value messages don’t change, then my callouts don’t change a lot. Just test. I’m not ecom though. – Joe Martinez
  • Rarely. You have fewer characters to A/B test and fewer impressions are impacted by any changes. – Mark Parent (@parentmark)
  • Rarely. I test adcopy regularly but haven’t found a need to test extensions/callouts as much. – Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
  • Honest answer: not often unless I have a deal to push or something’s clearly not working, gains of varying sitelinks is minor. – Mark Irvine
  • If there isn’t a big sale or offer that i’m trying to push, I dont usually change the sitelinks or callouts. – Evan Cummins
  • Sitelink testing & timing = super important for ecommerce. Otherwise, not that important elsewhere to need constant adjustment. – Sam Owen (@SamOwenPPC)
  • Another thought: we at least check callouts when new ad copy is launched so there isn’t any redundancy. – Gil Hong
  • I spend more time just making sure I have coverage across all extension types and search engines than going back & changing them. – Chris Haleua
  • I update my sitelink & callout extensions fairly frequently. We have a lot of events and changing components, so it’s necessary. – Hannah Johnson (@MarketingHannah)

Q3: What is your philosophy on creating ad group level sitelink and callout extensions? Why?

  • 1st- Depends on Volume. 2nd- Depends on history & data analysis. 3rd- Depends on uniqueness of ad group vs others in campaign. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Generally only ad group level sitelinks on top impression ad groups. – Matt Umbro
  • For ecomm (esp. apparel) they’re very important! Help direct users to Mens/Womens/Styles in as few clicks as possible. – Gil Hong
  • Generally if the client has products lines that are different enough to need separate extensions it is a separate campaign. – Kyle Crocker
  • If it compliments your site structure and value messages change by level go for it, but don’t make it #1 priority. – Joe Martinez
  • I tend to defer to campaign level, simply because that can be a lot of maintenance (depending on your set up) to take care of. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • If the account is big enough I create ad group level sitelinks, usually related products. – Mark Roll
  • Large accounts = no time for that. Too granular for the maintenance. – Brooke Townsend
  • Create unique ad group level extensions for the top 20% of Ad Groups based on performance. Try to give them a CTR advantage. – Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
  • If there’s logic to it, and enough traffic volume that cost/benefit justifies the time. – Steve Gibson
  • If the offer doesn’t speak to an ad group/ campaign – then make more granular extensions.Otherwise, let it ride across acct. – Mark Irvine
  • I don’t typically create sitelinks/callouts at that level. Unless the account is very diverse & would benefit from separation. – Evan Cummins
  • Depends on your architecture & how granular campaigns are. Kind of a headache. If you have a lot of AG SLs, time to restructure. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • Only if it is large enough and unique enough to benefit from specialized messaging, which is rare (except for ecomm). – Mark Parent
  • Depends…If the ad group is granular enough to warrant a more defined sitelink/callout then I’ll add ad group level Sitelinks. – Kimberly Wingo
  • If the adgroup is pretty product specific, I’m adding those adgroup level extensions. Try to stay extremely relevant. – Amy Valleskey
  • Our product set is small enough, campaign level does fine. A few adgroup level test in top impression campaigns though. – Coy Robison
  • Usually not, but if I feel like the ad group could benefit, then I will. Otherwise it’s time consuming for every ad group. – Hannah Johnson

Q4: Do you find that any of the automated extensions (Seller Ratings, etc) make a noticeable difference in click activity? Why?

  • I don’t have the A/B test data for them, but the ad rank and real estate boost is too compelling. – Gil Hong
  • I’ve seen increases in CTR and lower CPA, more real estate and more trust. – Mark Roll
  • Social Is often a bust if the numbers are low. The opposite of confidence inspiring. – Steve Hammer (@armondhammer)
  • This is an area I need to explore more for sure. – Kyle Crocker
  • The only ones that I care about are consumer ratings, seller ratings, and social extensions – everything else is blah. Any extensions that shows customer feedback (assuming it’s good) is worthwile. – Matt Umbro
  • Like all other extensions, I see the Automated ones as Googs way of telling searchers they should just click top/expensive ads. – James Svoboda
  • Seller ratings definitely do. And the star rating is pretty important in the % lift. Think 15% for 5 star. – Sam Owen
  • No A/B testing here, but it’s hard to imagine the added real estate doesn’t help. – Mark Parent
  • More so with non-brand queries but it kind of depends. – Coy Robison
  • Nothing huge for performance, slightly higher conv rate when seller ratings show for one client. – Jordon Meyer (@jordonmeyer)
  • Yes! Especially when Amazon also sells your products. Because their search ads have all the automated extensions. – Joe Martinez
  • I’ve been disappointed when clients have added seller ratings (by getting reviews) and the ctr barely moved. – Steve Gibson

Q5: Do you use call extensions and if so, do you find the call data to be accurate? Why or why not?

  • I use call extensions, but for the real estate. I have no expectations of quality calls. – Matt Umbro
  • Yes, but no, the data is not always accurate. Only a sample size comes through and only is tracked through high volume campaigns. Spoke to a Goog rep once bc we had call tracking through a 3rd party # that was tracking more calls. – Kimberly Wingo
  • ALL DAY ERRY DAY. Buckets of ducats. For reporting, filter for over 20sec to count. Have tested to CallRail number to verify. – Doug Thomas
  • I use call extensions whenever relevant. Have combined w/ CallRail numbers to record calls…data seems accurate. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Yes and… yes? We’re close with one client who shares call data with us, it looks pretty accurate. Helps show value of PPC. – Jordon Meyer
  • Yes use Call Extensions. I use 3rd party call data for accuracy of data. – Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
  • I use call extensions and find that for certain industries like law, it works well. I try and confirm performance with clients. – Evan Cummins
  • Yes, and I’m skeptical at to how they track this data. Also, Call Volume has declines since the “Call Only” option in Call Extensions was removed in June with Call-Only Campaigns launch. – James Svoboda
  • No. We have a call-center for customer service but phone calls are not a conversion for us. – Coy Robison
  • For lead gen in certain industries SERP calls = current customers. Website call extensions have more potential for better quality. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
    • True. We don’t use call tracking for campaigns (branded) where customers are likely the ones to call. Or different Phone. – James Svoboda
  • Not anymore. 95%+ of calls totally irrelevant to business goals, for all businesses I’ve tested call ext. – Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
  • We use call extensions a lot but I hate call only campaigns. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Mobile call extensions have an impressively high CVR – over 20%.Call length equal to that of desk calls. – Mark Irvine
  • Call data is hard to know for sure – that’s why I always implement the call conversion for longer phone calls for the intent. – Michael Knight
  • It makes sense for me to use it. Still have to do tons of slicing and dicing of data to analyze good quality calls. – Amy Valleskey
  • Call only campaign success depends on business type and goals. If sales cycle is long SERP calls prob not super relevant. – Nicole Mintiens
    • Agreed. Call-only is great for service businesses (like HVAC, plumbing, bail bond, etc.) – Robert Brady

Q6: For those who use app extensions, do you find that users will actually interact with your app (ad click or download)?

  • We use app extension on search with deep linked urls .. better experience .. higher engagement. – Sameer Hakim
  • Have to use app extensions carefully, especially for ecomm – sometimes the app doesn’t allow for purchases. In other words, the app is an add on to the ecomm site – don’t necessarily want to take users away from purchasing. – Matt Umbro
  • Yes, certain small businesses. I’ve learned to target by radius as it’s more difficult to target by zip code. – Chris Scott
  • Unfortunately no, app reengagment rates are fearfully small universally, particularly for SMBs. – Mark Irvine
  • Target CPA bidding with a Free app, using the App Install ad format. Works like a charm at a good CPA in our experience. – Jordon Meyer
  • Else we only make use of app download search cmp or normal search with non app sitelinks .. keep it clean. – Sameer Hakim
  • I’ve had some interaction with app extensions, but not a ton. Hard to know how qualified they are (for B2B). – Michael Knight

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Alexandria Lowe (@alexlowe2015)
• Amy Valleskey (@amy_valleskey)
• Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
• Catherine Kellogg (@CatKellogg)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Evan Cummins (@cummins_evan)
• Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
• Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
• Hannah Johnson (@MarketingHannah)
• Jason James (@Jason_A_James)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Jordon Meyer (@jordonmeyer)
• Kimberly Wingo (@wimmiekingo)
• Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
• Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
• Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Mark Parent (@parentmark)
• Mark Roll (@MarkRoll32)
• Matt Lukens (@tunadonut)
• Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michael Knight (@MichaelAKnight)
• Nate Knox (@nateknox)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Sam Owen (@SamOwenPPC)
• Sameer Hakim (@hakim_sameer)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Steve Hammer (@armondhammer)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

All About the Streamcapper

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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