Ad Extension Strategies

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

Q1: With the sheer number of ad extensions, have you reassessed your extensions strategy? Why or why not?

  • Extensions increase ad rank and real estate, but means bids must be competitive enough to show, which doesn’t always mean ROI. – Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
  • From the ad group level I’ve been more specific with my ad extensions – when the volume dictates. – Matt Umbro
  • I monitor which AE’s show up the most in each ad group to make sure I’m not duplicating the same message in my ads. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Definitely changed the what I use sitelinks for vs. what I now use snippets & callouts. – Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
  • Tried to figure out how to make certain ext show by removing others, but tough since Google removes hard controls. – Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
  • Definitely need a strategy, whereas before not as much. Really important to review regularly & keep up to date & purge. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Ad Extension Strategy – Use all wherever and whenever possible. – Joel Neustaedter (@JoelNeustaedter)
  • When there were only a few options to show, purging old/bad extensions wasn’t a priority, whereas now it’s a habit. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • Even Google’s cherry-picked case studies only show limited upside (e.g. 12%). – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • Investigating whether there’s an extension “tax” & if adding hurts/helps. Trying to be purposeful rather than OOOH ADD EM ALL. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
    • I think multiple extensions can be great, but you’re right they have to have a purpose and not duplicate info in ad. – Hannah Alexander
  • Use the ad extensions that take up the most real estate. but constantly test whatever ext’s you qualify for. – Orlando Valencia (@ValenciaSEM)
  • In my exp I don’t think there’s a “tax” but there is a difference in which ones give you better upside. – Max Fink
  • Evaluate which ones make the most sense to actually implement, and then once they are running see how performance changes. – Heidi Smith (@heidinksmith)
  • The best thing happened to me.amazing features. use all of them all the time. (i’m in travel marketing). – Yuri Shub (@YurisPlace)
  • I try to make my ad group’s extensions deeper in the site structure than the ad group’s destination URL. Not the reverse. – Joe Martinez
  • I am still brand new to this profession and still learning about extensions to a strategy. – Paulina Pytlak (@insideuntdenton)

Q2: Are ad extensions a core component of ad copy or are they as their name suggests, just extensions? Why?

  • To me, ad extensions are just like the normal headline, D1 & D2 ad copy…they are necessary to implement from the beginning. – Matt Umbro
  • Just extensions as you can’t directly control which extensions show with which ads. – Steve Gibson
  • If you play in top of page positions, ext are now part of core ad copy. Ad copy designed with them in mind. – Max Fink
  • I believe you should have sitelinks regardless of what they say. Overall CTR lift outweighs the chance someone clicks it. – Francis Shovlin (@fmshovlin)
  • Some clients like consistency across ad messaging and extensions, others want completely unique CTAs. – Gil Hong
  • Since they don’t always display, I’d characterize as extensions – bonus copy rather than core. – Julie Bacchini
  • As a copywriter….compelling, action-driven copy can make extensions strong additions. Need them from the get-go, I’d say. – Caleb Rule (@CRuleSportsGuy)
  • Given that IS for extensions is never 100%; I prefer to treat extensions as a nice addition, but not essential to the ad copy. – Mark Irvine
  • Extensions are bedazzlers for copy. They can make it better if done coherently, but not if they’re stapled on blindly. – Aaron Levy
  • If your site has a lot of landing page options and info to provide, ad extensions are essential! – Kelsey Cadogan (@KelsC14)
  • Ad real estate has become soo competitive that ad extensions have become mandatory to compete. – Joel Neustaedter
  • Sitelinks aren’t appropriate for every client/campaign. That said, callout extensions usually make sense for everyone. You can find an extension that works. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • The most important info/pitch should be in the ad copy. The extensions should build on why you deserve the click not others. – Hannah Alexander
  • Ad copy is highest priority (get important stuff there) but extensions optimize & expand real estate. – Kelsey Cadogan
  • Core. Users read extentions more than they read description line 2. They respond 2 different copies and u can see it effects CTR. – Yuri Shub
  • Extensions are part of my checklist when starting a new account/campaign/ad group. – Andrea Fine (@AndreaFine)
  • Since you IS isn’t 100#, I think of them as a useful addition that I can’t count on. – Benjamin Elmore (@TheRealBelmore)
  • It drives me nuts when I see generic extensions when I searched for a very specific product type on a site. Show a relation! – Joe Martinez
  • The new Black Friday extensions are definitely great to use for more space to communicate BF offers! – Kelsey Cadogan

Q3: How do you determine which ad extensions get implemented at the ad group level?

  • I do most sitelinks at ad group level. Call exts depends on client setup. Callouts can often be acct level. – Melissa Mackey
  • Higher impression ad groups get ad group extensions if there is something independent to say of the campaign extension. – Matt Umbro
  • I use ad group level extensions on a case by case basis. Usually for one off or limited time keyword groups. – Gil Hong
  • I actually add extension only on campaign level. my campaigns all of them have very short lifetime. so there’s no need for me. – Yuri Shub
  • Ultimate decision is about site design/depth. If they’ve depth for me to have a more granular ad ext strategy, then I go for it. – Mark Irvine
  • Usually start at campaign level and if something has enough traffic & warrants special attention, go to the ad group level. – Joel Neustaedter
    • Exact same strategy, unless it is obvious when a new campaign is launched that ad group level is needed. – Heidi Smith
  • Factor of a few things: how diff is the intent of keywords that we need unique sitelinks, goals, and traffic (is it worth it?) – Francis Shovlin
  • FYI callouts at the ad group level are great for extra features of specific product/category. – Matt Umbro
  • Simple- Do what makes sense for those types of searches. Do you think they need more details? More landing page options? Etc. – Kelse Cadogan
  • What communicates the greatest benefit for target audience in SERP. Ads are sales pitches. After testing what the data says. – Hannah Alexander
  • Look for high-volume, high-performing ad groups within a campaign, see how I can maximize CTR/IS/QS w/ extensions. – Brian Chausmer
  • Depends on if products/services by ad group are unique enough to have specific relevant categories. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Volume. Intent. Uniqueness. Availability. – Orlando Valencia
  • If your account/campaign level extensions can’t speak to every ad group then you need ad group breakouts. Don’t lie in your ads. – Joe Martinez
  • Similar to MBA; can become a bit of a mgmt mess but can be worth time on limited or case by case basis w/broader architectures. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)

Q4: Have you been using structured snippets? If so, how, and what are your impressions?

  • Only using where applicable. Sometimes the category can be a stretch and isn’t ideal for the brand. Also the fact that not all options show can be seen as a limitation by the user. – Gil Hong
  • Absolutely. No idea how much difference they make, but I’d guess a small positive inc in ctr. – Steve Gibson
  • Yes, testing for some clients. Nice to highlight multiple benefits, but annoying how they show cut off at times. – Timothy Jensen
  • Not always easy to find use for them, but def use when it makes sense – more real estate. – Joel Neustaedter
  • Using them to list the types of services a client provides. They’ve been showing regularly for brand keywords. – Francis Shovlin
  • Nice, but wish they had a “specs” structured snippet; would help for e-comm. – Roie Reuben (@RoieReuben)
  • Seen positive performance with “brands” across many ad groups. – Hannah Alexander
  • We’re seeing good results on the few clients that are using them. Pretty decent for B2B. – Melissa Mackey
  • Only on the campaign level. Working better for me on discovery-phase searches. – Joe Martinez
  • Yes, like them too. Need to be thoughtful though of diff betw callouts & duplicity. Enhance ad not shove stuff in user’s face. – Lisa Saner
  • I like them when the approve the terms! Seems like the approval process is inconsistent. – Drew Johnson (@drewdjohnson)
  • I use “Degree Programs” since I am at a Higher Ed Agency. I Love how much more Info I can get in my ad. – Greg Young (@PPCJedi)
  • Q4.1: Are you utilizing the new Black Friday/Cyber Monday structured snippets? Why or why not?
    • In limited fashion…many of my ads speak to the sales so don’t necessarily want repetition. – Matt Umbro
    • Yes. No idea what will happen, but what the heck. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
    • Yeah, as retail, we’re all over it. Why not – takes like 5mins to set up, let’s see what happens. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
    • Yes, but with tempered expectations. Since CPCs will be competitive, it might not be profitable to bid for eligibility. – Gil Hong
    • Giving it a shot. I’m assuming Google is going to favor ads with these extensions for the two days. – Joe Martinez
    • Yes, using the BF sitelinks since I’m testing BF promo ad copy vs regular ad copy. I don’t think the repetition is too harmful. – Kelsey Cadogan
    • We’re going to use them for Nov 27-30. Coordinating w/ an email blast the client is sending out. Curious to see what they do. – Heidi Smith

Q5: Do you believe the new Bing Ads extensions (image, action link, etc) will have any noticeable impact? Why or why not?

  • They sure didn’t when Google tried them. Ain’t saying I won’t play with them though. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • Definitely worth a test. – Gil Hong
  • I think it’s worth testing if they see better performance than AdWords betas, but I’m skeptical especially w/ Bing SERPs. – Hannah Alexander
  • I’ve seen them work well in Bing. My fear is that they’re sunset like they were in Google. – Mark Irvine
  • In theory, image ad extensions would seem to be a significantly positive thing for the advertiser (like PLAs, for instance). In my head, something like a travel agency putting up a sunny beach pic in a cold climate sounds like it could work. – Kirk Williams
  • Worth testing. I think they are aware of the shortcomings/issues big G had with their image beta. – Lisa Sanner
  • I’m using Bing’s action link extension to offer a secondary CTA, The ad: learn more/Request Info. The Action Link: Apply Now. – Greg Young
  • I’m leery of the “action link” extension. Bing Ads will do anything in their ads to get more $$ from the clicks! – Kelsey Cadogan

Q6: Is there an extension (in Google or Bing) that isn’t worth the effort of setting up? Why?

  • Not sure if it counts but I have had a really tough time with the “promotional feed” through Shopping for promo extensions. – Brian Chausmer
  • Unless you have BBB, or a certain over-heated place has frozen over, then review extensions are usually a waste of time. – Kirk Williams
  • They are all worth a shot at least. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – MJ – Joel Neustaedter
  • Review extensions are also a real pain. They look awesome, but the rhyme or reason for disapproval is beyond frustrating. – Brian Chausmer
  • I personally haven’t found much benefit from review extensions. – Kelsey Cadogan

PPCChat Sponsored by

CallRail is a call tracking platform that brings enterprise-level call analytics to businesses and agencies. CallRail makes it easy to track which marketing sources and keywords make your phone ring. We provide call tracking, recording, and analytics for PPC, SEO, web, and offline marketing campaigns. With CallRail, you can create tracking phone numbers instantly, get reports in real time, and increase your advertising ROI by learning which campaigns and keywords deliver valuable phone leads.

Call Rail


More PPC Chats

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 PPC Chat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Andrea Fine (@AndreaFine)
• Benjamin Elmore (@TheRealBelmore)
• Caleb Rule (@CRuleSportsGuy)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Drew Johnson (@drewdjohnson)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Francis Shovlin (@fmshovlin)
• Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
• Greg Young (@PPCJedi)
• Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
• Heidi Smith (@heidinksmith)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Joel Neustaedter (@JoelNeustaedter)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kelsey Cadogan (@KelsC14)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Orlando Valencia (@ValenciaSEM)
• Paulina Pytlak (@insideuntdenton)
• Roie Reuben (@RoieReuben)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
• Yuri Shub (@YurisPlace)

Pre-Thanksgiving Streamcap by

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

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , ,

One Response to Ad Extension Strategies

  1. Rafay says:

    We always use call-out extensions to highlight important USP’s (Shipping Information, Payment Options, Features etc.) since they act as a natural extension of the ad text.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sponsored By

Recent Tweets

I am speaking at SMX East was rated one of the Best PPC Blogs by Boost CTR