Discover how to use Google ad extensions to improve your customer acquisition efforts. Find out which ad extensions should you be using and when.
We will start by reviewing the various ad extensions available. Then, we’ll discuss the implications of ad extensions on customer acquisition. And finally, we’ll uncover how to use these Google ad extensions to improve your customer acquisition efforts.
Let’s first review this concept and then analyze the different ways of using Google ad extensions to improve your customer acquisition efforts.
What are Google Ad Extensions?
Extensions expand your ad with additional information – giving people more reasons to click on your ad.
You’ve seen these before. Those extra lines below the Google ad text that displays the store address closest to you? Or maybe a few reasons that entice you to click on their ad? Something like, Free Consultation or 24/7 or Free Shipping.
According to Google, ad extensions “typically increase an ad’s click-through-rate by several percentage points.” But Google is taking the liberty of choosing which extensions to show on your ads for you. “To maximize the performance of your text ads, Google Ads selects which extensions to show in response to each individual query on Google.”
They have enough information on a prospect’s search intent, history and geo in order to have their algorithms work in favor of advertisers.
But first, you need to set them up. Here is a current list of Google Ad Extensions. They do add more on a regular basis.
- Location extensions (automated)
- Affiliate location
- Sitelink (automated)
- Callout and dynamic callout
- Structured snippets
- Call extensions (automated)
- Message extensions (automated)
- Seller Ratings (automated only – but you can do things to help make them appear)
Don’t worry trying to figure them out right now. We’ll dive into them later in the article.
Why is Google so confident that they can increase click-through rates for your ads?
They make the point that ads with extensions provide “greater visibility and prominence.” This means your ad is more likely to be seen. Makes sense, you have more lines than your competitor ads (unless they have Google ad extensions too.)
It also means that you’re pushing competing ads below yours down the page.
Google also makes the case that you can offer the visitor more clicks to choose from, or offer “interactive ways of reaching you — as with maps, SMS or calls” and this will increase the likelihood of them clicking on your ad.
Setting up ad extensions doesn’t mean they will show on your ad. Google lists two possibilities for ad extensions to appear:
- When the extensions are predicted to improve the ads performance
- When your Ad Rank is above a minimum level.
So, you see. It’s not all under your control. You gotta trust Google to present the best extension for your business goals at the right time, place and query.
We say, they better.
What’s the best thing about Google Ads extensions? They are FREE. So setting the right ones up is always an advantage.
Improve your Customer Acquisition Efforts with Ad Extensions
The goal of ad optimization efforts is to gain more customers at a lower cost. The lower this acquisition cost, the more profit you make on each new customer or on each transaction and you can afford to spend more on ads – which implies more volume or more competitive bids. Or you can just pocket the difference.
There are two ways to reduce these acquisition costs
- Spend less on ads for the same number of conversions.
- Get more conversions from your ad spend.
The first is accomplished by refining bids, eliminating low-converting ads, and designing offers that deliver better qualified visitors.
The second is accomplished by refining the websites and pages to which you send your ad clicks.
In both cases, the higher your conversion rate, the lower your customer acquisition costs. We may choose to spend less on low-quality visitors that convert poorly, or do a better job of converting the ad traffic we are getting.
And this is where Google ad extensions can help improve your customer acquisition efforts.
Ad extensions clearly offer the hope for more clicks and conversions without increasing spend. Their impact on websites and landing pages is less plain.
Evidently, Google Ads extensions let you add more information to a typical text ad. They allow advertisers to say more about the offer made in the ad so that searchers make better choices about whether to click or not.
Ad Extensions that add Links to More Targeted Landing Pages
Three Google ad extensions add additional links to your ads.
- Sitelink Extensions
- Price Extensions
- Promotion Extensions
Sitelink extensions are great for broad match keywords. They allow the searcher to click on narrower topics than their search phrase might return. The example below, shows sitelink extensions with an additional description. A great feature that entices advertisers to convert their campaigns to enhanced campaigns.
An eCommerce site can use a variety of pages as landing pages: product pages, category pages, search results pages, and even specific informational pages for those not ready to buy just yet.
Tip: Consider targeting your primary segments with sitelink extensions.
Price Extensions allow you to feature pricing right in your ads. This is a great feature to weed out those prospects that may not go through with their purchase because of price. And an additional element to improve your customer acquisition efforts.
Google Ads Sitelink Extensions Improve Ad Quality Score
Ad extensions also allow advertisers to send searchers to more relevant pages on their websites. These are called Sitelink extensions.
First of all, Google uses the performance of your landing page to determine how high they will place your ad on the page. Higher placement is better. If you have visitors clicking on your ads but then “pogo-sticking” immediately back, Google will penalize your ads by assigning a lower quality score. You may have to increase your bids if you have lower quality scores and your sitelinks may not show until your score goes back up.
Thus, if you can send them to a more relevant page, they are less likely to click away. And this signals to Google that you deserve a higher quality score.
The following ad for “kitchen countertops” has one link.
The following ad for “choosing kitchen countertops” has a sitelink extension that includes five more links:
- Contact Us
- Featured Projects
- Info & Prices
- News Center
- Products Catalog
This approach allows advertisers to help searchers make better choices about what to click on based on their needs therefore, improving their customer acquisition efforts. In this example, we have a link to “Contact Us” for contractors working on a project, and “Products Catalog” for those who want to know their options.
These extra sitelinks must go to different pages according to Google’s rules. That means you must have two, three, four, or more different landing pages for any ad that uses a sitelink extension. You may see this as a burden. We see it as an opportunity.
Avoid Sitelinks to the Homepage
Many of the ads we see take a visitor to the website’s homepage. We have demonstrated over and over again that a landing page will convert more ad clicks than the homepage, thus improving your customer acquisition efforts.
Sitelink extensions force advertisers to think about the needs of various searchers, and develop pages for those specific needs.
The Ad Extension Halo Effect
Sydney Sheedy, Senior Account Manager at (un)Common Logic, tells us that ad extensions can have a halo effect on your online ads.
Sitelink ad extensions can increase clicks on the ad. But Sheedy’s data shows that, even when sitelinks are present, most clicks are on the headline itself. In the following table, Sheedy shows four accounts that use sitelink extensions, and how the clicks break down.
Overall, only 10% of clicks go to the sitelinks. That means 90% are on the headline.
Of course, Sitelink ad extensions can increase clicks on the ad. Let’s keep that in mind and keep on increasing your chances of improving your customer acquisition efforts.
Ad Extensions for Mobile Visitors
- Call Extensions
- Message Extensions
- App Extensions
- Structured Snippets
While these extensions will appear on desktop and tablet devices, they are well targeted to our small-screen visitors. Your ad strategy should be different for small-screen mobile and large-screen visitors.
For example, Girikon presents call extensions and a drop-down ad extension to mobile visitors:
But on the desktop the click-to-call ad extension is not presented.
Call extensions give your ads the ability to connect searchers with your business using a special app on smartphones called Phone.
Our customers find higher close rates and larger order values when they get a prospect on the phone. It’s great for mobile lead generation and considered purchases.
Message extensions leverage another handy app found on smartphones: Text Messages.
Why not let mobile visitors text you directly? When the searcher taps the message extension, they text you first and they will receive a message that you create as an auto-reply.
App extensions invite the visitor to download and install your app.
Google Ad Extensions to Improve your Customer Acquisition Efforts in the Real World
- Location Extensions
- Affiliate Location Extensions
For those visitors that are wandering around the city looking for a physical location, these two location ad extensions will deliver. They improve customer acquisition efforts by getting people in the door who want to shop in the real world.
Location extensions let the visitor open a map to your physical stores, offices and sites.
Affiliate location extensions do the same for stores that carry your products or offer your services.
Other Ad Extensions that Improve Acquisition Efforts
- Callout Extensions
- Structured Snippet Extensions
Callout extensions increase the real estate of your ad, giving you more lines of text. The more you can explain the fewer clicks to your landing page are required.
Reducing poorly-qualified clicks is a great way to reduce your acquisition cost while improving your customer acquisition efforts.
Structure snippet extensions provide more detailed information on your offer, but don’t provide additional links. If they see what they want in your structured snippet, their click will be more relevant, increasing conversion rate and dropping acquisition cost.
Structured snippets can use one of the following headers:
- Degree programs
- Featured hotels
- Insurance coverage
- Service catalog
Stacking Ad Extensions: Is it Even Possible?
If one ad extension is good, isn’t two better? Ad extensions are free, so why not use them all, and use them all of the time?
We want to consider the paradox of choice. Providing too many choices can cause visitors to become paralyzed.
Second, Google is the one that decides if and when to show them.
Here are some tips for deciding if you want to stack ad extensions or not.
Don’t Repeat Yourself (too much)
If you have a good reason for extending your ad, use it. But be careful about introducing too much repetition. Ad extensions may work best when they add additional information rather than repeat it.
Don’t Ask Them to Call if No One is Home
Call extensions can be very effective, especially for mobile searchers. But make sure there is someone to answer if you’re providing a phone number. This is a great tip. Use it when stacking up or when flying solo.
Test Stacking Ad Extensions
It’s the 21st century. Adwords is a great platform for testing ad creative. Try a variety of ad extension combinations and go with the stack that delivers the best bottom-line results.
Of course, always take control of the landing page experience. Our clients have seen increases of up to a 40% in leads and revenues from their Google Ads campaigns after we optimized their conversion rate. Schedule a call with our ad campaign conversion optimization consultants.
Automated Extensions: Yes or No?
Google will take the liberty of adding ad extensions to your ads if they feel it’s a good idea. If you don’t have a team that can give thought to your ad campaigns, this may seem like a good thing.
But we have to ask, “Why spend the money on ads if you don’t have the bandwidth to be smart about the spend?”
To avoid these automated extensions, turn them off and add your own extensions. Just know that the ones Google Ads created automatically before you turn them off may still appear. (Pesky little things)
When do Ad Extensions Hurt?
As a general rule, Google ad extensions should be used on all of your ads.
- They increase your visual footprint on search engine results pages (SERPs)
- They push your competitors down the page
- They can generate a halo effect to increase clicks on your ads
- They increase qualified clicks reducing acquisition cost
When should you avoid extensions?
- When you don’t have relevant pages to send visitors to
- If you don’t have calls to action on your landing pages
- If you don’t have the resources to apply what you learn
Google Ad Extensions to Improve your Customer Acquisition Efforts Summary
Here are the takeaways from our discussion on using Google ad extensions to improve your customer acquisition efforts.
- Use ad extensions to reduce your customer acquisition cost.
- Use ad extensions to increase the performance of your ads overall.
- Use sitelink extensions to target specific segments of your audience.
- Use mobile ad extensions to engage your growing smartphone audience.
- Use ad extensions to develop effective landing pages.
- Find more opportunities to grow your email list.