If you’re a retailer running a paid search campaign on Google AdWords, ad extensions should be your best friend.
If you’re not currently utilising them, this post will explain what they are and how they can benefit your business so you can start using them immediately.
Ad extensions allow you to provide additional information in your Google adverts, making them more relevant and useful to prospects. In the context of increasingly competitive search engine result pages (SERPs), ad extensions can really make your ads stand out from the crowd, leading to significant increases in your click-through rates (CTRs) and better qualified traffic to your website, which in turn is likely to convert at a much better rate.
All ad extension options can be found under the “Ad Extensions” tab (see below) which is located in the “Campaigns” window.
We are going to run through our favourite ad extensions along with some of our top tips and examples of how we use them at Leapfrogg:
Sitelinks allow you to promote specific pages of your site within your ad text. We have seen CTRs increase by as much as 20% with the introduction of sitelinks. Google allows you to have a maximum of 10 sitelinks per campaign however we have rarely seen more than 6 appear in a SERP.
Because sitelinks are so quick and easy to update, they provide retailers with a great opportunity to inform prospective customers about special promotions and sales.
Here is an example of a sitelink extension in action directing visitors to the ‘Winter Sale’ and ‘New Arrivals’ pages, for example. The upshot is that prospects have the opportunity to click directly through to the content most relevant to them. Backed by high quality landing pages this leads to reduced bounce rates, increased time spent on site and ultimately increased conversion rates.
Top tips for setting up sitelinks
- Keep sitelinks short and sweet – this increases the number of links that can be shown within the ad
- If you tag the URLs of each sitelink with the parameter “?sitelink=XYZ” you will be able to track the performance of all your sitelinks in Google Analytics. You can then optimise each sitelink based on clicks and conversions etc
- As you can only have one set of sitelinks per campaign, it is worth splitting up your campaigns into different products/categories. This will not only give you greater targeting and budget control over certain products, but will allow you to create relevant sitelinks for each product, thus leading to an increase in click-through rates.
If you’re a multi-channel retailer with physical stores you should definitely be using location extensions. These help prospects and customers find the store nearest to them when they search for your products or services (based on their physical location or their search query).
Here is an example of a location extension in action:
To set these up, you can either manually enter your business locations, or if you have a Google Places account, you can link this up to AdWords and addresses will automatically be uploaded. You can set location extensions at campaign-level or ad-level.
Top tips for setting up location extensions
- If you run exclusive offers in some of your stores, we would recommend setting up separate geo-targeted campaigns around these locations. You can then apply the relevant business address to each campaign so that ads show for the locations where that promotion is available
- If you link your Google Places account, always check that all correct business locations and addresses have been uploaded. We have seen instances where incorrect addresses have appeared because the Google Places account was out of date or details have changed
Product extensions work with your Google Merchant Centre account to include additional product information within your ads, for example images and prices. These act as a great way to showcase your products and highlight price before someone has clicked on your ad.
To set these up, all you need to do is link your Merchant Centre account to your AdWords account and apply the extension to the relevant campaign. If you don’t have a Merchant Centre account, set one up immediately. By submitting a regular data feed of product information to Google, you have the opportunity to feature in Google’s shopping results and increasingly, due to blended search, have product listings appearing at the very top of the main Google SERP.
Here is an example of a product extension in action:
Top tips for setting up product extensions
- Before you set up product extensions, ensure that your product feed data in your Merchant Center account is accurate and up-to-date. Google has some optimisation guidelines for this
- If you add specific AdWords labels, this allows you to categorise and target specific groups of products, such as your top sellers or most profitable products
Call extensions allow you to include your business phone number in your text ads, making it easy for users to directly get in touch with your business.
There are different call extensions you can choose, depending on the user’s device. If you enable a Google forwarding number, a unique phone number will be shown in your ads and you are charged on a per-call basis. The unique phone number means you’ll also get more detailed reporting on your calls.
If you choose not to enable a Google forwarding number, your business phone number will not appear on desktop or laptop computers, however it will be shown on mobile devices and made clickable (see below for example). If a user clicks on this number, you’ll be charged at the same rate for a standard ad click.
Top tips for setting up call extensions
Call metrics are great for mobile and local campaigns, however for larger retailers we would recommend implementing a dedicated call tracking solution to track all traffic sources. AdInsight is our preferred partner for this
Seller ratings allow you to display your online business ratings and reviews in your ad. Users can quickly identify highly rated businesses helping them to make more informed purchase decisions. You are only charged if someone clicks on your ad, so you get more qualified traffic at no extra cost.
You don’t need to change anything in your account to set these up – they will automatically appear if you have 4 or more stars and at least 30 unique reviews within Google Product Search. The reviews are aggregated by Google from a variety of sources across the web, including Reseller Ratings, Bizrate and ReviewCentre.com.
Here is an example of how the seller ratings appear in an ad:
Top tips for seller ratings
To encourage more reviews from your customers, we would recommend implementing a customer feedback/review system. Feefo is our preferred partner for this
Hopefully this has given you enough information to start using ad extensions in your campaigns. It shouldn’t take long for you to start seeing improvement in your campaigns’ CTR and conversion rates.
Don’t settle for the bog standard text ads when Google provide options for you to be far more creative. Don’t get left behind – start using them now!