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Advanced PPC Tactics: Ad Extensions

Being hard selling sales pitches aimed at keyword-targeted market segments, pay per click (PPC) ads on Google AdWords drive high conversion traffic to lead generating landing pages. As a highly effective and cost-efficient platform of marketing, many entrepreneurs and marketers often tweak and optimize their PPC campaigns for maximum effect, and in so doing increase their efficacy and revenue drive.

As a freelance web designer one of the many tactics to increase traffic is by using AdWords ad extensions and these rich snippets are added to basic PPC ads that has been proven to increase click rates by as much as a 30% uplift, according to Wordtracker. Among several types of PPC ad extensions are site links, location extensions, product extensions, and social extensions.  You can read more on this topic on my blog but for now see the guide below:


Sitelinks are ad extensions that show relevant website links below your standard PPC ads. This adds up to 10 additional landing pages (because of the links) for a single ad so your PPC ad is effectively a sales pitch/call to action for 10 different landing pages. At first this may seem counterintuitive as you typically want to drive qualified traffic to a single landing page, but the options listed as your sitelinks may actually be the ones that your target market may respond well to. If you can plan your sitelinks well, then you can show important links of your website on your PPC ad, which of course helps your target market figure out how helpful your business might be, therefore increasing click rates.

You can set the URLs and headlines for your sitelinks, and you can set these up to work with broad keyword matches within your PPC campaign. Broad match ads show up for an audience of search engine users who are probably looking for as much info as possible about their query, and your sitelinks offer just that.

Location Extensions

Location extensions show an additional line that displays your physical location and phone number, and also a handy link that opens up to directions to your store. Better yet, you are not charged for this directions function, because users didn't click your ad, technically. For results showing on Google Maps, your location will be identified by a Blue Pin, making you stand out from organic search results.

To maximize your Location Extension, set up a Google Business profile and link them together with your AdWords campaign (this is also useful for social extensions, but more on that later). Updating your profile will automatically update your Location Extensions, and the general interlinking of your Google Services will generally be to your advantage.

Obviously, this extension works great with a local SEO strategy, but be wary about it possibly lowering your click-through rate since users can simply call your listed phone number instead of clicking. On the surface, you might lose out on stats, but since you acquire new leads/customers without paying for clicks, you actually benefit more.

Product Extensions

Product extensions are potentially very powerful because they show images and additional details about your goods or services on your PPC ads. You need to link your PPC account with a Google Merchants account, however, because that's where the images and details will come from. Like the link between your Google Business profile and your location extensions where updating your profile automatically updates your extensions, the link between your Google Merchant account and your product extensions also automatically updates the extensions with the current information. So you just need to keep your Google Merchant Center account updated.

In consumer behavior research, actually seeing a product is essential for the buying process, as it serves as something visual the consumers can base their purchase decision on. Your product extensions show additional details too (links, prices, descriptions), so they make it even easier and more convenient for consumers. Where sitelinks help better acquaint consumers with your website and business, product extensions help better acquaint them with your offerings and products. A bit of a strategy here is to use sitelinks when your website is pretty well known, and use product extensions if you want your products to speak for themselves.

Social Extensions

PPC ads can also display a review rating based on a 5-star rating scale that shows beneath your PPC ad. Also, an accumulated +1 count can be displayed as well—an aggregate score of the +1s your ad, your Google Page, and any other relevant item in your network. This means that users can see star reviews and +1s on your PPC ad, serving as additional social validation. For the accumulated +1s to work, you need to link your Google Business profile with your AdWords account.

But what's so important about social validation? Social influences greatly affect purchase decisions, and the more social acceptance or approval people see a business or brand receives, the more likely they are to be interested in it. Imagine your social extensions as a badge of social approval on your PPC ads, showing your market segment that many other people already trust you.

Strategies and Extensions

While there are many useful extensions, you may want to limit which you use for which PPC ad. You wouldn't want irrelevant product extensions showing images on the wrong ad, or a review rating scale for a link that doesn't go to a product or service.

While Google makes sure your extensions more or less make sense for their end-users, you also need to make the most out of their use. Using them just because they are available is an awful waste of their potential. The 30% uplift in click rates is not automatic—you need to strategize your use of ad extensions, the way you strategize the market copy you use in your two lines of PPC ad space (three, if you include the title).

Aligning extensions to marketing campaigns outside PPC is crucial (e.g. using location extensions on PPC ads targeted to local search keywords to boost local SEO). Also, keep an eye on the effects of your extensions on your PPC performance.

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