Google Ad Extension Fundamentals

March 26, 2019

An understanding of ad extensions is crucial to be competitive in SEM. This is a guide for beginners who are looking to understand the fundamentals of ad extensions. If you are already using ad extensions, then I encourage you to check out our other blog about extension customization here.

Here’s a quick refresher of what Ad extensions are and why you should use them:

Ad extensions expand your ad with additional information—giving people more reasons to choose your business. Extension formats include call buttons, location information, links to specific parts of your website, additional text, and more.

1. There are several reasons to use ad extensions and in this introduction we’ll dive into each one:

2. They take up more space on the search page, pushing down competitor ads

3. They give more information about your business

4. They are free to use!

5. They can increase your Click-through-rate


1. They take up more space on the search page

 One of the best reasons to use Ad Extensions is that they take up more space. When a potential lead or client looks up your query on Google, your ad is competing against every other link on the SERPs  to get clicked on.

Extensions change the size of your ad from this:

simple ad

To this:

 ad with extensions

You can take more space on the SERP which in turn helps to push other ads or organic listings further down the page. With this example, you can see why the CTR will go up when your ads use ad extensions vs when they don’t.

2. They give more information about your business

 So what will you do with all that space you now have access to? You give the person searching more relevant information about your business. By giving relevant information you ensure your leads are as targeted as possible and also make the user experience more seamless. Promotions, deeper links to relevant pages on your site, star reviews, address, phone number – all combine to give users more detail about your business before they even click-through your ad.

3. They don’t increase the cost of your ads

A friend of mine used to always say, “if it’s free, I’ll have three”.

The third reason to have Ad Extensions is that they don’t increase the cost of your ads, and you can have a lot more than three of them. Some extensions are clickable, but you are charged the same cpc as if the user had clicked on another part of your ad. Below we will go over all the ad extensions and some tips to consider when using them.

Although Ad Extensions give you an opportunity to give the end consumer more information, it does not necessarily mean that Ad extensions will guarantee an increase in your ads performance and quality score. The reason why it may not necessarily increase performance is because Google chooses when to use Ad extensions based on whether it predicts that it will increase the Ad’s click through rate, so Ad extensions are not always guaranteed to appear on your ads at all times.

4. Did I mention they will frequently increase your CTR?

 Extensions have been shown to increase the click-through rate of your ad: On average Google found that there is a 10-15% CTR uplift from implementing ad extensions.


Now that you know some of the benefits of ad extensions, let’s jump into the different extensions and how they appear on your ad.

Ad Extensions:

1. Adwords Sitelink Extensions

2. Adwords Location extensions

3. Affiliate Location Extensions

4. Structured Snippet Extensions

5. AdWords Call Extensions

6. Message Extensions

7. Adwords App Extensions

8. Adwords Callout Extensions

9. Adwords Price Extensions

10. Promotion Extensions

1. AdWords Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink Extensions are additional links that you can add to your search ad. These allow searchers to see your various offerings before clicking, so that the person who searched can select a link that (if you’ve set them up correctly) fits their needs. We have a client that has two skincare products for acne, one of which is specifically targeted towards teens. But, if a user searches for “Acne” and I don’t know if they are a teen, I can include a sitelink directed towards teens with a headline like “Teen Acne Solutions.”

Below is an example of sitelinks giving the user various SEO in the sitelinks.



Sitelink Extensions can also appear in an expanded format which takes more space in the SERP. Google will use this format if it predicts this format will increase CTR.


sitelinks expanded 


  • Line Text 75 character limit.
  • Sitelink text is limited to 25 characters in most languages, or 12 characters in double-width languages (like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean)
  • Sitelink extensions on desktops allow up to 6 sitelinks, while mobile allows only up to 4.
  • The sitelink may not be expanded so it is important to be concise with your description.
  • Create mobile-optimized sitelinks to maximize your mobile ad performance.


2. AdWords Location Extensions

Location Extensions show your storefront address and hours of operation in your search ad. These are absolutely essential if you’re looking for more in-store foot traffic. In order to set up location extensions, you must connect a ‘Google My Business Account” to AdWords, which we recommend all advertisers do anyways.


location extensions


They also enable your business to show up on Google Map search results that it might not ordinarily appear in. (Below you’ll see an example where IHOP and Panera Bread take advantage of this strategy.)


location extensions on google maps



  • Location Extensions are most powerful with granular geotargeting around your store’s location. For example, validate your “Buy Local XYZ” ad with a location extension proving your proximity.


3. Affiliate Location Extensions

Affiliate Location Extensions are most useful for large brands who sell products nationwide. They help potential customers find the best nearby physcial location to purchase products from.


affiliate extension



  • Unlike standard location extensions, advertisers do not need a ‘Google My Business’ account.
  • To set up affiliate location extensions in Google Ads, navigate to the Extensions page and add a new affiliate location extension at the account level, specify the retail chains where your products are sold, and Google will take care of the rest.


4. Structured Snippet Extensions

Structured Snippet Extensions provide advertisers three additional header lines of text to highlight key aspects of your business, including but not limited to:

  • Amenities
  • Brands
  • Courses
  • Degree Programs
  • Destinations
  • Featured Hotels
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Models
  • Neighborhoods
  • Service Catalog
  • Shows
  • Styles
  • Types

Each of these categories are a header followed by your list of these aspects. Here’s an example of two structured snippets, “Services” and “Brands” appearing in one ad:


Structured snippets



  • You may add up to 13 different types of values to your structured snippets, so be sure to utilize the diverse amount of content options by adding at least 4 values per header.
  • Snippets have a maximum of 25 characters.
  • Keep your headers short, sweet, and easy to read at a glance.


5. AdWords Call Extensions

Call Extensions allow you to show your phone number on your ad. They’re popularly known as click to call extensions because, on mobile, users are able to click your ad to dial your business.


call extensions



  • Choose keywords that indicate that the user is ready to convert over the phone.
  • Be sure to set up an Ad Schedule Bid Adjustment for your business hours to ensure you or your staff are available to answer the call.
  • o promote a better user experience, phone numbers must be verified by Google before they can be used in ads and extensions. See the Unverified phone number policy for more information.
  • Phone numbers in ads and extensions must be accurate, active, and relevant to the business being advertised. See the Unacceptable phone number policy for more information.
  • Track all call activity by setting up call conversion tracking in AdWords with a Google Forwarding Number or by using a service like CallRail for additional details.


6. Message Extensions

Prefer text over a phone call? Message extensions provide a button on mobile ads that prompts your potential customers to contact you via text message.


message extensions



  • You may create a message extension across multiple campaigns and ad groups.
  • Phone numbers that are accurate, active, relevant, or and connect to the advertised company
  • Phone numbers that are local or domestic for the targeted country


7. AdWords App Extensions

App Extensions allow you to add a mobile app download button next to your Search Ad. It attaches your app’s thumbnail icon, name, and a customizable call to action button beneath your text ad using “Smart” detection of app store and device as seen below on the clash of clans ad.


mobile app extensions




8. AdWords Callout Extensions

Callout extensions are similar to Sitelink Extensions, without the clickable links. They allow you to provide additional detail and relevance to your ad while maintaining a laser-focused call-to-action.


callout extensions



  • Provide additional selling points to set yourself apart from the competition.
  • This is a effective for general business attributes that set you apart like “Free Shipping.” “Free Returns” “x day trial” “Money Back guarantee” and Seasonal Offerings.
  • You can decide which callouts appear for different search terms.
  • 25 character limit.


9. AdWords Price Extensions

Price Extensions showcases your products and services with transparent pricing directly on the ad.


Price extensions



  • Transparent pricing may decrease traffic, overall, but use CPA as your guiding metric. Fewer clicks for the same number of conversions means you’re driving more qualified traffic.
  • Use unique final URLs for increased ad relevance.
  • Price extensions only appear when your ad rank is #1.
  • Use price extensions in conjunction with other extensions like Call extensions and Location extensions to drive more qualified calls and visitors.


10. Promotion Extensions

Promotion Extensions advertise coupons, deals, and sales offerings. They’re usually paired with a price tag icon, which helps your ad take up more real estate and really stand out above your competitors on Google Search.


Promotion extensions



  • AdWords has a ton of pre-selected promotions that go on all-year, including Mother’s Day, Christmas, Labor Day, and Cyber Monday.
  • You may select one of four promotion options:
    • Monetary Discount: $10 off every purchase!
    • Percent Discount: 15% off today!
    • Up to monetary discount: Up to $10 off!
    • Up to percent discount: Up to 15% off!
  • You can schedule promotion extensions within AdWords for custom holidays and promotions that are unique to your business.
  • You won’t lose any historical data if you create a new promotion extension.

Hope this overview of ad extensions was resourceful for you.