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The Complete Guide to AdWords Ad Extensions

[As seen on TV voice]

Do YOU want to make your ad stand out from the competition?
Do YOU want to improve your clickthrough rate (CTR)?
Do YOU want an easy way to instantly improve your Quality Score?

If you answered YES, YES and YES, it’s time to master AdWords Ad Extensions – one of the key pillars to search advertising success.

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What is an ad extension?

Ad Extensions are extra snippets of relevant information about your business that can be added to your AdWords text ads. These can include your business’ location, phone number, business ratings, and more (via AdWords Glossary)

There are two categories of Ad Extensions: Automatic and Manual Ad Extensions. It’s important to note that ad extensions don’t always show, so be sure to keep the most important information in your text ad. More on that later.

How are manual extensions different from automated extensions?

In short, manual ad extensions require you to manually fill out your business details. Automated extensions do not.

As you will learn below, Manual Extensions are much more powerful because of their customizability and reporting simplicity. Let’s get started!



Manual Ad Extensions in AdWords

Manual Ad Extensions are customizable add-ons to your search ads that provide additional details about your product or service. When people refer to Ad Extensions, they usually mean Manual Ad Extensions. These powerful snippets of bonus information can display anything from specific click-to-call buttons to store location info. Now let’s break down every extension and identify which ones are the most effective for YOUR business.


Ad Extension Best Practices and Breakdown 

1. AdWords Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink Extensions are additional links that you can add to your search ad. These allow searchers to see all your various offerings up front so their click is more relevant to their needs.

Sitelinks Extension

How to enable Sitelinks in AdWords

Rules & Smart Tips:  

  • 75 characters maximum.
  • Shoot for a title 25 characters or less.
  • Sitelink extensions on desktops allow up to 6 sitelinks, while mobile allows only up to 4.
  • These are best used with branded campaigns or when Broad Match Keywords are used. This allows you to cast a wide net and still come away with a great haul.
  • Be concise with your description. Make one selling point and move on.
  • If you’re running a highly targeted campaign like one using the 1-per rule, don’t use sitelinks. They will pull away from your main call-to-action.
  • 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.

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 Extension

How to Enable AdWords Location Extension

Rules & Smart Tips: 

  • 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.
  • Not necessarily for brick and mortar – combine a location extension with a callout extension to advertise “in store returns” or “free in-store fittings.”

3. Affiliate Location Extensions

Affiliate Location Extensions are most useful for large brands who sell products nationwide. They help potential customers find the best retail chains to buy your products. Currently, this feature includes the largest chains in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Netherlands, and France.

Affiliate Location Extension

Rules & Smart Tips: 

  • Add your affiliate location extensions on the extensions page. Upon enabling it on the account level, Google will run it for you.
  • Unlike standard location extensions, advertisers do not need a ‘Google My Business’ account.

4. Structured Snippet Extensions

Structured Snippet Extension

Structured Snippet Extensions provide advertisers three additional header lines of text to highlight key aspects of your business, including:

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

Rules & Smart Tips: 

  • 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.
  • Keep it under 25 characters.
  • Keep your headers short, sweet, and easy to understand at a glance. Mobile users will appreciate you.

Want to learn more about structured snippets? We’ve got a whole blog post on ’em!

5. AdWords Call Extensions

Call Extension

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.

How to Enable Call Extensions in AdWords

Rules & Smart Tips:

  • Choose the right keyword match types that suggest that the user is ready to take the leap and convert over the phone.
  • BE ABSOLUTELY SURE to set up an Ad Schedule Bid Adjustment to make sure you and your staff are around to actually field your call.
  • Make sure you’re taking them to the right phone line. Check your search terms report to ensure that your ad isn’t triggering for customer support searches. It’ll cost you money, it’ll waste your sales team’s time, and it provides a bad user experience. Triple Bad!
  • Use call extensions on desktop to get calls for free. If a person calls your number from your search ad but does not click, you will only be charged for an impression.
  • Track all call activity by setting up call conversion tracking in AdWords with your very own Google Forwarding Number.
  • If you want to show an ad that ONLY features a click-to-call CTA, create a Call-Only Campaign, a subset of Mobile-Only Campaigns.

6. Message Extensions


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

Rules & Smart Tips:

  • Message extensions may be added automatically for mobile users.
  • You may create a message extension across multiple campaigns and ad groups.

AdHawk Pro Tip:

You, unfortunately, can not track conversions for Message Extensions. Work around this by setting up a Google Forwarding number through Google Voice. Use that specific Google Voice number in your message extensions, and you’ll know that all the conversions from that number came from your extension.

– Brendan Montgomery | Digital Marketing Manager

7. AdWords App Extensions


App Extensions allow you to add a mobile app download button next to your Search Ad. It attaches your thumbnail icon, name, and a customizable call to action button beneath your text ad as seen above with Amazon.

How to Enable App Extensions in AdWords

Rules and Smart Tips

8. AdWords Callout Extensions

Callout Extension

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.

Rules & Smart Tips:

  • Provide additional selling points to set yourself apart from the competition.
  • Improve CTR and conversion rate (mentioned above).
  • This is a great area 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.
  • Great for broad match keywords.
  • 25 character limit.

9. AdWords Price Extensions


Price Extension

Google released Price Extensions from beta in July 2016. This ad extension showcases your products and services with transparent pricing directly on the ad.

Deep dive: How to set up Price Extensions in AdWords

Price & Smart Tips:

  • 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.
  • List a minimum of 3 items you want to feature. Having at least 5 is a common best practice.

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.

Price & Smart Tips:

  • 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!
  • Be sure to create a cohesive landing page experience that also promotes the discount code. If you want to get real fancy, restrict just AdWords ads to a certain code to ensure your conversion tracking is actually leading to deals captured and sale made.

AdWords Review Extensions : Discontinued

Okay if you’re a big nerd like me, you’re welcome to read a little about this nice piece of advertising history. Review Extensions used to allow your customers to speak for you by annotating your text ad with a review from a Google Trusted Site. However, as of January 2018, review extensions do not show for advertisers and previous performance data will be deleted along with it. In order to save your data, download your extensions report by going to the extensions page on Google AdWords and click “Ads & Extensions.” No worries – there are plenty other extensions you can use instead, such as sitelinks, callouts, and structured snippets.


How to Set Up Ad Extensions in the New AdWords Experience

  1. Open Google AdWords.
  2. Select your campaign or ad group.
  3. On the left-hand side, select the ‘Ads & Extensions’ tab.
  4. On the top menu, click on ‘Extensions.’Create-new-extension
  5. Click the giant + sign to create a new extension.Manual-Ad-Extensions
  6. Select the extension that you want to create. Hovering over each extension will prompt a short blurb that describes what the extension does.AdWords-Creation-Preview
  7. Fill in all the necessary criteria. Google will provide a preview of the ad extension on the right side as you create your ad.
  8. Hit save! Congrats, you’ve added a new extension!

How to Set Up Ad Extensions in the Old AdWords Experience

  1. From your AdWords Dashboard Select the campaign or ad group you would like to add your location to. Ad extensions can be added at the campaign or ad group levels. It is important to remind you that ad extensions are only available for Search Network Only and Search with Display Select Text Ads.
  2. Select the  Ad Extensions  tab
  3. Click the View:  drop-down menu & select  [Your Preferred Extension]
  4. Click the   EXTENSION  button
    • Follow the Extension-Specific Tutorials
    • Select  Done 
  5. Your extension should be approved within 24 hours

How to Edit Your Extensions in Bulk

  1. From your AdWords dashboard, select the campaign or ad group you would like to view.
  2. On the left-hand side, click ‘ads & extensions.’
  3. Select the Ad Extensions tab at the top.
  4. Check the boxes of the extensions you want to edit.Editing-Ad-Extensions-In-Bulk
  5. Click ‘Edit Extension.’
  6. Make your edits and voila! You’ve edited your extensions in bulk.

Automatic Ad Extensions in AdWords

Now that you’ve become familiar with manual ad extensions, let’s talk about Automated, or Automatic, Ad Extensions.


Sometimes, Google automatically pulls data from various sources to create an extension for your ad. Since you cannot control automatic ad extensions, we advise you use Manual Ad Extensions to replace automatic extensions and to fully control your ad’s messaging. That said, there are six types of automatic extensions that may be added to your text ads. Here’s a breakdown of each of them.

That said, there are six types of automatic extensions that may be added to your text ads. Here’s a breakdown of each of them and how to opt-out of them.

  1.  Consumer Ratings Extensions are ratings generated from certified Google sources and Google Consumer surveys, usually shown with multiple categories scored out of 10.
    google adwords customer ratings
    Consumer Ratings Opt-out form
  2. Previous Visit Extension: includes a short annotation telling the user if they have recently visited the site shown.
    previous visit ad extension
    source: BlueCorona

    Opt-out of Previous Visit Extensions here

  3. Seller Ratings Extensions are automated extensions that add your store’s rating out of 5 stars according to a range of Google’s trusted review sources like (Google Trusted Stores, StellaService, and Google Consumer Surveys)
    seller ratings extension adwords
    Opt-out of Seller Ratings Extensions here
  4. Dynamic Sitelink Extensions link to a popular offering or piece of content on your website.
    dynamic sitelink extension adwords
    Opt-out of Dynamic Sitelinks here
  5. Social Extensions show your Google page information like the number of followers or even images of friends who also like the company showing the ad.
    social extension adwords
    Source: PPCHero

    Opt-out of Social Extensions here

  6. Dynamic Structured Snippets show addition information about various categories of your site or information Google deems relevant.
    Dyanamic Structured snippets extension adwords
    Opt-out of Dynamic Structured Snippets here

The most commonly asked question about automatic ad extensions that we hear is:

How do I pause automated ad extensions in AdWords?

Though Google intends to improve your ad performance by automatically adding extensions, a bad consumer rating or distracting social extension can do more harm than good. There are 2 ways to pause or remove automatic ad extensions.

How to remove automatic extensions in AdWords

Though Google intends to improve your ad performance by automatically adding extensions, a bad consumer rating or distracting social extension can do more harm than good.

You can use Manual (Regular) ad extensions to replace the automatic extension. For example, Google will display your manual Review Extension or Sitelink Extension over automatic dynamic sitelink extensions or automated location extensions. Remember, though, Google auto-populates automated extensions for testing purposes. No manual extensions are guaranteed to prevent automated extensions from showing. However, you can manually go into AdWords and stop all automated extension from showing. This is how.

  1. Open Google AdWords.
  2. Open up your Search Campaign.
  3. Go to the Ads & Extensions tab on the left.
  4. Click the Extensions tab on the top.
  5. Select an extension on an ad by checking the box to the left of the ad.
  6. Click Remove.

Reporting and Viewing Automated Ad Extensions within AdWords

Before you go turning off automated extensions, you should check and see how they’re actually impacting your performance!

Automated Ad Extensions Reporting in the New AdWords Experience

  1. Open Google AdWords and click through to a campaign.
  2. Select the ‘Ads & Extensions’ tab on the left-side menu.
  3. Click the ‘AUTOMATED EXTENSIONS’ tab on the top.

You can view the performance of your Search Ads that have automated extensions by following these 4 steps:

  1. From your AdWords Dashboard, select the campaign or ad group you would like to view.
  2. Select the  Ad Extensions  tab
  3. Click the View:  drop-down menu
  4. Select   Automated extensions report 

That’s all for Automatic Ad Extensions! Now let’s see how you can maximize your AdWords success with a few tips and best practices!

11 Benefits and Best Practices for Ad Extensions 

  1. Improve Quality Score and Ad Rank FOR FREE: Google confirmed back in 2013 that it considers relevant uses of ad extensions in its Quality Score calculations. FREE = enabling ad extensions = improved quality score. Transitive property, people! This is a free way to improve your quality score. Note: an improvement in Ad Rank may drive up your CPCs because they’re clicked in a higher position.
    Related: How to Achieve a (Near) Perfect Quality Score
  2. 10-15% Increase in CTR (click through rate) according to Google 
  3. Free real estate = More clicks. Ads with extensions take up more space in the search engine results page. Even if you don’t provide additional relevant info, you have more visual real estate which will drive more clicks.  
  4. There’s no need to guess what works best. Set up as many relevant extensions as possible. Google chooses the best performing combinations of ad extensions to display.
    *Smart Tip: Gain insight into customer behavior by checking which combination of ad extensions Google has selected. 
  5. Control CPC’s with bids, not by removing ad extensions. If you see an increase in position from adding an extension, you may see an increase in CPC. Adjust this with manual bid adjustments rather than removing the free quality score booster.  
  6. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” Though we suggest including some ad extension 9 times out of 10, they require effort. A weak message or irrelevant offering will simply dilute your ad’s relevance and effectiveness.
  7. Make your extensions as relevant as possible. See #4 . Google optimizes for the searcher’s experience, so it will show the most relevant and useful content.   
  8. Forget what you optimized? Use the change history report to see what changes were made in the past. Optimize based on those results, or let AdHawk do it for you.
  9. Ad extensions on mobile have a huge impact on CTR. The growth of mobile (the Chrome mobile browser has 1 billion monthly active users for example) paired with Google’s mobile optimization efforts results in extremely natural user experience between the searcher and ad extensions. Check out this heat map study from Bing Ads on mobile search behavior:
    mobile ad extensions heat map
  10. Don’t look at clicks when comparing extension performance. Instead, segment your data by ‘click type’ to see if your audience is actually clicking your extensions.
  11. Let AdHawk do this for you. Learn more!


Join the Conversation!

We’d love to hear your experiences with Ad Extensions and your thoughts on our guide. Join the conversation in the comments below.

28 responses to “The Complete Guide to AdWords Ad Extensions

  1. Very nice overview. I’m doing a video on my Youtube channel covering extensions and was going to write a post as well. Might just link to this since you’ve done a nice job already with an overview (and I’d rather not update my post every week when AdWords changes adds and deprecates extensions!). I noticed you link to Youtube videos so maybe you’ll want to use mine. I’ll email you (if I can track down your email).

  2. It is amasing how there are many adwords extensions that most marketers are not using to help them get improved conversions in there adwords campaign. It is not just set and run, with these adwords extension tools it helps build a converting campaigns.

  3. Hi, stumbled across this blog recently. Really helpful in learning the nitty gritties of Adwords. Great posts that explain the topic extremely well.
    Will definitely recommend to others

    Keep posting 🙂

    1. Hi Maite,
      Thanks for stopping by! From what we know, the only extensions available on GDN are call extensions and location extensions, but they’re not very common.

  4. Hey, the article was really very helpful. I was really looking forward to having some in-depth knowledge of ad extensions. Just loved your post and the information provided by.

  5. Hey Bobby,

    Great detailed informative post. Thanks for sharing such insightful information.
    Extensions are really necessary for an ad. People sometimes click on extension rather than clicking on your ad if you have mentioned the extension properly.

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About the Author

Marketing and Growth Director at AdHawk. Helping business find confidence and success online, one hefty article at a time.