adwords ad extension guide
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Google AdWords

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. Satisfaction guaranteed (if you watch closely)

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Short on time? Download the Ad Extension Guidebook

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.

types of ad extensions
source: CommerceHub

Automatic Ad Extensions in AdWords

Automatic Ad Extensions automatically pull 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 extension and 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 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.

  1. You can use Manual (Regular) ad extensions to replace the automatic extension. More on those below. For example, Google will display your manual Review Extension or Sitelink Extension over dynamic sitelink extensions or consumer rating extensions.
  2. You can tell Google you want to opt-out of these ads by submitting the forms linked above

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Reporting and Viewing Automated Ad Extensions within AdWords

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 get serious with how you should be using ad extensions.

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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. They can also display specific call to action buttons such as click to call and app downloads. Before we break down each Ad Extension, let’s talk about why every business needs to be setting up ad extensions.

10 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 Acheive a (Near) Perfect Quality Score
  2. 10-15% Increase in CTR (click through rate) accoring 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. Use the change history report to track how performance has changed since adding or removing an extension. Optimize based on those results, or let AdHawk optimize your ads 
  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. Let AdHawk do this for you. Learn more!

How to Set Up Ad Extensions in AdWords:

  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. You extension should be approved within 24 hours

Ad Extension Best Practices and Breakdown 

1. AdWords Sitelink Extensions

sitelinks adwords

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.

How to enable Sitelinks in AdWords

Rules & Smart Tips:  

  • 25 Character maximum.
    *Smart Tip: Shoot for a title 15 characters or less.
  • Desktop allows up to 6 Sitelinks, while mobile allows up to 4.
  • 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.
  • Great for branded campaigns to overview full suite of services
  • Be concise with your description. Make one selling point and move on.
  • *Smart Tip: 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. 

2. AdWords Location Extensions

location extensions adwords

Location Extensions show your storefront location with your search ad. Location Extensions are absolutely essential if you’re looking for in-store traffic.

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. AdWords Call Extensions

call extension adwords

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 make sure 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!
  • If you want to take full control of your call extension ads, pair them with a Call Only Campaign, a subset of Mobile-Only Campaigns.
    *Smart Tip: When setting up a call only campaign, AdWords, by default, checks the box that says something about showing on mobile devices.
  • Use Call-Only Campaigns. With a call-only campaign, users are one click away from talking to you PLUS you pay the same CPC for a website click. This makes us very happy. Set one up.
  • 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 one Google forwarding number.

4. 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

  • Create a remarketing list of mobile site visitors to remarket your app on Search and Display
  • Be sure to set up iOS conversion tracking
  • Be sure to set up Android app conversion tracking

5. AdWords Review Extensions

review extension adwords

2018 Update: Review Extensions Discontinued

As of January 2018, review extensions will 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.

Review Extensions allow your customers to speak for you by annotating your text ad with a review from a Google Trusted Site

Set up a Review Extension in under 5 minutes

Review extensions are some of the toughest for most advertisers, and much of that struggle comes from Google. We’ve seen many cases where advertisers follow all the guidelines for review extensions that Google lays out and they still find their extensions getting denied by AdWords. Here are some guidelines that will put you in the best position for approval.

  • Read through Google’s awesome guidelines for Review Extensions here
  • Great for broad match keywords
  • Use for a brick and mortar location in tandem with zip code or radius targeting

6. AdWords Callout Extensions

callout extension adwords

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.

How to enable Callout Extensions in AdWords

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

7. AdWords Price Extensions


adwords price extensions

Google released Price Extensions from beta in July 2016. This mobile-only 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. Less 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

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

10 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.

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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.