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Google AdWords

How to Set Up App Extensions on Google Ads

It’s time the world knows about your fresh new mobile app. Whether your app sells custom underwear, livestreams a zoo, or is positioned to be the next “Uber for cat sitting,” you have to get the right people on the platform.

tommy hilfiger iPhone app

Once you’ve mastered the basic search campaign on Google Ads, you probably have noticed a plethora of extensions available to you. While a lot of them could theoretically help drive app downloads, the App Extension undoubtedly rules them all.

What Are App Extensions?

App Extensions enable advertisers to add an ‘app download’ button on your search ad for both mobile and tablet devices. App Extensions drives users right to your app on the app store with just one click. Here’s what they look like:

App Extensions are smart, too! For example, if your app is only available on Android tablet devices, they’ll only show up if you’re using an Android tablet device! This also applies to mobile and iOS devices.

App Extension Examples

Here are a few examples of App Extensions. As you can see, the extension generates your app icon, the app title, URL, app store rating, description, the number of downloaders, and an ‘install’ CTA button. App Extensions ultimately add an app download button next to your search ad. As you can see below, the popular mobile game Clash of Clans uses a Google Ad App Extension for their ads.

App Extension Pic

I’m using an iPhone for this screenshot, so it takes me directly to the iTunes store like we promised earlierl If you make the same search for “Clash of Clans” on desktop, you will see this: Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.02.35 AM

Okay on to the next one.

You’ll sometimes see multiple Search Ads with App Extensions that pretty much take up the entirety of your screen. Kinda ridiculous, right? For example, let’s search “food apps” and see what we get.


That’s right. You’ll only get 3 results and yup they’re all ads with App Extensions. In crowded spaces like these, you can’t afford not to capitalize on the opportunity. Now let’s compare an ad with the App Extension an ad without one.


Let’s take a look at this ad by Hulu, which immediately grabs my attention. The logo along with the easy install CTA makes this download super duper easy. In comparison, Yahoo’s ad looks duller and pretty darn boring (is that surprising to anyone?). Anyways, this is still a win-win for Yahoo since they own Hulu and their two ads take up the entire SERP.

How to set up an App Extension in Google Ads

  1. Open Google Ads
  2. Select your campaign or ad group
  3. On the left-hand side, select the ‘Ads & Extensions’ tabCreate-App-Extension
  4. On the top menu, click on extensions
  5. Click the giant ➕ sign, to create a new extensionChoose-Extension
  6. Select + New App
  7. Select either Android or iOS for your mobile operating system
  8. Search for your app on Google Play or iTunes Store
  9. Enter a link text, possibly one that says “Download Now” or “Install”
  10. [Optional] – Make sure that your ad is only showing on mobile
  11. After you are satisfied, click Save.
  12. To make sure your app is active, it should be visible on the right-hand side of the screen. The left-hand side is inactive.

How to set up an App Extension in the old AdWords Experience

  1. Select the Campaign you want to add the App Extension to. You can add an App Extension to the whole campaign or on the Ad Group level
  2. Click the Ad Extensions  tab
  3. Click the View:  drop-down menu & selectApp extensions
  4. Click the   EXTENSION  button
  5. Click   New App  under the white box
    • You can apply App extensions on the whole account level, campaign level, or ad group level. Select the proper toggle menu based on the desired campaign level. *Tip* this could be a great time to A/B test similar ads, changing which extensions are used so you can measure the effectiveness of the various extensions.
  6. Select your desired Operating System. If you’re on both Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play store, make two separate ads for this. Be sure to select the OS that matches the app store your app is on. You don’t want people on android trying to download your App Store app
  7. Next, search for your app on the Google Play or iTunes Store
  8. Next, you can choose what your Call to Action button will say. We highly recommend choosing a direct call-to-action like “Download Now” “Free Today”
  9. [Optional] – Make sure that your ad is only showing on mobile
  10. After you are satisfied, click   Save
  11. To make sure your app is active, it should be visible on the right-hand side of the screen. The left-hand side is inactive.


Universal App Campaigns

Why stop at extensions? Take thing further by utilizing Universal App Campaigns. UACs allow you to easily promote your apps across Google Search Partners, Search, Google Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network.

However, note that they aren’t like regular text ads with App Extensions tacked onto them. You can create a custom combination of assets, text, and icons pulled from your app that Google provides to create your own custom ad.

How will you use App Extensions?

With your newfound knowledge on App Extensions, let us know how we can make your Google Ads experience better by dropping a comment below!

  • What is your biggest challenge with price extensions?
  • What is your favorite ad extension?

See you in the comments or tweet at us @AdHawk. We read every tweet!

About the Author

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