It takes a lot of time and effort to do this effectively. But what happens when ads still aren’t getting the click through rates or quality scores expected? It could be that these ads are missing a very important aspect…

Introducing ad extensions

Ad extensions are a type of ad format that provide additional information about a business alongside the 140-character ad text, such as phone numbers, locations and USPs. Some can be added manually and others are automated, and they are shown at Google’s discretion when relevant to a user’s search query.

So what are the benefits?

Ad extensions tend to improve an ad’s visibility. If two competing ads have the same bid and quality score, then the ad with greater expected impact from extensions will generally win the auction and appear in a higher position than the other.

Ad extensions also increase the quality score of ads. Which will be taken into account when an ad goes into the auction; helping these ads show in higher positions for a lower cost per click compared to competing ads.

Finally, extensions also help improve the click-through rate (CTR) of ads. More clicks mean more customer traffic. Google carried out a case study using a hotel chain who were able to increase conversions by 14% using sitelinks and form extensions. Click-through rates also increased by 19% with the use of review extensions.

What types of extensions are there?

There are wide range of extensions available – each designed to engage and inform the reader in a different way. Check them out below…

Image shows the different types of ad extensions with examples


Structured snippets allow advertisers to describe features of a specific product or list the range of products or services that their business offers.

Each snippet text value for a header must be 25 characters or fewer.


Call extensions allow a phone number to be included in alongside text ads. Over 50% of call extensions are either accidental calls or customer service calls, but the other 50% are made up of genuine sales enquiries. Call extensions can be set to show only when a business is open to take calls.

Google forwarding numbers are setup at the same time as call extensions, and allow an advertiser to report on the calls received through call extensions and call-only ads; offering details such as call duration, call start and end time, caller area code and whether the call was connected. Phone calls of a specified duration can be counted as conversions, and automated bidding strategies can be used to increase the likelihood of these conversions.


The sitelinks ad extension shows links to specific pages on a website beneath the text of ads (and in addition to the main landing page). Sitelinks offer relevant alternatives to the main landing page which are helpful in helping visitors find exactly what they are looking for, and appear in ads at the top and bottom of Google search results. Ads on search result pages displayed on desktop computers and tablets can show from two to six sitelinks at a time in addition to the Display URL. And advertisers can also check the ad extensions tab to see how ads that contain sitelinks perform.

Sitelink descriptions enable the addition of two additional lines of descriptive text to be displayed with each sitelink. A key strategy behind this feature is increasing presence on branded terms by the space occupied; pushing any competitors into lower, less desirable positions.


Seller ratings are an automated extension that let searchers know which advertisers are highly rated for quality service. Seller ratings give potential customers’ insights into what doing business with a company is like and allows them to differentiate themselves from their competitors.


Advertisers can extend AdWords campaigns by dynamically attaching a business address to ads, with location extensions. As well as the description lines and URL that appear in ad text, an ad can also feature a business name, address and phone number.

Location extensions can help attract customers who may be just around the corner from a store as well as those searching in an area they’re planning to visit soon, and with 50% mobile local searches resulting in an in-store visit within 3 hours of the search, the power of location extensions is huge. These in-store visits which lead to conversions can also be tracked, find out more about in-store conversion tracking on the Silverbean blog here.


Image shows message ad extensions with example

Message extensions allow for a click-to-message button to be added to mobile ads. Clicking this will open up a text ready to send to the number attached to the ad, allowing customers to gain more information conveniently and efficiently.

Advanced options allow for a pre-filled message to be sent as soon as the button is clicked and the option to only show your message extension when someone is available to respond.


Image shows visual sitelinks ad extensions with example

Visual sitelinks allow for images to be attached to sitelinks. These visual sitelinks will then be displayed in a carousel format as opposed to the usual list format, allowing for a more user friendly experience. Visual sitelinks are currently in beta and are not widely available at present.


How to set up and manage Ad Extensions:

  1. Select the ‘Ad Extensions’ tab from the campaign page.
  2. From the view drop down menu in the top left choose a type of extensions.
  3. Next to the red ‘+Extension’ button choose at which level to set the ad extension; account, campaign or ad group.
  4. Click ‘+Extension’.
  5. If added at campaign or ad group level select which campaign or ad group to apply the extension to by clicking them. If account level is chosen they will be applied to all ads in the account.
  6. Choose from the existing list of extensions or choose to add a new one.
  7. After the extension has been added, its performance data will appear here, within the current view.
  8. Using this data, a marketer can test different combinations to see what works best and add and remove extensions as they see fit. (To best understand direct clicks on extensions it is required to segment the data by ‘This Extension v Others’ in the ‘Segment’ tab drop down menu).

So there you have it, how to give ads that extra punch in order to drive click-through rates. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you wish to find out more!