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Don’t get carried away with ad extensions

Your Google search advertising has come a long way from the three short lines of text originally offered when AdWords began. Apart from the acres of extra headline and description space now being offered, you’ll be constantly pestered by Google Ads to include Sitelinks, Call Extensions, Review Extensions, Location Extensions, Callouts, Structured Snippets, Price Extensions and Promotion Extensions. Google gives the impression that it’s ‘best practice’ to include as many of these as possible. If they’re used, your advert might end up looking substantially larger than your competitors, and that must be a good thing, right?

I’m much less sure. For a start, the display of some of these extensions is starting to look really tatty. ‘Callouts’, which are short slogans highlighting your USPs, used to have a line of their own, separated by little bullet points. Now they’re being included in the main ad text, making it look like you ran out of ideas while writing the advert. ‘Structured Snippets’, which are lists of things like models available, are often inappropriate for industrial advertisers because the classifications offered are so limited. I could go on.

Most importantly, while some of your submitted extensions will be used, you’ll never get them all; the ones shown will be at Google’s discretion. So consider not putting the less impressive ones in the mix. We’re working on experiments for clients whose ads show in large volumes to see if dropping certain extensions actually gets better performance from ads. If it does, we’ll probably roll out the results to smaller clients who wouldn’t have the data to discover that.

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