by Louise


Google Analytics, Internet Marketing

AdWords Ad Extensions Explained

Back in September 2006, Google introduced a fantastic new feature to the humble text ad – sitelinks.
Things have come a long way since then and advertisers are now spoilt for choice. The text within an ad remains the most essential element of an ad, however there is now a huge array of ad extensions, allowing advertisers to show extra information about a business.
With so many options, it can often be difficult for advertisers to know how they should be using each one to give users the best experience and ensure they are presented with the information they are looking for.

Some ad extensions can be added manually and others are automated. Today I’d like to focus on the extensions that can be added manually, with ways in which advertisers can use them to successfully promote their business.

Sitelinks Extensions

Sitelinks extensions are a great way to link users to popular pages within a site. They’ve evolved quite significantly since 2006, with two description lines now shown beneath the main headline like so:

These additional lines are a great addition to the link, giving users a brief intro of each page before they click through.
The character limits are as follows:

  • Main headline (link text): 25 characters
  • Description line 1: 35 characters
  • Description line 2: 35 characters

Review Extensions

Review extensions help by giving a brand credibility from a third-party source, such as positive write-ups, awards or third-party rankings. If a third-party has something awesome to say about an advertiser’s business, this is a great way to showcase it!

Each review can be added as an exact quote or paraphrased to show the key points, with a link to the source where users can find the original review, giving users one more reason to click through to the site.

Here’s an example of how we have used our recent win at the RAR Digital Awards:

There is a combined character limit of 67 characters for the review text and source name. The review shouldn’t be more than a year old and will appear on desktop only.

Users are given the option to click on the source – in this case the ‘RAR Digital Awards 2016’ text – to view the review for themselves. Google does not charge for these clicks and in our experience, clicks on these links are very rare.

Callout Extensions

Callout extensions allow advertisers to promote a business’s USPs or additional benefits, like so:

Up to four callouts can be displayed, each limited to 25 characters. Google also gives advertisers the option to add specific callouts for mobile devices to ensure the messaging is tailored for those on the move.

Structured Snippet Extensions

Structured snippets work well to provide a preview of the nature and range of the products a business has to offer.

There are 12 different headers to choose from that should suit most businesses. Here at ConversionWorks, we choose to display the services and training courses we offer:

We tend to find that by giving users as much information as possible up front, we attract clicks from users who are interested in what we have to offer.

Call Extensions

Call extensions can appear alongside an ad like so:


Alternatively, call extensions can be setup within call-only ads to drive calls to a business:

Calls can also be counted as conversions within an account, to allow advertisers to optimise the account based on all conversion actions.

Message Extensions

Message extensions appear with a small icon alongside an ad which allows users to send a text directly to a business to request more information, like this:

Advertisers can set pre-defined message text to make the process quick and easy for users.
The character limits are as follows:

  • Business name: 25 characters
  • Extension text: 35 characters
  • Message text: 100 characters

If users are unable to call but would like information to view later – this is a great way of capturing their request, as well as increase a business’s lead database!

Location Extensions

Location extensions can help people find a business location with a map, an address, or the distance to a business:

When users click or tap on the extension, they are directed to Google Maps, whereby they are able to view a map of the location and can choose to be shown the directions.

Google also gives advertisers the option to show users additional information too, such as opening hours, phone number, photos, etc.

Affiliate Location Extensions

If a business sells products through retail chains, affiliate location extensions can help to reach potential customers find nearby stores that stock the products, like the example below:

Similar to the location extensions, users are given the option to view a map of the location and can choose to be shown the directions.

Price Extensions

Price extensions allow advertisers to showcase a business’s services or range of products, and direct users straight to the pages that interest them.

For example, our client BISSELL Direct have various ranges of carpet cleaning equipment. Below is an ad that enables users to view each range and the prices associated to them:

Once they have found the range they are interested in, they can click through to the correct category page.

The character limits are as follows:

  • Header: 25 characters
  • Description: 25 characters

These are currently displayed across mobile only, however we have seen some impressions across desktop, so it’s likely they will be shown across all devices soon!

App Extensions

Businesses can showcase their mobile or tablet app by showing a link to the app below the main ad:

The link can direct users to the app’s description in the relevant app store for their device, or begin downloading directly from the ad.

The app logo pulls through from the relevant app store automatically and advertisers have up to 25 characters to use for the link text.


And that’s it (for now)! Google always keeps us on our toes by introducing new ad extensions to improve the performance of our ads, so this list is likely to change.

If you’re setting these up within AdWords, remember to make each extension as relevant as possible and don’t buckle under the pressure of filling each field with the maximum number of characters. Often the short and snappy messages are those that are more effective in driving the additional clicks.

Watch this space – we’ll be covering AdWords automated extensions very soon!


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