Ask any brand what position they want to be in on Google’s search result pages, and they’re obviously going to say “number one”. Why wouldn’t they? Ranking in the top positions of Google’s SERPs puts you in the most powerful position, as users are likely to see you before your competitors and choose to click on your website.
However, there’s potentially a more powerful position to be in than coming in as number one in the organic rankings: having your paid ad appear at the top of the page. Ads (and images) appear above organic results. This benefits both you and Google; you get the web traffic, and Google gets paid every time someone clicks on your ad. The secret is making these ads work as hard for you as you can. Plain, boring ads with uninspiring copy are doing nothing for you. So how can you improve those ads?
Treat ad extensions as PPC opportunities
A PPC ad for Google and Bing should feature: a headline (up to 25 characters), 2 lines of ad copy (up to 35 characters each), and a display URL (up to 35 characters). So far, so standard.
Ad extensions are one way to make those ads work harder. Ad extensions are added features which can take your ad from zero to hero – increasing that all important conversion rate that I know you’re all looking for!
So, what are some examples of ad extensions? You might choose to feature a “call out”, which allow you to position certain features above your copy, such as “quotes available 24/7”. You might also choose to call attention to how long you’ve been in business, or a certain accreditation.
Another ad extension to consider is a list: which might feature how many followers you have on Google +, for example. On a lot of results you might also notice that the ad links to other, deeper pages in the website to increase the likelihood of you clicking through. Here’s a list of manual Google extensions:
- App extension
- Call extension
- Location extension
- Review extension
- Callout extension
These are just the extensions you can add on manually. There are also a number of automated extensions to choose from, such as:
- Consumer ratings extensions
- Previous visits extensions
- Seller ratings extensions
- Dynamic sitelinks extensions
- Social extensions
- Dynamic structured snippets
Applying any one or a combination of these ad extensions to your ad will not only make it more persuasive and appealing – but will mean it physically takes up more space, therefore making it more likely to attract a user’s attention.
Enough about Google. What about Bing? Bing serves up ads on around 30% of all US searches. It’s not uncommon for four ads to appear above organic listings on any SERP. Bing ads will also be “annotated” with how many people are visited the site. Here’s a list of possible Bing call extensions:
- Sitelink extensions
- Location extensions
- Call extensions
- Product extensions
- App extensions
Bing ads also allow a number of “annotations”, such as:
- Merchant ratings
- Smart annotations
- Twitter annotations
- Dynamic sitelink annotations
- Top ad annotations
- Long ad title annotations.
The more of these extensions you use, the more you’ll pad out the space your ad takes up.
This is where the real appeal of ad extensions lies: real estate!
By taking up more space, you’ll not only push competition down the page, but you also grab the attention of searchers. For example, Google Adwords callout extensions allow you to add on a huge 3-4 25 character chunks of text – effectively extending your dialogue with a user.
To choose the extensions which are right for you, think about what you really want to say to your customer and what you want to prioritise. If you’d like to build trust, perhaps add callouts which refer to your amount of time in industry, guarantee policy and customer satisfaction rating.