Create a strategic messaging plan for ad extensions in Google Ads

1. Define your objective for using ad extensions and note the success you are aiming for on your campaigns.

Are you trying to get more clicks to your website? More calls? More brick & mortar store visits? Ad extensions are free to run, and they take up real estate on the SERP, naturally pushing your competitors further down, and often increasing CTR in the process. But not every ad extension is right for every campaign. When CTR is already high, but conversion rate is low, consider using ad extensions to qualify clicks.

2. Choose ad extension types that best support your goals.

For example, if you’re only trying to achieve sales through your online store, then using extensions that allow visitors to get driving directions, download apps, or even call the business, will not accomplish your goal.  If you are using a single, dedicated landing page, sitelinks may not be appropriate. Google Ads is constantly updating which ad extensions are available.

3. Plan global extensions for the account level, and granular extensions for ad groups.

Account level ad extensions should feature high-level, global benefits of the business. For instance, if you had a party supply site, account level sitelinks might include holidays, special occasions, site-wide clearance and tableware. Ad extensions set at the ad group or campaign level, should be specific to those respective themes. For instance, sitelinks for a party supply halloween ad group could include costumes, spooky outdoor decor, smoke machines, and halloween treats.

4. Feature messages in your ad extensions that complement your ad. Don’t relegate your primary messages to extensions.

Ad extensions are not guaranteed to run with your ad, so they shouldn’t contain your most important benefits. Key messages belong in your ad headlines and descriptions, rather than extensions.

5. Include a unique benefit in each ad extension variant, and get creative with phrasing repeated ideas.

You can’t choose which versions or combinations will be shown as the rotation doesn’t allow for A/B testing.  Your ad will read poorly if it displays repetitive, redundant messaging. If you include the same benefit in multiple extensions, change up the phrasing so the ad still reads well, even if the extensions all serve together.  For example, instead of repeating 24/7 support throughout your ad and extensions, mix in midnight calls welcome, day or night, and open weekends.

6.  Write ad extensions that strengthen your positioning and answer WIIFM (what's in it for me).

Avoid generic text such as About Us, FAQ, or Shop Now. These phrases do nothing to position your offer. Be descriptive and specific with your messages. Meet Dr. Jones is better than About Us. Plan your vacation is better than Our process.

7. Plan out ad extensions to deep link your content, showcase your offerings, and segment your audiences.

Think about your ideal customer and what they care about. Craft extensions that demonstrate the benefits of doing business with you. Use sitelinks to deeplink relevant content and showcase your offerings. Use callouts and structured snippets to highlight the services and benefits you provide.

8. Create ad extensions that help qualify the click. You can use ad extensions to repel the wrong audience, just as you can use them to attract the right one.

Even though ad extensions are traditionally used to improve CTR, a strategically lower CTR can keep your click costs low and improve your conversion rate. If your ads have a high CTR but a low Conversion Rate, you can qualify clicks by providing details that repel the wrong audience. A B2B company could use messages that emphasize commercial or enterprise benefits like 10K+ vehicle fleets, to discourage individual consumers from clicking.

9. Use a clickable format such as sitelinks or lead form extensions, to include a call to action in an ad extension.

Don’t use actionable phrases such as Check out our gallery or Contact us now in ad extensions, that don’t provide a method of taking action, such as structured snippets or callout extensions. Sitelinks, lead form extensions, call extensions, location extensions, and app extensions are all clickable.

10. When your strategy is complete, add your ad extensions to your Google Ads account.