PPC Ad Extensions and Your Money: How are They Related?

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By Don Sturgill

WHAT IF I TOLD YOU there is a simple, but often overlooked, way to get a much higher click-through rate (CTR) on your pay-per-click (PPC) ads?

Would that be something of value to you?

And what if I added that this PPC secret won’t cost any more per click than you are already paying … that it may, in fact, even help lower your cost-per-click (CPC)?

Are you interested?

joy of the catch

Fish on! (Creative Commons) via Kevin Poh – clipped to fit

PPC ad extensions: You may need them now, more than ever

Until recently, ad extensions were a good idea. Now, some PPC gurus say they are essential.

Since October, 2013, ad extensions have become more than a way to increase your CTR; they now affect your ad rank – which affects where your ad will show on the page, compared to the other ads (your ad position). Google now figures the “expected impact from ad extensions” into the ad rank calculation.

The function of AdWords ad extensions is to provide additional information to searchers (also known as “potential customers”) and give them additional paths on their way to your offer. Moreover, ad extensions take up more visual space, making your ad more prominent on the search engine results page (SERP). Simply making use of an ad extension can help your ad earn better placement on the search engines result page (SERP).

One word of caution, though: depending on your own goals and situation, you may be better off with a lower ad position. Take a look at these results, noted by paid search strategist, Richard Farr, at  ParagonPPC:  Higher PPC Bids vs. Lower Bids: Which One Wins.

PPC ad extensions are expensive though, right?

Here’s the part that amazes me about ad extensions: they are severely underused by internet advertisers … but, they come at no extra cost to a business utilizing pay-per-click (unless, of course, you count increased clicks as extra expense … and, if that is the case, you need to stop and regroup … fast). A click on an ad extension link costs the same as a click on any other part of your ad.

The truth is, given the likelihood that ad extensions will improve your quality score – and the higher your quality score, the less each click can cost – one might argue that ads with extensions cost less than ads that don’t make use of them.

Here, again … be careful. I am not saying your primary concern should be quality score or even cost-per-click. For most businesses, the metrics that matter are centered on the bottom line: Profit. The most important question is whether ad extensions will give you a better return on investment (ROI), not whether they will increase your quality score.

For further insight, take a look at this article by Conversion Max CMO, Theresa Baiocco: Why You Shouldn’t Optimize for Quality Score.

Why not use PPC ad extensions?

Small business owners often don’t have sufficient in-house time or ability to put much effort into fine-tuning their AdWords account. They get a basic system configured and call it “good enough.”

Ad extensions are sometimes seen as just too much hassle to set up and manage. Throw in the dynamic nature of the AdWords program – changes announced and made on a rapid and regular basis – and business owners are faced with either clumsily managing their own account or hiring an agency. Either way, ad extensions take additional work and often get left out of the process.

PPC account management takes plenty of work without tacking on ad extensions.

The rewards can be well worth the cost, however. After all, the difference between acceptable and exceptional is about 10% more effort. But that is a 10% most people won’t take – whether on their own behalf or for someone else.

There are times when ad extensions are the cat’s meow, and there are times when they can be the dog’s bite. Your situation is unique. Study to create a hypothesis about how you can improve your results and what you hope to see. Change something. Test to determine the effect of that change. Analyze the results. Then create another hypothesis and do it all over again … never taking your eyes off the bottom line.

Which PPC ad extension should I use?

Ad extensions are available to fit just about every internet advertising need. Do you want to add your phone number to the ad? There’s an ad extension for you. Want to include your address with your ad? No problem. How about throwing in a special offer? Google AdWords ad extensions have you covered.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of ad extensions, so you can see them in action.

Examples of how to use AdWords PPC ad extensions

Adding a sitelink extension can be a powerful, powerful way to move your ad up in position and get more clicks. Interestingly enough, attorneys in Salt Lake City have figured that out … but their counterparts in Dallas haven’t.

lawyers and sitelinks

Salt Lake City lawyers know about sitelinks


Sitelinks: See the four options — Truck Accidents, Contact Us, etc. — under the top ad? Those are sitelinks, and this attorney is using them to the fullest. Google AdWords allows four links aimed at relative pages. Sitelinks provide more ways for prospective customers to interact with your business, and they are an excellent means of highlighting keywords describing benefits and services to attract those potential inquiries.

Dallas lawyers need someone to explain the value of sitelinks to them

Dallas lawyers need someone to explain the value of sitelinks to them

They haven’t caught on to sitelinks; to their credit, though, these Dallas attorneys are using other AdWords PPC ad extensions.

Call extensions: Both of the Dallas attorneys (as well as the top ranking Salt Lake City attorney) are using call extensions in their PPC ad. See the phone number? Google no longer allows phone numbers to be placed in your ad — except by using a call extension. Mobile ads are an especially good place to use call extensions. The searcher only needs to touch the number to respond. Could that help your conversion rate? Chances are good … it could.

Location extensions: Only one of the lawyers is taking advantage of a location extension. See the second position for Dallas — the address (location) is provided. Some businesses may not want customers to drop on by the office (and the other three lawyers apparently do not). Others are remiss not to include location — the pizza parlor we spoke of recently, for example. Location can be of  no consequence, or it can be of great importance. Each business must consider its own particular situation.

Let’s not just pick on lawyers, though … why not plumbers? They charge about the same, and both can get you out of messy situations.

Dallas plumbers AdWords

Plumbers in Dallas don’t mess around!

It appears the plumbers in Dallas are better educated than the lawyers in Dallas (as far as AdWords go). I’m not sure, though, about the “$88 for any Dain Cleaning” link. Who says plumbers need to be able to spell “Drain,”  correctly though? It’s a big enough job to clear one.

Do note the top position ad is using sitelinks, and those links are not typical website page names. Two of them announce special offers, one highlights a feature (24-hour Emergency Response), and the other builds credibility. That’s a balanced offering of reasons to click on this ad.

An extension that could be used here to further highlight the deals is the offer extension — it would add a line saying “View offer.” When clicked, it would open up to a coupon or other printable document the customer could redeem.

Of course, it’s going to take a plumber from Oregon to figure something that bodacious out.

oregon plumber adwords

Oregon plumbers have all the tools on hand

See it there at the bottom? Click on that “$50.00 Off Coupon” link, and your call to this Portland plumber is going to be backed up by proof you are entitled to get fifty bucks off the service. And who doesn’t like saving money?

Do Google PPC AdWords extensions work? Try them and see. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” is an appropriate adage any time you are talking about AdWords. Here’s the main thing to remember: Always, always, always make sure every action you take is good for the bottom line. Never get so caught up in statistics that you lose money trying to improve a metric of secondary importance.


Find out more about how PPC extensions can help you realize higher Conversion Rates. Call 888-659-2680 to get your free consultation with the Conversion Max team.

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Don Sturgill

Writer, Dreamer, Believer and Friend of Entrepreneurs, Don Sturgill is a freelance writer and the author of Roadmap to Freedom (Dream Into It), the field manual that helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into reality … fast. Don is from Bend, Oregon, PPC capital of the world. His home on the web is at donsturgill.com.

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