Google Ads search extensions explained: Increasing your click-through rate

13 mins read

LAST UPDATED 11th June 2024

PUBLISHED 29th December 2022

Google Ads Search Extensions Explained. Increasing your PPC performance

Originally Published: 3rd December 2019
Updated: 29th September 2022

Ad Assets, formerly known as Extensions, are a key part of any Google Ads Search campaign, a key tool for providing users with more information, key details, and contact opportunities, with the usage of this content proven to increase visibility, click-through rates, and conversion levels.

At a minimum level, all you need for a Google Search campaign is a set of keywords to target, a daily budget, and one responsive search ad.

A responsive search ad allows you to create up to 20 headlines (maximum 30 characters), and 4 descriptions (maximum 90 characters) – at most, your ad will show a combination of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions. This means that no matter how varied you make your ad content, it’s not always going to be possible to get every piece of key information to show at the same time, with some details about your product, service or business not taking centre stage.

In addition to your responsive search ad, Google Ads offers a variety of ad assets. There’s eleven different types of asset available, and it’s recommended that you implement as many of these as possible. Google will choose a different combination of your assets each time they display your ad – the more possible combinations you enable them to choose from, the more likely your advertising space will be maximised and your visibility increased. A stat from Google shows that the implementation of assets can increase a campaign’s click-through rate (CTR) by approximately 10-15%.

Most campaigns will have suitable content for assets such as sitelinks and callouts, while some types like app extensions and affiliate location extensions have narrower purposes and are more of a niche option.

So, what ad assets should you be using, and how can they help you to get more value for your PPC budget?

Image Extensions

The most eye-catching extension available is the image extension, which allows you to add photography or graphics to your search ads.

There are two types of image extension available – standard and dynamic. A standard image extension allows you to upload your own choices of imagery for your campaigns and ad groups, while dynamic is an automated option that pulls images through from your ad’s landing page.

Example of a Google Search ad image extension

The standard option is recommended for advertisers who want maximum control over their image choices and placements. If you’re using this option, you can upload images with two different dimensions – a square 1×1 ratio image is required as minimum, but an optional landscape (1.91×1 ratio) can also be added.

When choosing your images, Google offers multiple options. You can choose to upload your own assets – it’s recommended you use photography of your team, products or premises, or graphics (with no text overlay) that represent your brand. If you don’t have this to hand, you can enter your website’s URL to allow Google to pull through some options, or you can through a library of stock imagery that Google allows you to use for free.

Adding image extensions to a Google Search campaign

Sitelink Extensions

This asset type is a good way of increasing your click-through rate, offering users different pages to choose from that might be more relevant to them and their specific search query.

Your original ad will link through to one page on your website – this should be a page that is highly relevant to the keywords you’re bidding on, with this potentially being a PPC-specific page optimised for a higher conversion rate. However, you can send users to other pages on your website that might be relevant to potential customers.

A Google Search ad with four sitelink extensions displayed

Common examples of pages used as a sitelink extension include special offers, FAQs, and about us pages.

Each sitelink has a clickable title of up to 25 characters, with the option of adding two brief (35 character maximum) description lines. While your sitelinks may still show without the descriptions, adding them will make it more likely that they’ll be displayed.

Callout Extensions

This asset is the best way of including additional selling points of your business, products and services that you couldn’t fit within your headlines and descriptions.

A callout extension can feature up to 25 characters of text, and can be used to highlight key selling points, and smaller pieces of information about your business. You can also set up callouts to run only between selected dates, something that is perfect for highlighting things such as short-term special offers and deals.

Setting up Google Callout Extensions

Callouts are displayed underneath the description section of your ad, and look identical, meaning they come across as almost a continuation of your main text. At any one time, if Google chooses to add your callouts to your listing, there’ll be anywhere between two and six of them visible.

Common examples of callout assets:

  • Free delivery
  • Open 7 days a week
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Money back guarantee

Structured Snippet Extensions

Another way of getting more information onto your ad is with the structured snippet extension. A structured snippet is essentially a list, allowing you to compile details that may help to convince a user to click onto your website.

A limitation of the structured snippet feature, is that your information must fit into one of Google’s 13 pre-determined list headers, which are as followed:

  • Amenities
  • Brands
  • Courses
  • Degree programs
  • Destinations
  • Featured hotels
  • Insurance coverage
  • Models
  • Neighbourhoods
  • Service catalog
  • Shows
  • Styles
  • Types

Some of these headers are geared towards specific industries, but some such as “Brands” and “Service catalog” are much broader, with most businesses able to come up with relevant, useful information to list there.

Example of a structured snippet search extension

You can fill in as many of the headers as you wish, with Google rotating them and showing a maximum of two at a time on desktop, and one on mobile. Under each header, you can fit up to 10 items, each of which have a maximum of 25 characters.

Call Extensions

While the primary function of a Google search ad is to get people to click through your website, you can get people to instantly convert into a lead without even going that far.

If you want to increase the amount of leads you get over the phone, you can add a call extension to your advert. It’s very simple to set up – all you have to do is add your business phone number.

Call extensions display in two different ways – if you’re on desktop and see an ad, you’ll see the number displayed next to the URL, while if you’re on mobile, the number will be in a tappable button, allowing customers to get in touch with you in one easy motion – when they press this button, it’ll cost you the same as a click on the ad would have done.


Example of a Google Ads search call extension on desktop


Example of a Google Ads search call extension on mobile

When setting up a call extension, you’ll have the option to enable “call reporting” – this means Google will display a forwarding number on your ads, that will reroute calls to your actual number. This allows Google to track how many calls have been made as a result of your ad, and count them as conversions. Typically, the tracking number that displays will be in a similar format to your actual number, retaining local dialling codes for example.

Lead Form Extensions

Similar to a call extension, this type of asset allows you to convert a web user to a lead without them clicking through to your website. They can simply click the button on your ad on the search results page, with this loading up a pop-up form for them to leave their information.

Creating this extension is completed in three parts:

1. Call to action

This section allows you to customise the button that will appear alongside your ad to drive users to the lead form.

Here, you can select a call-to-action from the following list:

  • Apply now
  • Book now
  • Contact us
  • Download
  • Get info
  • Get offer
  • Get quote
  • Get started
  • Join now
  • Learn more
  • Register
  • Request a demo
  • Sign up
  • Subscribe

You can also add a 30-character description to further encourage users to leave their details.

Setting up a Google Ads lead form extension - Part 1

Example of a Google Ads lead form extension CTA

2. Lead form

This is the first part of the extension that the user will see after pressing the button. For this, you can build the form page with space for a 30 character headline, 200 character description, and your business name.

Example of a Google Ads lead form

Then, you can choose from a number of pre-set questions which will make up the contact form fields – many of these, including name, phone number and email address will be automatically pre-filled if the Google user is logged in.

You can also add a number of custom qualifying questions, with a huge list available to choose from, broken down into different industries.

Google Ads Lead Form Extension Qualifying Question Examples

Finally, you can add a link to a privacy policy on your website, and upload a background image to customise the lead form.

3. Form submission message

At this point, you can create a message to display to users for after they’ve submitted their information.

If you’ve used the form simply to collect leads, you can make this a “thank you” message, adding some text that informs the user you’ll contact them shortly.

However, depending on your earlier chosen CTA, you might want to use this section for other purposes. For example, if you’ve used the ‘download’ CTA, you could add a link at this point through to the resource you’ve advertised for download.

Google Ads Lead Form Extension submission message example

The form submission message consists of a 30-character headline, 200-character description, and an optional call-to-action. If you select a CTA here, you’ll be able to add a link through to your website, encouraging the user to click onto your site after leaving their information.

Once your form creation is complete, you can choose how to receive leads. You can opt to simply download and manage them via Google Ads, or could create a webhook integration to link the form up with your CRM system.

Location Extensions

If you have a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) set up, you can link this with your Google Ads account.

If you’re trying to increase visits to a physical location, this extension type will display your address, and distance from the user, below your ad. It also allows users on a mobile device to click through to Google Maps for directions, putting them straight en-route to your store. It also encompasses a call button, encouraging contact in the same way as the call extensions feature.

Read more: Optimising your Google Business Profile: The ultimate guide

If you’re a chain business with multiple locations, Google will show the most relevant, nearest location to the user who’s triggered your ad. Alternatively, you can pick and choose specific locations to be included on your adverts, giving you full control over your options.

Affiliate Location Extensions

While a location extension requires you to have access to a Google Business Profile to enable it, the affiliate location asset type provides you with a list of retail chains to choose from.

This type of asset is made for advertisers who sell their product through retail chains, rather than at their own location.

At the user side of things, this displays the same as a standard location extension, but offers different functionality to the advertiser.

It’s easy to set up, with two menu options to start with – general retailers and car dealers. Select the one relevant to you, and then select your country to receive an alphabetical list of available, eligible chain retailers to use.

Google Ads Affilitate Location Extension

Price Extensions

If you want to highlight prices of things such as products and services that are available on your website, this extension type is recommended.

Firstly, choose from the following type of price extension:

  • Brands
  • Events
  • Locations
  • Neighbourhoods
  • Product categories
  • Product tiers
  • Service categories
  • Service tiers
  • Services

Also select your language, currency, and price qualifier (such as “from” or “up to”).

Then, add relevant items that fit into your chosen category, along with a brief 25-character description, price, and optional unit such as per hour, per day, and per year. Each item will link to a selected page on your website – as with your main ad link, you should make sure the landing page is relevant to the advertising copy.

App Extensions

The result of a conversion is something that varies from business to business. Sometimes, you’ll be advertising with the aim of getting someone to purchase products on your e-commerce website, while other times you might be trying to get people to fill in their details to become a new lead. Your overall PPC target will be determined by your business goals and sector, and there are many different things you can use a search campaign for.

If you have a mobile app, you might wish to use a Google Search PPC campaign to encourage installs of it, and the app extension means you can create a quick and easy way to do so, without having to send users through your website first.

Example of a Google Search ad with an app extension

The extension will display underneath your main ad, and will take users directly to your app store page, enabling them to download and install it immediately. You can add links for both Android and iOS app stores, with Google automatically showing the relevant link based on a user’s operating system. You can choose whether your app shows on mobile only, or add tablets to the mix too.

Finally, you can choose a piece of call-to-action text, featuring up to 25 characters, with the default being “Download now”.

Promotion Extensions

If you’re running any special offers that you want to highlight, this extension will put it in an eye-catching position beneath your ads.

There are several pieces of information you need to provide to run this type of extension, starting with:

  1. Occasion: You can choose from a range of seasonal events, including “Black Friday”, “Winter Sale” and “Boxing Day” to highlight your deals, or leave this part blank. If you choose an event, Google will run your ad for a predetermined, relevant time period. For example, setting up a “Valentine’s Day” promotion will enable your extension to display on ads between 15th January and 28th February, although you can limit the window by setting your own start or end date. Not choosing an occasion, and not setting a date will allow your promotion to run indefinitely.
  2. Discount: After setting your language and currency, you can choose what type of promotion you are creating. This can be a precise discount, either in terms of a specific percentage or monetary value, or broader terms such as “Up to 50% off”.
  3. Details: You can now add a title for the item, with a 20 character limit allowing you to write something such as “All Books” or something more specific. It will then automatically be pieced with the information you’ve already put in. For example, if you select “Up To Percentage Discount”, type choose 25%, and then type “all lines” as your item title, your extension will read “Up to 25% off all lines”.
  4. Link: Finally, provide a link that clicking the extension will take users too. If you’ve got an offer on a specific item, the link should take you to that product page, while if it’s a broader deal, it can go to a category page.

Need help setting up or optimising your Google Ads? We’re fully qualified Google Partners, with years of experience offering assistance with Search, Shopping & Display campaigns on Google Ads.

Want to find out more, or see how we can help with a project? Contact the team now on 0161 713 1700, or leave us a message on our contact form.

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