Strike Gold with PPC Ad Extensions: Defining & Mining Your Strategy

Posted in PPC, Search, SEM, Targeting Hot House

When properly executed, ad extensions can add value both aesthetically and in terms of performance. They increase coveted SERP real estate, but more importantly, present PPC practitioners with greater opportunity to educate and connect consumers to a brand or service. Despite their worth, extensions are often overlooked or misaligned to KPIs. Read on for our favorite strategies to jump-start your next campaign build.

Sitelink query mapping for intent

Current sitelink strategy more careless than calculated? If you take nothing else from post, please add this strategy to your PPC repertoire. Ad extensions present users with the opportunity to self-select your site’s content, and though sitelinks tend to be the bread and butter of the ad extension world, most aren’t digging deep enough into the keyword and ad creative optimization that can be uncovered. Ad extensions also give marketers more insight to the intent of each query submitted, aiding in future keyword and landing page mapping/creation, and ultimately improving user experience.

Gain competitive advantage

First and foremost, ad extensions are an effective means of standing out against the competition and getting first dibs on audience attention. When a user hits the search box and comes across an ad touting all the right extensions next to a run-of-the-mill standard or extended text ad, it’s obvious that eyes will be drawn to the former. Keep this in your arsenal for the next competitive extension approach:

  • If pricing is the same or below SERP competition, enable price extensions for products related to the search. In branding instances, listing hallmark products is a great way to drive users back to popular product or category pages to convert. In luxury spaces (or even if your product price points are above the competition), price extensions offer a level of transparency that tend to qualify users pre-click, bringing potential cost savings and conversion lifts.  
  • Sitelinks in tandem with price extensions offer the ability to go head-to-head with major competitors. Spin up landing pages highlighting the benefits your product or service provides against the competitive queries. Bonus points as this will also bring SEO improvements!

 

  • Is your service one of a kind? Does your sales team offer 24/7 support? Does your big-screen TV boast 6-D technology and free shipping? Highlight differentiators with callouts to add query-specific value.
  • E-commerce plus brick and mortar? Location extensions are a game changer when users are in transit or near your location. Use them to guide shoppers easily to your storefront.

  • Seal the deal with product reviews and/or review extensions by instilling trust in prospects with the testimonials of happy purchasers.  

Improving the buyer journey experience

Now that a user’s attention has been caught, how do you increase the likelihood of a purchase? The buyer journey generally contains an iteration of the following steps: awareness, consideration and purchase. By mirroring your next ad extension strategy to where users are in their buying process, you can also anticipate their wants/needs, next steps and provide an ad experience that naturally guides them down the path to purchase.

  • During the awareness and comparison stages, sitelinks should be focused on providing additional information for the user and exemplifying benefits over other competitors. In B2B spaces, think free product demos, case studies, testimonials and product benefits. For e-commerce, display similar category pages or dig deep into the nature of the user’s search to provide more clarity. Again, during the research phase, users often are weighing the pros and cons against competitors. Dominate competitor research queries by adding ‘comparison’ sitelinks.

 

  • In RLSA or high-intent query campaigns where users are in buy mode, it’s important to provide the easiest means of converting in the fastest time possible. Don’t think too hard on this one; just get them to your sign-up or conversion page and provide a strong user experience.  
  • Call extensions and message extensions make finding out more about your brand and product on mobile a breeze. Instead of swiping through site pages, interaction can occur via phone or text directly from the click of an ad. Whether it’s clarifying questions to a mid-funnel user or scheduling a software demo with a sales rep, these high-intent actions amp up the conversion factor, and often users appreciate the more ‘human’ approach on their mobile.

  • In the same approach to gaining a competitive advantage, price extensions (especially in single keyword ad groups) allow for further qualification of users without paying for the click. 

Cross-selling & upselling

Once a sale has closed, hit the drawing board to understand where your brand can continue providing value. We have yet to find a client who has no opportunity for cross-selling or upselling, and while ad extensions won’t inherently provide the same impact as a retargeting strategy, it can still bring value to your marketing efforts. Think compatible products, seasonal pushes, sales or promotions, new products and upgrades.

  • Double down post-purchase by using your sitelinks in RLSA campaigns to show users how great their new windows would look covered in custom window drapery (and on sale, nonetheless!). If a trial was downloaded, push a demo or sales conversation. Subscription purchase? Dole out an upgrade deal.

 

  • App extensions are also an effective way to provide value and keep a connection post-purchase. If a user opened an account, demonstrate the benefits and savings gained from downloading your app.  

Honorable mention: PR updates

Proud of that award you just won? Recent acquisition? New product launch? Don’t forget to add them as sitelinks, call outs and app extensions to your brand campaign for added exposure!

In conclusion, the most important aspect of ad extensions is that an intentional strategy is in place. As best practice, reassess your ad extension strategies every time new ad creative is introduced to the account to ensure messaging between ad and extension copy aligns.

How you are using extensions to improve user experience? Comment below!