Google AdWords is an ever-evolving, sometimes complicated application, and it’s fairly easy to feel overwhelmed by all the different options available for your ads. What can be even more overwhelming are the various changes Google has made to their advertising platform in the last couple years. Here are a few of the key changes:

Ad Extensions

We consistently see client accounts that have the basic extensions: Sitelinks, call extensions, and location (when they have a physical store). While those extensions used to be the AdWords standard, things have changed. Now, enhanced sitelinks, call extensions with call forwarding, and callout extensions are not only the new standard, but Google outright recommends them.

Enhanced sitelinks are arguably the most important of the group – they are sitelinks that display two description lines under your ads (35 character limit per line) – so, essentially, they’re another ad! Here’s an example Google gives:

“Classic” Sitelink

Enhanced Sitelinks

As you can see, the ad using enhanced sitelinks takes up a lot more room on the SERP. This is great for a couple reasons: You get more space for ads/messaging, and you push your competition lower on the page.

Call Extensions - Google Forwarding Numbers

If you are already using call extensions (and if you aren’t, you probably should be), you should take a look at your phone number settings. Are you using Google forwarding numbers?

Google forwarding numbers are a great way to track phone call conversions and attribute those conversions to specific ads/ad groups.

When someone sees your ad they are shown with a unique number that is created by Google that only shows for that specific ad. When the number is called the caller gets redirected to your business’ phone. So even though they aren’t necessarily calling your exact number, they are still calling you.

Note: If you are using a third party call-tracking software, this may not be a useful feature, but in any case, even if you don’t use call forwarding numbers, you should at least have your business number on your ads.

Callout Extensions

Callout extensions are 25 character long snippets of text that appear in your ads. Typically, callouts are used to highlight products, services, or benefits you offer. Google uses the following example (callouts are shown in red):

Callouts are a must-have for ads because they give you even more space to communicate why users should click on your ad and how you can help them. Virtually any time you can create more messaging in an ad without overly complicating it, it’s worth trying.

The reason all of these ad extensions should be considered and tested is because they are useful tools for increasing CTRs (click-through rates) on ads, which in turn, influences quality score and cost per click. It’s also a must-have in your campaigns because Google looks at campaigns with more ad extensions in use more favorably when ranking ads. The best part is that you don’t have to pay anything extra to start using them.

Final URLs

Final URLs recently replaced destination URLs, and they function the same way as their previous namesake. However, Final URLs feature a tracking template to simplify any tracking parameters that you may or may not be using on your URLs.

AdWords’ New Layout

The most recent, and biggest news is that AdWords is no longer featuring ads on the right hand side of SERPs for desktop searches anymore. Instead, up to 4 ads will show (for highly commercial searches – more about that can be found in the link below) at the top of the page with another 3 at the bottom. This means that the ad landscape is changing, and bidding strategies, expected CTRs, and ad position targets may all be changing as well, so you want to make sure you, or whoever manages your accounts, are keeping an eye on traffic/data shifts.

More information can be found here:

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