A basic SEM ad is a simple, effective form of highly targeted Web marketing. SEM is valuable—but it’s easy to make search ads even more valuable. Ad extensions can increase the value of your SEM ads in various ways, from maximizing your impressions to increasing your conversions. I’m going to discuss a few forms of ad extensions, and elaborate on their optimal uses. As a search marketer, you always want to have the highest ad position on the search engine results page (SERP); so, how can ad extensions help you accomplish this goal?
If it is viable, and you have the opportunity, you should always use sitelinks. Sitelinks maximize your real estate on the search engine results page and they offer customers a chance to find an even more relevant subsection relative to their search queries. Sitelinks are useful if you are a company with various related actionable elements and WebPages. In this case, you are able to segment users by their interests or characteristics depending on which sitelink they choose.
Adobe, for its creative cloud software, offers numerous different plans for different types of users. Sitelinks are thus helpful to segment one type of user (e.g. a photography student) from another (e.g. a graphics design business).
If you are a small company and only offer a singular product with little to no variation, then sitelinks may not be viable. If you have no diversity in your offers, then using sitelinks might prove confusing and redundant. Each of your sitelinks should lead users down a different path to a different part of your website based on interests or characteristics.
Sitelinks are also great for sales and promotions. You don’t have to switch out your original ad to make a promotional offer. Sitelinks allow you to make a promotional offer within your SEM ad, and you can easily switch out these offers when the time comes. If you really want your promotion to show up, you should consider cutting down your promos, because search engines only display four sitelinks at a time.
The segmentation you gain from sitelinks broadens the accessibility of your SEM ads and should increase your ads’ clickthrough rate.
Clickable Phone Numbers
Clickable phone numbers are ad extensions, available only on mobile devices, that allow users to simply click-to-call. This extension is a must for local services, or for companies that rely on sales via phone.
SEM ads only give you space for twenty or so words. A picture, on the other hand, is worth a thousand words. With shopping ads you can use pictures, prices, and seller ratings to make offers to consumers. This makes it easy for customers to compare your product against other products and click to buy.
Shopping ads are best for companies that do a lot of ecommerce with physical products. One limitation of shopping ads is that, in Google, they are not available for products sold on a subscription service, unless you pay a flat yearly fee to Google. But, this subscription limitation is not the case on Yahoo! or Bing.
One of the simplest ad extensions, call outs, is still one of the most effective. Call outs give marketers extra space to make a more complete offer to customers.
Marketers can use call outs for various purposes—from calling out a product’s best features, to clarifying myths surrounding that product or service. The point of call outs—like any other ad extensions—is ultimately to drive more interest in your product or service.
Using Your Arsenal of Ad Extensions
If you are not using ad extensions in your SEM ads, then you are wasting an arsenal of easily accessible marketing weapons. Ad extensions can help you drive interest in your offers and ultimately increase clickthrough rates and conversions. There’s no reason not to extend the value of your SEM.