AdWords – Ad Extensions Overview

Ad-ExtensionsAdWords is the top pay-per-click advertising platform, generating tens of billions in revenue. With more than a million advertisers, and top keywords going for $40 or more per click, it might seem like businesses don’t need any further incentive to get on board.

But AdWords is evolving … and providing fresh opportunities in the process.

Ad extensions are specialized ad formats that provide additional information to users. They are intended to improve visibility and, thus, ROI – but only for advertisers who already achieved a high Ad Rank for their targeted keyword.

Ad Rank is calculated using your bid for the keyword and quality factors including click-through, your ad’s relevance, and user experience on your landing page. To these, Google will add calculations about the expected effect of Ad Extensions on your performance.

Ad Extensions Offer Automated and Manual Tweaks

You can’t ensure Ad Extensions will always appear on your ad, but you can manually opt in to some extensions to signal your preferences. When you turn on these manual ad extensions for a campaign, they won’t increase cost-per-click upon display – but they can facilitate user actions, like clicking a download or call button, with associated costs.

Manual extensions include:


Displays a link that directs users to an app store or begins immediate download of an app.



Allows users to start a phone call to your associated business number by clicking a button.


Helps nearby users find your business using a Google Maps pin and navigation assistance.


Highlights a positive review from a reputable third-party source.


Lists some popular destination pages within your site – similar to the top organic result.

Callout Extensions

Adds additional descriptive text that allows you to highlight some business features.

Automated extensions are extensions using data created and displayed by Google without direct input from advertisers. They appear when the search engine detects they are likely to enhance performance. Automated extensions come at no additional cost, even when the user interacts with the extended ad.

Automated extensions include:

Consumer Ratings

Spotlights aggregate consumer ratings for a site based on high-quality survey data.

Previous Visits

Informs users when they’ve previously visited a website through search results.

Seller Ratings

Displays an aggregate seller score from independent review sites and other sources.

Dynamic Sitelink Extensions

Displays top destination pages based on Google data rather than advertiser input.

Dynamic Structured Snippets

Displays a small amount of text from a landing page directly relevant to a search query.

Ad Extensions provide potential for enormous customization, but require businesses to strictly follow best practices in digital strategy. Through a combination of automated and manual input, ads can more closely reflect the unique character of each brand.