10 Types of Manual and Automatic AdWords Ad Formats and Ad Extensions

Posted by Andy Evanko

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March 03, 2015

In the previous two previous blogs, 5 Factors that Determine AdWords Quality Score and Understanding the Google AdWords Ad Auction and Ad Rank, we have mentioned the importance of how different types of ad formats or ad extensions can affect your quality score in achieving the best possible ad position.  You can look at ad formats or ad extensions as an additional enhancement to the structure of an AdWords ad.  A typical AdWords ad looks like this. 


A standard AdWords ad contains 25 characters in the headline, 35 characters in the first line of description text, 35 characters in the next line of description text and a display of the URL.

 An example of an ad that is utilizing different ad formats/ ad extensions looks like this.


As you can see, HubSpot, a seller in marketing automation software has added a few enhancements to their AdWords ad. They list a Call extension that promotes a phone number next to the destination URL, a social annotation that shows how many followers HubSpot has on Google+ and some Sitelink extensions that show other important pages on the website where a web user can find more information. They have also opted not to use any ad description text and rather use a Call-out extension to promote a trial of their software. Using different types of ad extensions and formats can give your ad the upper hand in the AdWords auction, when it comes to ad position and quality score.  If your search query triggered both of these ads, which one would you click on, the one with the added extensions or the standard ad above?

There are two different types of ad extensions. Some extensions are added manually. And, if Google finds the extension relevant to the search query, other extension types are triggered automatically.

Manual Extensions

App Extensions


Courtesy of Google

An app extension allows web users to download your mobile app right from your AdWord ad. The app extension can be added to your AdWords campaign by adding your Android Package name or IOS app ID in the App Extensions tab within your AdWords campaign. Using app extensions are beneficial when trying to target mobile web users into downloading a mobile app.

Call Extensions


Courtesy of Google

Call extensions allow web users to call directly from your mobile phone or, if they are searching on a desktop, see a listed phone number beside your display URL. Call extensions can be added by clicking the Extensions tab in your ad manager or by linking a Google+ my business account that contains a verified phone number.

You can also build “Call only” ads as part of your AdWords campaign. Call-only ads do not direct web users to a landing page on a click but, only gives web users the option to call.

Call extensions are helpful in service industries or emergency services when a user needs to quickly find a solution to their search query. Any business that requires a call-in order or call-in quote should utilize call extensions and call only ads.

Location Extensions


A location extension could be added to your AdWords ad to show your business location. A location extension can be added by clicking the Extensions tab in your ad manager or by linking a Google+ my business account to your campaign. Location extensions are beneficial when you do business from an office or business location.

Review Extensions


Courtesy of Google

Review extensions can bring in customer testimonials and reviews from different websites or your own website. This can be added to your AdWords ad through the Extensions tab and clicking review extensions from the drop down. The review source URL is needed to prove the actual review of your product or service. Review extensions can be used to justify something a past customer has said about your business, product or service and strongly directs a web user to click your ad over the other AdWords ads that are trigger by a relevant search query.

Sitelink Extensions


Courtesy of Google

Sitelink Extensions allows you to list alternative pages on your website that a web user can go to directly from your ad. This can be added to your AdWords ad through the Extensions tab and clicking sitelink extensions from the drop down. You need to add the correct URL for your sitelink extension to work. Sitelink extensions can direct the user to other pages on your website that contain more information than your ad’s landing page.

Call-Out Extensions


Courtesy of Google

Call-out Extensions allow you to add offers like “Free shipping” to your AdWords ad. Call-out extensions should be used when you need to add a specific offering to your ad but, not distract the web user from the headline of your ad. This can be added to your AdWords ad through the Extensions tab and clicking Call-out extensions from the drop down menu. For example, here at The Marketing Department Malvern we offer a free 1 hour marketing consultation.  A good call-out extension to have for one of our ads would be “Schedule a free 1 hour marketing consultation.” Call- out extensions can be used by any business that is running a promotional offer.

Automated Extensions

Automated extensions can appear within your AdWords ad when a relevant search query is entered by the user. While they are automatically listed by Google, it may require some work to let Google know your ad is eligible to show an automatic extension.

Consumer Rating Extensions


Courtesy of Google

Consumer rating extensions allow for consumer ratings to  be displayed below your ad. Google extracts their rating extension data from their Google Consumer Surveys. AdWords runs surveys when someone purchases something from Google.

If your business has not received any ratings surveys you can send Google a request or compensate with manual review extensions. Manually added review extensions will always take the place of an automated customer rating extension.

Previous Visit Extensions


Courtesy of Google

AdWords displays previous visits in your ad when your website has recently received high amounts of traffic.

Dynamic Sitelinks


Courtesy of Google

Dynamic Sitelinks are auto generated site links that AdWords finds relevant to the search query. If you have already set up your own sitelinks manually, the manual sitelinks will take the place of a dynamic sitelinks. However, leaving the sitelinks to appear dynamically will create opportunity to list the most relevant sitelinks to the search query entered by the user.

Social Extensions


Courtesy of Google

AdWords will display the amount of followers you have on Google+ following your business. To be eligible for this site extension you must have a Google+ page linked directly to your business and, in most cases, have at least 100 followers on your Google+ page.  Social extensions further justify you have a loyal following of customers and an active social media presence.

Seller Rating Extensions


Courtesy of Google

Seller Ratings are a 1 to 5 star rating displayed within an AdWords ad.  Reviews can appear in your ad when your ad or product listing is shown in Google Products. Google’s seller ratings come from Google Trusted stores, a Google certification program, Stella Service, an independent company that rates customer service, ratings from Google surveys and customer reviews on your own website. Seller ratings are more likely to appear when trying to sell a product.

When running an AdWord campaign, it is important to become eligible for all automated extensions and manually set all your manual ad extensions. The more extensions that are relevant to a web user’s search query, the more ad extensions will display in your ad.  Ad extensions account for a large factor in quality score and can give your ad the competitive advantage it takes to achieve the highest ad position.

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Topics: Paid Search Marketing

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