At the end of August, AdWords released a new manual ad extension called structured snippet extensions, which it says it introduced because of the success of an automated extension — dynamic structured snippets — released earlier this year.
This new extension allows advertisers to include additional details about the business by utilizing 12 “headers,” including:
For example, a hotel could list its amenities, from free wi-fi to room service. Or a store could list the brands it carries. Here is an ad from Overstock that uses the structured snippet extension to showcase various styles of oval coffee tables.
It’s important to note that unlike other extensions, such as sitelinks and locations, structured snippets are not clickable.
However, like all other ad extensions, structured snippets help advertisers secure additional search real estate while helping to improve the headline click-through rate. For a complete breakdown of structured snippet extensions, make sure to read WebRanking’s in-depth post.
You may be thinking that structured snippets are similar to callout extensions, and you would be correct. In fact, in the AdWords blog post announcing the new extensions, there is a graphic that explains when to use each extension and details the individual features of each.
I’ve mainly used callout extensions at the account level. Since they tend to be higher-level facts about your business, account level is fine. With structured snippets, advertisers can choose from 12 headers, thus allowing for more granular segmentation at the campaign and ad group levels.
There is one more wrinkle to this extension discussion — sitelinks. They were the callout extension before this extension existed. Advertisers still used sitelinks to showcase additional relevant pages, but they also used them to highlight the business.
For example, “free shipping” may now be a callout, but at one point it could have been a sitelink leading to the shipping page. Or “24/7 support” may have led to the customer service page.
I mention sitelinks because of the dynamic they have in relation to callouts and structured snippets. All of these extensions are similar, but slightly different. Used correctly, they can give advertisers the ability to create powerful ad copy.
Let’s look at a visual representation of how these three extensions can be structured, based upon my preferred layout. Though not represented in the graphic below, callouts and structured snippets can be set at the account, campaign and ad group levels. Sitelinks can only be set the at the campaign and ad group levels.
Now, let’s look at three scenarios of this structure in use.
Scenario 1: E-commerce Account
This merchant sells sunglasses for both men and women. The items we can call out include:
If this client had many positive reviews and received third-party recognition, we could use these features as callouts. However, the seller ratings and review extensions would cover these value-adds. For the purpose of this scenario, we’ll assume that the positive reviews are being utilized by these two extensions.
To begin, we’re going to create a sunglasses frame style campaign. Our ad groups include:
At the account level, we’re going to use the five features listed above as callouts. At the campaign level, our sitelinks can speak to gender and accessories (for now, we won’t use ad group level sitelinks):
Our structured snippets will also be set at the campaign level, where we’ll be using the “Brands” header:
Our ad copy speaks directly to “full frame sunglasses,” while we have relevant callouts, sitelinks and structured snippets. Again, we can go more granular, but we would have to weigh the time needed vs. the potential results. As a side note, like sitelinks and callouts, not all structured snippets will be displayed at once.
Scenario 2: Software as a Service (SaaS) Provider
This company offers a network management solution for mid- to large-size businesses. Our callouts are:
For this individual campaign, we’ll target “network management/monitoring” keywords. Our ad groups include:
Since the landing page will most likely be honed for lead generation, and the navigation will be slimmed down (if not removed altogether), our sitelinks can speak to the business. They may include:
Due to the nature of this product, many of the structured snippets aren’t applicable, so we have to get creative. We can utilize the “Service catalog” snippet to list various problems that the software addresses:
Here is an ad for the query of “network management solutions.”
Scenario 3: Local Service Provider
Let’s take a look at one more example of a carpenter who services a 50-mile radius around Boston. We can use callouts to say:
The campaign’s ad groups will speak to the various service offerings, including:
As with the SaaS provider, our sitelinks can speak to the business. We can also use the sitelinks to generate brand awareness and followers, especially if the site is bare bones. Assuming the service provider is on social media, we can link to the Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts (to name a few). Our sitelinks may be a hybrid of:
Since our ad groups already speak directly to service offerings, we can utilize the “Neighborhoods” snippet to tell users where we do business. Theoretically, the advertiser is only showing ads within the 50-mile radius, however, the end user doesn’t know this. This snippet reinforces the area of service, which in this case includes:
When a user searches for “Boston carpenter,” here is the ad that shows.
The scenarios presented in this post are only a few ideas of how to use sitelinks, callouts and structured snippets together.
The important takeaway is to understand the purposes of each extension and craft your creatives accordingly. Each extension has its own value, and when used together, they can make your ads more relevant.