When was the last time you reviewed your Google Account settings? I mean really took a deep look under the hood? I know that it’s not something I check often.
Recently while analyzing account performance, I noticed a discrepancy in the number of leads obtained at the campaign level and keyword level. This led me to investigate further, and I discovered some interesting things about automated ad extensions.
Automated extensions use search terms to dynamically generate informational snippets and/or links to your website below your ad text. These snippets help searchers learn more about your business.
For example, in this ad you see automated extensions for consumer ratings.
Here is a list of all types of Google automated ad extensions:
When are automated ad extensions displayed? According to Google, whenever they believe that an automated extension will aid the searcher and improve ad performance. The criteria for showing automated extensions is part of the Google algorithm, and it is currently not possible to know exactly what will enable the extension to show.
Keep in mind that if you have manual extensions set up within the account, those extensions will trump the automated extension, preventing it from showing.
Conversions obtained through automated extensions are reported holistically at the campaign level and are included in the total number of conversions reported in AdWords. When drilling down further into the campaign performance, these conversions are noted in the keyword tab under the total account, but are not reported at a more granular keyword level.
This causes a discrepancy between account-level and keyword-level conversions. This also means that marketers are not able to optimize account performance based upon the auto extension performance — at the keyword level.
To view the conversion data associated with the auto extension you will need to view the performance data within the ad extension tab within your AdWords account. There you will see which extension generated the conversion for the account. The conversion data will be noted under the specific extension category but no other data will be available.
It wasn’t until I talked with Google about this conversion discrepancy that I learned that accounts were automatically opted into Google’s Automated Extensions when the feature rolled out of beta in August 2015. I believe that many marketers don’t realize this and aren’t aware of the potential impact.
You can turn off automated extensions, however, and Google provides instructions for how to do so in the AdWords Help documentation:
“To disable an automated extension:
Digital marketers should realize that AdWords accounts have been opted into this program, and automated extensions may show.
In general, my experience with automated extensions has been positive. These extensions typically do increase the total number of conversions obtained. My main concern is that I am unable to optimize the account performance at a granular level. With automated extensions, marketers do not have control regarding what Google is selecting to show to the searcher. Although you can see how the automated extensions are performing within your account, you are unable to optimize the extensions to improve performance.
I recommend that you review the available data for your automated extensions. If you see that performance is improving, leave them live and continuously monitor results. Remember, you always have the option to opt out of certain extensions if they are not improving your digital marketing results.
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