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Google is putting the spotlight on local businesses in search results with a new location extension ad format rolled out across AdWords this week.

The new format includes big photos, store location and information, as well as typical ad features like an attention-grabbing headline and ad copy, as you can see in the example below.

Location Ad Format

It is still not exactly clear exactly when the ad format will be shown in Google results, but Google uses an example of a local bakery using ads to target nearby users reading a cooking blog. According to their test results, approximately 60 percent of clicks on the extension info were to get directions or store location information.

Interestingly, you may not have to do anything for some of your ads to start showing in the latest format. Text, responsive, and 300×250 image ads may be dynamically converted to the new location extension format in related searches from nearby users, unless you opt out in the Location Extension section of the Extensions tab in AdWords.

If you’d prefer to take matters into your own hands to optimize for the new format, simply select the option in the ad gallery in AdWords under “general purpose ads.” From there, you can upload up to three pictures, a logo, and your ad headline and copy.

GoogleAdWords

As more people are searching for businesses from a variety of devices like smartphones and tablets, it is important that businesses provide a diverse number of ways to get in touch. Now Google is testing a new AdWords extension that will allow users to contact advertisers in an entirely new way.

In the past, Google has used ad extensions to make it easy for searchers to call businesses they were interested in. With the latest ad format, you can now text or SMS advertisers directly from their ad.

Here is an example of how the ad format looks:

TextAdExtension

By clicking the text icon, you will be taken to your default messaging app, where a prefilled text message is started with the advertiser’s information. For example, if you click the icon in the results above, the pre-filled text message reads, “[Zipwip] I’m interested to learn more about Zipwhip.”

Judging by other results like the one below, the text ad extension can be combined with ad call buttons to provide a variety of ways to contact your business.

TextAdExtension2

Barry Schwarz was the first to report this new ad format. When he reached out to Google for more information, he was provided with this statement:

We’re always experimenting with new ways to connect our advertisers to customers but don’t have further details to share at this time.

googladextensions

In the past, Google AdWords used a complex and confusing algorithm for deciding when to display ad extensions. Recently, the company changed this by introducing a new policy which adjusts the impact of ad formats in the ad rank formula and allows AdWords to provide an estimate of how visible an ad would be on search engine results pages (SERPs).

As of now, an ad’s visibility will depend on ad position and ad formats, meaning ads with higher positions in the SERPs will display more ad extensions than ads in lower positions. This is a shift away from past systems which allowed lower ranked ads to show more ad formats than those above them.

The term ‘ad formats’ refers specifically to visual extensions that appear on ads in search results that display extra information about a business, including phone numbers, addresses, consumer ratings, and more.

In a way, this change ads even more incentive for businesses to make sure they get the top rankings in search results pages, as they will be rewarded by having it be more likely their ad extensions are shown along with their ad. Those who are able to score the top spots will certainly be happy with the change, though, as it means they are less likely to be outshined by a lower ad on the page.