On Wednesday the 3rd September Google announced that they are rolling out a new AdWords ad extension called callout extensions with full availability to all AdWords accounts within the next few weeks.

What do callout extensions look like?

The callout extension will sit in between the two ad description lines and all other ad extensions. The extension is only eligible to show when the ad is above or below the organic search results, so not when the ad is on the right hand side of the organic search results:

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Unlike any other ad extension, the text font, size and colour are exactly the same as the description lines. As the 2 description lines are amalgamated into one line when the ad is above or below the organic search results, the callout extensions actually looks like ad description line rather than an ad extension. In my opinion this has been Google’s cleverest way of increasing ad retail space without making the ad look cluttered.

What are they for?

According to Google’s AdWords blog, callout extensions will allow you “Strengthen your message” and “draw attention to important product details and benefits…Or highlight what makes your business different from your competitors”, and as the only stipulation of messaging is that it cannot be a repeat of anything contained in site link or ad copy, the callout extension is essentially another line of ad copy.

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Should we be using them?

Yes. Ever since Google started to include ad extensions as part of its ad rank calculation, ad extensions have become a requirement for any well managed account rather than a nice-to-have, as not using them can lead to a higher CPC.

What are the implications

From an advertiser’s perspective it’s a win-win situation: there are more characters to include unique selling points and that messaging and extra ad retail space should only help increase click-through rates. Similarly it’s easier to see Google’s motivation for such a change, the initial BETA results showed, in some instances, that callout extensions increase click-through rates by 10-20%.

The more concerning implication is the affect that call out ad extensions, and while we are on the subject, all paid search has on organic clicks; an increased ad retail space will naturally push the organic results further down the page as the screenshot below illustrates.

An intriguing question follows. How far will Google take this? Will we eventually only see paid ads for certain search queries? If Google’s approach to other aspects of their business is anything to go by, it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.

Spot the organic listing.

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