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Use These 5 Free Competitive Advantages in SEM

Published: March 24, 2015

Author: Nick Avram

There are so many ways to leverage SEM, regardless of the industry you’re in! One of my personal favorites is utilizing the free ad extensions in Google and Bing (in this post, we’ll focus on Google). Applying ad extensions will make any AdWords beginner look like a pro amongst the competition.
Let’s take a minute to look at traditional advertising, specifically print. In today’s mix-channel marketing, print is still used with text and image ads in newspapers, magazines, etc. A lot of variables determine the price of each ad, page number, color (or black and white) scheme, page placement, and most importantly, ad size or “page real estate”. One of the many advantages with using SEM is the free opportunities given that would be additional cost in other channels/mediums.
This is where ad extensions play a very important role. Not only can we use more than one ad extension at any time, we can also leverage multiple selling points with different types of extensions for your company’s services or products. Let’s break down these different types of extensions, which I highly recommend you use:

1)   Callout Extension

As shown with the
green arrow in the image above, Callout Extensions:
-Allow us to serve 3 additional text boxes with 25 character limits underneath our search ad. People cannot click on these, but they allow us to mention additional selling points that otherwise would not fit in description line 1 or 2. Sometimes two 35-character-limit description lines just aren’t enough!
-Utilize short or “eye-catching” messaging to break through the clutter
-Entice people to click with additional products/services mentioned
-Come at no additional cost
-Push competitor ads further down on the search engine result page (SERP)
-Can add as many callouts as you want at the account, campaign, or ad group level

2) Review Extension

As shown with the blue arrow in the image above, Review Extensions:
-Allow us to have one third-party news source link underneath our search ads with an exact or paraphrased quote covering the article. This is a great way to leverage credibility as a selling point and entice people to click on our ads.
-Can provide conversion tracking if people click on the news link through to your website and make an eventual purchase
– Come at no additional cost
– Push competitor ads further down on the SERP
A couple of notes on Review Extensions:
– Try to find the most reputable news source; it does wonders for this extension because the clickable link will be the name of that company. For example, “Forbes” – or, in the screenshot provided, “merchant maverick”.
-Paraphrasing quotes give us more wiggle room than exact quotes and in my experience are approved almost every time. Make sure to follow the guidelines!

3) Social Annotation

As shown with the red arrow in the image above, Social Annotations:
-Allow us to show how many active Google+ followers we have on our company page
-Allow us to leverage our social presence as a selling point to entice people to click on our ads. People appreciate transparent companies that are actively interacting with their customers
-Come at no additional cost
-Push competitor ads further down on the SERP

4) Sitelink Description Lines

As shown with the orange arrow in the image above, Sitelinks provide awesome real estate. Do you have active sitelinks? Cool. Now, are you utilizing the additional (35-character limit) description lines 1 and 2? On top of the search ad description lines, we can have +4 sitelinks, each with their own additional description lines. Sitelinks:
-Allow us to turn a standard search ad with two descriptive lines and one clickable link (the header) into an ad with 10 descriptive lines and 5 clickable links.
-Come at no additional cost
-Push competitor ads further down on the SERP

5) Seller Rating Extension

Today’s consumer is more resourceful than ever before thanks to modern technology. With that being said, consumers invest more time researching products and companies before making a decision or taking an action. Technology has transformed us into a review based society, which every successful company embraces and leverages to their advantage.
As shown with the purple arrow in the image above, Seller Rating Extensions:
-Take an aggregate average of all reviews (from multiple sources) and display that 1-5 star average review rating under our search ads.
-Give our ads (company/products/services) more credibility/transparent and can provide a strong selling point, which entices more people to click on our ads.
-Can use free review sites like Google reviews or payable sites like TrustPilot.com
-Come at no additional cost
-Push competitor ads further down on the SERP
More ad extensions exist (I covered a couple of cool Bing ones a few months back), and Google continues to launch new Betas all the time. The key takeaway here is to make sure your company is leveraging them! Unlike with other advertising channels/mediums, there is no additional cost to gain a competitive advantage with these search features.
Good luck!

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