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The Complete Guide to Google AdWords Structured Snippets Ad Extensions

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets

Structured Snippets Guide Table of Contents

Preface

For the past several years Google AdWords has been releasing new ad extensions that were meant to expand the details that advertisers can “Add-On” to their various ads. Ad Extensions including Sitelinks, Callouts and Review Extensions, while limited in their own right, each provide more ad copy for ads that have an ad rank high enough to be listed in the top 3 spots of search results.

Google AdWords Text Ad with 4 Ad Extensions

Google AdWords Text Ad with 4 Ad Extensions

While these have been great for PPC advertisers looking to differentiate their ads from their competitors, they have probably been a little confusing to searchers. This is due to their lack of consistency across ads and search results including the various other ad extensions that are in use like Location extensions, Call extensions, App Extensions, and Automated extensions like Seller Ratings, Consumer Ratings, Previous Visits and Social extensions.

Phew! That’s a ton of Extensions to to keep track of for advertisers, let alone for users who are trying to make quick decisions on which listing to click on.

Introducing the Structured Snippets Ad Extension

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets - Examples - Featured - Chicago Hotels

Structured Snippets Example with Featured Hotels


Google recently announced the launch of the new Structured Snippet Ad Extension. Structured Snippets is a version of the Dynamic Structured Snippets that has been an Automated Ad Extension for some time, only now you have the ability to customize and control the text copy by choosing one of 12 “Header” options. Each with up to 10 custom Values that can be added.

I believe that this “Structured” approach to Ad Extensions will eventually lead to the 12 Header options being the de facto version for specific queries and verticals.

 

How To Find Your Structured Snippets

How To Find Structured Snippets Ad Extension in Google AdWords

Where To Find Structured Snippets in AdWords


Since Google’s announcement stated they’ve “starting to roll out structured snippet extensions: advertiser-provided structured information that show with your text ads.”, you may not yet have them showing up in your accounts.

To check if you do, you’ll need to go into your AdWords account and visit the “Ad Extensions” tab. There you will find the dropdown menu for the various Extensions. Listed in that menu, and toward the bottom of the list, should/might be, the option for the “Structured Snippet Extensions”. That’s the one you want.

The Makeup of a Structured Snippet

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Options

Structured Snippets Options


There are 4 main parts of a Structured Snippet, including the Header (category or snippet type), Values (your custom copy), Device Preference (if your snippet has mobile implications), and Scheduling options (start & end dates, days of the week, and times of the day).

Headers (types to choose from)

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Options

Header Options


There are currently 12 Header options to choose from, although I’ve got a feeling that these will expand over time. Available options include Amenities, Brands, Courses, Degree Programs, Destinations, Featured Hotels, Insurance Coverage, Neighborhoods, Service Catalog, Shows, Styles and Types. Some of these, like Degree Programs and Featured Hotels, tend to be fairly specific, while the majority are broad enough to have useful applications across may different vertices and subject fields.

As stated in the Header Support Text found in the [?] box, these should reflect what your business has to offer.

    Select a header that best reflects a category, feature, service, or product that your business offers.
Structured Snippets Header Note

Structured Snippets Header Support Text

 
You can only choose one Header per Snippet. So if you have several different Header types that can apply to your campaigns, you can just create unique Snippets for each Header you wish to take advantage of.

Amenities

The Amenities option offers examples for WiFi, Pool, Fitness Center and Kitchenette. This Header could be used for businesses related to real estate, hotel and lodging, and hospitality industries.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Amenities

Amenities Structured Snippet Header

Brands

The Brands option offers examples for Nest, Nexus and Chromebook. This Header could be used for product based businesses like ecommerce merchants, shopping catalogs and retail stores.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Brands

Brands Structured Snippet Header

Courses

The Courses option offers examples for Creative Writing, Data structures and Linear Algebra. This Header could be used for businesses related to schools, online training and continuing education.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets - Header - Courses

Courses Structured Snippet Header

Degree Programs

The Degree Programs option offers examples for Business Administration, Accounting and HR Management. This Header could be used for businesses related to schools, colleges and higher-ed institutions providing accredited programs.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets - Header - Degree Programs

Degree Programs Structured Snippet Header

Destinations

The Destinations option offers examples for Paris, Berlin and London. This Header could be used for businesses related to travel agencies, hotel reservation sites, airlines and tour companies.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Destinations

Destinations Structured Snippet Header

Featured Hotels

The Featured Hotels option offers examples for Luxury Inn, Alpine Lodge and Lakeside Hotel. Similarly to the Destinations Header, this one could be used for businesses related to travel agencies and booking sites.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Featured Hotels

Featured Hotels Structured Snippet Header

Insurance Coverage

The Insurance Coverage option offers examples for Third-Party Liability, Collision, Umbrella and Car Rentals. This Header could be used for businesses related to personal and commercial insurance agents/agencies/rate comparison sites, as well as rental car companies.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Insurance Coverage

Insurance Coverage Structured Snippet Header

Neighborhoods

The Neighborhoods option offers examples for Financial District, SOMA and North Beach. This Header could be used for single and multi-location based companies and service area businesses who operate in specific towns/cities/neighborhoods of interest including delivery companies, real estate agents and property listings services, etc..

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods Structured Snippet Header

Service Catalog

The Service Catalog option offers examples for Oil Change, Smog Check and Tire Alignment. This Header could be used for service related businesses like marketing agencies, auto repair/maintenance, dentists and medical professionals, lawyers, real estate services, etc..

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Service Catalog

Service Catalog Structured Snippet Header

Shows

The Shows option offers examples for The Voyage, Knights and American Dancer. This Header could be used for businesses related to Broadway Theaters, IMAX, Movie Cinemas, or even online entertainment sites like Netflix or streaming services.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Shows

Shows Structured Snippet Header

Styles

The Styles option offers examples for Chukka, Cowboy, Combat and Chelsea. This Header could be used for retail and product based businesses or fashion industry and beauty companies like hair salons.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Styles

Styles Structured Snippet Header

Types

The Types option offers examples for T-Shirts, Mugs, Bags and Pens. While the examples suggest retail and product based usage, this Header could easily be considered a catch-all for businesses that offer different types of products and services, but do not immediately fit into one of the headers above.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Header Types

Types Structured Snippet Header

Values (custom copy)

The Structured Snippets Values is where you place your custom copy related to each header. This is the text that searchers will see as part of your PPC ad.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Values up to 10 Values

Values for Custom Copy (up to 10 values)

As stated in the Values Support Text found in the [?] box, these should be related to your header, no longer than 25 characters each, and you need a minimum of 3.

    These fields allow you to call out the features, services, and/or products related to your header. You’ll need to enter at least 3 descriptions. Each field is limited to 25 characters.

Here is the full [?] support box.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Values note

Values Support Text

Device Preference (mobile)

Since Mobile searches are now over 50% of all searches done on Google, it only makes sense that AdWords considers mobile’s impact on all new ads and ad extensions. Structured Snippets provides the option for you to designate each snippet for mobile preferred in the same way as you can for Text Ads and other ad extensions like Sitelinks, Call and Callouts.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Device Preferences

Device Preferences

As stated in the Device Preference Support Text found in the [?] box, this option should be used for campaigns and ad groups specifically targeting mobile devices.

    Choose “Mobile” to indicate your ad or extension is optimized for mobile devices.

    How it works: Ads with a checked box for Mobile are given preference on mobile devices, while standard text ads and extensions are given preference on desktops, laptop computers, and tablets. If your ad group only contains mobile-optimized text ads, your ads still might appear on desktops, laptop computers, and tablets.

Here is the full [?] support box.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Device Preference note

Device Preference Support Text

Start/End Dates, Scheduling

Scheduling Structured Snippets with Start & End Dates, by Time of Day, and Day of Week is a common application for Ad Extensions. This provides flexibility for businesses that operate differently at different times and allow you to change up your Snippets as best suits your business needs. An example of this might be a restaurant who has special offers such as a weekday-only happy hour, weekend bunch, breakfast vs. dinner menu options, have an outdoor patio in summer, etc.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Start-End Dates and Scheduling

Start & End Dates and Scheduling Options

Start/End Dates

You can choose a start date and an end date for each of your structured snippets. This will allow you to set-up snippets for future use by setting a start day, and enable them to end on time for then they will no longer be viable. A common use for this would be seasonal or sales/promotions that are date specific. The calendar date selector is handy and mimics the date range menu used elsewhere in AdWords.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Start and End Dates calendar options

Start & End Dates Calendar Options


As stated in the Start & End Dates Support Text found in the [?] box, this option should be used to control when you want your extension to run.

    Start and end dates control when your extension can run alongside your ad.

    What it does: By default, your extension will be eligible to run after it’s been approved. However, this field allows you to choose specific dates for the extension to run.

Here is the full [?] support box.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Start and End Dates note

Start & End Dates Support Text

Scheduling

Scheduling your snippets to run at certain times or days of the week is a great option for advertisers to have key promotions such as weekday/weekend offers, special show times, Happy Hour(s), or who cater to breakfast/lunch/dinner crowds, etc.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Scheduling options

Scheduling Options

As stated in the Scheduling Support Text found in the [?] box, this option should be used to control the times of day and days of week that you want it to run.

    Scheduling controls the days of week and times of day that your extension can run alongside your ad.

    What it does: By default, your extension will be eligible to run after it’s been approved. However, this field allows you to choose specific days of the week or times of day for it to run.

Here is the full [?] support box.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Scheduling note

Scheduling Support Text

100+ Scheduling Options: During testing of Scheduling options, I was able to add over 100 scheduling times through the “+ Add” link below the date/time rows. That creates a considerable number of options for different offers and special messages to reach your audience at the specific moments that matter the most.

Display Clock: The display clock option to switch between a 12 hour and a 24 hour clock is a nice feature as people in different parts of the world are more used to a 24 hours clock than us here in the US who commonly use a 12 hour clock with AM & PM designations.

Time Zone: The time zone that will affect when your snippets will run is set in you AdWords admin section. This cannot be changed here so beware of this when you set up scheduling.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Scheduling time zone

Scheduling Time Zone

Account, Campaign & Ad Group Structured Snippets

As with most Ad Extensions these days, you can create Snippets at the account level to be shared among your different campaigns, or at the campaign level for campaign specific snippets, or unique Snippets that pertain to only very specific ad groups. Ad Group extensions take precedence over any Campaign level ones, and campaign level snippets show up for any ad groups that do not have their own designated structured snippets.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Account Campaign Ad Group Extensions

Account, Campaign & Ad Group Structured Snippets

Multiple Structured Snippets & Order Priority

You are allowed to run more than one Structured Snippet in a Campaign or Ad Group. However the priority for which snippet gets served goes to the first snippet listed. This is similar to how priority for Sitelinks and Callouts is handled.

As you can see from the following screenshot of a live account, the top listed “Service Catalog” extension has most of the impression and the “Neighborhoods” has fewer. When I originally set these up I had the Neighborhoods one listed first and it was receiving 100% of the impressions. Then, 2 days after they went live, I switched their order around and the Service Catalog has received all the impressions since.

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Multiples and Order Priority

Multiples and Order Priority

Examples

Here are the examples that I’ve found showing up live in search results so you can see how they are displaying and being used.

Brands

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Example Brands

Structured Snippets Example for Brands

Featured Hotels

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Examples Featured Hotels

Structured Snippets Example for Featured Hotels

Neighborhoods

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Examples Neighborhoods

Structured Snippets Example for Neighborhoods

Service Catalog

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Examples Service Catalog

Structured Snippets Example for Service Catalog

Styles

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Examples Styles

Structured Snippets Example for Styles

Models

Google AdWords Ad Extension Structured Snippets Examples Models

Structured Snippets Example for Models

Review Process Time-frame & Approval

There is a review/approval process that your Structured Snippets will have to go through. My 1st set took about a day to become approved and start generating impressions. As with all AdWords changes that need to go though review, the time it takes can largely depend on the quantity of reviews in the queue. However a 1 day turn-around time on these is quite encouraging.

Final Thoughts

Structured Snippets have the ability to provide Google enough common aspects between different advertisers that they could eventually be the go-to ad extension for certain vertices and industries. And while they are relatively new, now would be the time to get started using them before many of your competitors do. If nothing else, by adopting them early you will generate more data in which to base smarter decisions on later.

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Reader Comments

  • Jeannie | December 23, 2015

    Great depth on the topic. You offered great ideas on how to use the various header types.

    I would like to learn how you are gathering and organizing data from your AdWords rich snippets extension to make clearer marketing decisions.

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