Callout Extensions: Advert Enhancement or CTR Destroyer?

google cake

For every $1 Google spend, they make $2. With over 30 billion impressions and 50 millions clicks, it’s no surprise they make over $100 million a day. Google’s motives are a topic of continuous debate, with some believing they’re a fat-cat corporation just after more cake. Others however believe their contribution to the technological age warrants their financial success. I’ve always been a strong believer in the second, and it’s not very often I question this, but their latest product release does have me wondering.

Callout Extensions let you include short snippets of text below your advert promoting, well, any aspect of your business you wish. They take the form of side-by-side bullet points and can be a maximum of 25 characters each. Typically you’ll see businesses pushing messages like ‘Free Shipping’, ‘Sale Now On’ or ‘Same Day Dispatch’.

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So, how can such a small change increase their revenues? Quite simply, adverts in the top 3 positions are getting bigger and bigger (with Ad Extensions), meaning natural listings (which aren’t pay-per-click) appear lower down. More people click on ads and revenues increase.

Now, as a Marketer I have no problem with this. Whether Google’s being greedy or simply on a path of evolution doesn’t worry me. They’re the gate keepers and for my campaigns to be successful, I play by their rules. In the case of this new feature, if an advert provides relevant, useful information then all the better. So the real question is this:

Are Callout Extensions an enhancement to our ads, or do they destroy CTRs?

On the one hand, being able to promote evergreen benefits of your business is a good thing. On the other, being selective with your benefits and prioritising them into 95 characters is the art of search engine copywriting. If a customer looks at your shop front, do you really want to bombard them with every little detail under the sun? Clean, simple and enticing will get them through the door, not a desperate plea to come in. That is why I believe Callout Extensions won’t last.

We’re currently testing their effectiveness and will report back to our clients soon. Hopefully I won’t be eating my words; especially when it means Google gets another slice of cake.