google ads extensions

Google Ads Extensions

Google Ads Extensions are now Campaign Assets.

What are they?

Google Ads don’t start and stop at Headlines and Descriptions. True, they are the primary Campaign Assets that you will be using, but there are many more Asset types you can use to optimise, run A/B tests, and generally tweak your ads to fit every possible scenario.

A key, and often underutilised, element of a good Google Ad, are what we used to call extensions. But what are they and how do you use them?

Read on to find out …

What are Google Ads Campaign Assets?

Campaign Assets are what Google now calls the various bits and pieces of content that can make up an ad. This includes Headlines and Descriptions, as well as what used to be called Ad Extensions.

It is a relatively recent change, but for the sake of differentiating Headlines and Descriptions (which you will always use in an ad) from these other assets (which you might not), we will use the ‘old’ terminology of Ad Extensions.

Should I use Google Ad Extensions?

There are a few reasons to use extensions, but they can be summarised as:

  1. They add flexibility to your ad destinations – a regular search ad may have one link for searchers to click in the Headline. With extensions, you can add several, all directing to slightly different areas of your website, all relevant to the initial search. Therefore, if your initial headline link isn’t exactly what the searcher wants, one of the other links should be. This is obviously great for potentially increasing the clickthrough rate (CTR).
  2. They can make your ads stand out – using something like an image extension can make your ad stand out from the crowd – both over ads and organic listings. Getting attention is key for a Google Ad, so any tools that help with that are to be prized.
  3. They take up more of the advertising space – with a good set of extensions, your ad can take up a lot of screen real estate. This means two things: searchers are more likely to pay attention to you, and there is less room on the screen for your competitors. Win, win.

There are a couple of things to be aware of before jumping into the types of Extensions available:

  • The Google Ads algorithms generally won’t allow you to get more clicks using a variety of Extensions at a lower ad position, than if the ad was in a higher position.
  • You will not see Google use a combination of assets that get a higher CTR in a low-positioned ad than in a high-position ad (i.e. an ad at the bottom of the page will not be formatted in any way to get a better CTR than an ad at the top of the page).

So, in short – get your Headline and Description right, first. Make sure your keywords and landing page selection are spot on. And make sure you are generally appearing at the top of the search rankings (if not in the top position). Then, spend time optimising your Extensions.

What types of Google Ads Extensions exist?

There are many types of extensions available, and they all do something a little different. It may be that not all of them will be suitable for your current campaign. 

One thing to note before we proceed – just because you add extensions to your Google Ads, it doesn’t mean Google will show them. Google will use algorithms and machine learning to decide when to show an extension, and when not to. 

Most common extensions

Sitelink extensions

Firstly, they are a great way of taking up a lot of screen real estate. Up to four sitelink extensions can appear at once, which can take up the space of two or three regular search ads.

But, more importantly, they are a great way to offer alternative landing pages to a searcher. This means there is more chance they will find something in your ad they are interested in, bolstering CTR.

Screenshot from author, April 2024

Image extensions

Image extensions are simply a way of adding a bit of colour to your search ad. They help your ad to stand out, and are often underutilised.

A great example of when they can work well is for travel industry ads, as they can offer that little bit of inspiration from a well-chosen image, increasing CTR and putting the searcher in the right mood before even making it to the landing page.

image extensions example
Screenshot from author, April 2024

Call extensions

Call extensions allow searchers to call you directly from the ad itself. This is particularly useful on mobile, where searchers can click and immediately call you, reducing friction in the user journey.

Google Ads tracks these ‘click-to-call’ conversions, giving you an idea of how many people have contacted you thanks to ads.

call extension example
Screenshot from author, April 2024

Callout extensions

Callout extensions are very flexible, and can be used to highlight key marketing messages. It is a brilliant way to pull out those key promotions, USPs, etc., from the ad copy, and highlight them.

You may even want to highlight things like opening hours, offers, special events, and many more.

callout example
Screenshot from author, April 2024

Structured snippet extensions

Structured snippets are another way to highlight who you are, what you do, and your USPs within a search ad, outside of the regular ad copy. 

Google’s standard example is taken from a travel business, for instance, you may have ‘Destinations’, followed by ‘Country 1,’ ‘Country 2’, ‘Country 3’, etc.

structured snippets
Screenshot from author, April 2024

Location extensions

By connecting your Google Business Profile to your Google Ads account, you can highlight your location in your search ad.

This is obviously brilliant for local businesses or larger organisations with multiple branches. It showcases to the searcher that you are present in their area, highlighting your relevance to their search, and generally increasing the likelihood of engagement.

location extension example
Screenshot from author, April 2024
Headshot of Oscar at Anuncia

Do you need help with your Ad Extensions and Google Ads account?

For e-Commerce accounts

Price extensions

Price extensions help to highlight the cost of your service / product up front. This is a great way to set expectations and potentially filter searchers who are unlikely to convert at your desired price point, saving budget for those who will.

price extension example
Screenshot from author, April 2024

Promotion extensions

A lot of searchers are looking for good offers in the current economic climate. These extensions allow you to highlight your promotions upfront in your ad. This could be a key point of difference between you and a competitor, and may well be the difference between a searcher clicking or scrolling past.

promo extension example
Screenshot from author, April 2024

Seller rating extensions

Whether seller ratings appear in your ads is somewhat out of your hands from a Google Ads perspective. If you have enough reviews within the previous 12 months across review platforms (such as Google, Trust Pilot, etc.), and the review rating is high enough, Google may pull that data and add it to your ad. 

This is great social proof to add to your ads, likely increasing CTR and conversion rate (CVR).

review extension
Screenshot from author, April 2024

Product extensions

Designed primarily for e-commerce businesses, product extensions may take a little extra work, as they require a Google Merchant Centre account to be connected to your Google Ads account.

They can highlight a selection of relevant products within your search results. This is a great way to potentially reduce the number of steps from search to purchase for your customer, as they can search for their desired product right from the ad.

Affiliate location extensions

Affiliate location extensions are a little more niche than the others, with the use case being relatively limited. If you produce a product, and it is sold through third-party sellers, though, affiliate location extensions may be suitable for you.

Essentially, you can highlight in your ad if there are any stores local to the searcher that sell your product, where you may not sell it directly yourself.

For lead generation

Lead form extensions

Lead form extensions help you service searchers without ever needing to land on your website; helping them where they search.

For instance, if you offer a software platform, you could add a free trial form to the ad. This is another extension where the aim is to reduce the number of steps for a user to engage with your organisation in some way.

One thing to be aware of, though, is that any contact /personal information collected within an ad is saved within Google Ads until you export it; so don’t forget that final step!

For Apps

App extensions

If you have an app, you can promote it alongside your search ad, and searchers can be taken directly to a download link.

Great for building the number of app users, and also monitoring what keywords might trigger a user to download the app.

app extension
Screenshot from author, April 2024

Account level ad extensions, campaign level ad extensions, or ad group level ad extensions?

Ad extensions can be set up from the ad group level all the way up to the account level. Google will always use the ‘lowest’ level extension, where the order from top to bottom would be account level > campaign level > ad group. This makes perfect sense, as you may have some general extensions that are brand-based and can be used with any ad at the account level, but then you may want very specific extensions at the ad group level, which are relevant to those particular ads.

Whether you should use one or all of those options will depend on your goals, the users you are targeting, and the campaigns you are running. 

You can also exclude account-level extensions from specific campaigns or ad groups, even if you are not planning to replace them with campaign or ad-group-specific extensions.

Making the most of the extensions available will really help improve your account. We recommend you start easy at first, select the top three extensions that will be the most helpful for you, and grow from there. If you’re using an Ad Grants account, you’ll need 4 account sitelinks, 1 group of callout extensions and 1 structured snippet to keep your account compliant. 

Grow your account with Google Ads Extensions. Request a free audit to learn how to get the most out of your account.


ga4 migration checklist

GA4 Migration Checklist

Are you ready for the GA4 takeover?

If you're reading this checklist, you probably already have a GA4 account up and running or are just gathering the strength to upgrade. No matter your account's status, we've created a checklist to help you review your GA4 to ensure everything is set and ready for July 1st, when standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data.

1. Accounts Settings

When upgrading from Universal Analytics, it's easy to miss a few settings during the set-up, as most users assume the GA4 move is as quick as clicking the Get Started button and adding the tag to the website.

ga4 setup assistant

Make sure your GA4 is tracking.
This might seem obvious, but it will only take a minute to ensure your GA4 tag is correctly implemented and that you're using the correct property.

Review that all your account settings were copied during the migration from UA to GA4.
There are lots of settings that are ignored during the move to GA4. You'll find most of them inside the Data Stream settings under Show All in the Configure Google Tag settings:

  • List unwanted referrals - add a list of domains whose traffic shouldn't be considered referrals.
  • Set up cross-domain tracking - add a list of domains that use the same GA4 tag.
  • Exclude internal traffic - define IP addresses whose traffic should be marked as internal.
  • Avoid the Collect Universal Analytics Events setting - Start fresh in GA4 and avoid polluting your new account with old and irrelevant UA events.

Accept the Google Signals Data Collection to enable Demographics data collection.
This setting is also used for ad personalisation. Ensure your website follows privacy laws and asks for consent to track before you enable this setting.

Update your Data Retention.
As a default, Google will set your data retention to 2 months, so you'll have to manually change it to 14 months.

Review the Attribution Settings work for your specific goals.
Inside settings, go to Attribution Settings, where you can update your attribution model and acquisition window. GA4 will use data-driven as the attribution model as a default, while Universal Analytics used last non-direct attribution as a default.

Make sure all of your accounts are linked to GA4.
This includes Google Ads, Merchant Center and Search Console, among others.

2. Event tracking

Some of us are used to UA's effortless and intuitive goal tracking, but GA4 takes a bit more effort. These are the main things to keep in mind:

Determine which key events you want to track.
Most Universal Analytics accounts have event tracking for events that haven't fired in the last two years or aren't relevant anymore. Moving to GA4 can be a great opportunity to tidy up your event tracking. Do you really need 20 conversion goals? Instead, make a list of your key events and focus on setting them up.

Determine which parameters you want to track for each event and add them to your custom dimensions.
Custom dimensions are the extra information we can collect from an event. You can set up any parameter you want to follow.

Is your e-commerce tracking really working?
E-commerce implementation for GA4 is a whole other world, and we've seen every possible issue with our clients, even accounts where everything seemed to be working, value tracking was an issue. The most common mistake we've seen is not adding a parameter for Currency during the set-up on Google Tag Manager.

Check all of your key events are marked as goals and imported to Google Ads.
Similar to the old Universal Analytics, select which events to turn into goals, and they'll be available to import to Google Ads.

3. Google Ads

Besides linking both accounts, you’ll have to update anything that uses UA (conversion, audiences, etc) to GA4.

Set up new audience tracking.
Like events, audiences won't be copied to GA4 during the migration. You can replicate your key UA audiences or test new formats. You'll find audience templates relevant to your industry.

Switching UA conversions to Secondary priority and moving GA4 events to Primary.
Google recommends leaving the GA4 conversion events as secondary for 15 days after importing them to check their performance against the same UA events. Google says up to 20% discrepancy between the same events is expected.
Once you're happy with your GA4 conversion events, move them to Primary.

Make sure Google Ads is using the new GA4 conversions to optimise your campaigns.
Related to the previous point, if you're using campaign-specific goals, ensure you've switched them to GA4.

Add all of the relevant remarketing GA4 audiences to your campaigns.
Soon your UA remarketing audiences will stop collecting data, remember to import your GA4 audiences to your relevant campaigns to start running alongside the old audiences. Google can identify the same audience in UA and GA4, so you can run both together.

Extra tip
Replicate your main goals (ecommerce, main lead enquiries) as a Google Ads Tag.
Google Ads Tag is usually more accurate than analytics goal tracking. It also keeps you from losing data during the UA to GA4 switch since GAds Tag conversions will continue running without being affected. We recommend having at least your main goal as a GAds Tag.

4. Reporting

This is where things get more complicated. If you use Looker Studio to report on your GA4 data, you may have noticed some Quota Errors when adding multiple elements to your report. This is because Google has limited the number of data requests allowed via the GA4 data connector.

If your report is small or doesn't contain much GA4 data, you should be fine, but if you're data-obsessed like us, this limit might affect your daily reporting life. More info here.

Refresh your LookerStudio data to GA4 and remove redundant elements.
Our way around the daily and hourly data limits is to only use essential GA4 data, removing old filters and redundant tables and charts. We’re also using GAds Tag data for main event conversions.

So there you have it, a complete checklist of everything you need to ensure you're ready for July 1st. We hope you find this list helpful. In the past year, we've used it to help move all our client accounts to GA4.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about GA4 or need advice on switching over the accounts. Good luck!


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top ad grants scripts

Top 5 Scripts to optimise your Google Ad Grants

How To Use Google Ads Scripts

Managing a Google Ad Grants account can be very time-consuming, especially for charities running multiple campaigns and projects. We use Google Ads scripts to make automated changes in our Ads accounts.

Scripts use JavaScript code to automatically make changes like pausing ad groups, making a list of the most popular search terms, or sending an email when the account runs ads with broken URLs. 

Scripts can help you manage your Ads Grants account more efficiently by flagging things that need attention and making quick changes to keep your account compliant with Google’s policies. And the best thing about scripts is you don’t even have to know how to code, as there are lots of free scripts that can help you manage your account with minimum change on your part.

Why should you use automated scripts?

The main reason to use automated scripts for Ad Grants is to keep your account compliant. A script can help you avoid suspension by pausing low-quality score keywords or sending you an email when your account has enabled ad groups with no ads, things that can get your account suspended until you fix the issues.

If you need a refresher on the Ad Grants compliance rules, you can find them here

Scripts help you track what’s going on in your account by sending emails with need-to-know information.

How to set up a script

The Scripts tab is inside your Tools & Settings - Bulk Actions. 

how to create a script

Click the plus button to create a new script. Here’s where you’ll add and edit your code.

scripts

Before saving the script, you’ll have to confirm that this script has the authority to make changes to your account by accepting Authorise Now and granting access. 

script schedule

We recommend that you preview the script before publishing to make sure it works and there aren’t any errors with the code. Once the script is published, you can schedule it to run once, daily, weekly or monthly at a specified time.

Best Google Ads scripts for Charities

Most of our clients are charities with an Ad Grants account, and after years of working with them, we’ve tested and discarded many scripts. These are the ones we use regularly and have made our jobs easier:

1. Google Ad Grants Account Compliance - This script helps you check if your Ad Grants account complies with Google’s policy. By adding this script to your account and setting it to run weekly, you’ll be notified about the following:

  • Single-word keywords that are not branded or not in the official authorised list
  • Campaigns using bids higher than 2 dollars that aren’t part of an automated bid strategy
  • Campaigns that have less than 2 ad groups, less than 2 active text ads or no RSA
  • The account doesn’t have active sitelinks
  • Keywords that have a quality score under 3
  • Account CTR is under 5%

Copy-paste the script into your account and make a copy of the spreadsheet in the script, then replace the one in the code with your new sheet. Update the email and branded keywords with your own, preview, and set the script to run weekly.

2. Link Checker - This official Google Ads script, runs through your account, checking all of your ads, keywords and sitelinks to ensure their URLs don't produce "Page not found" or other error responses. It adds all the error URLs to a spreadsheet and emails you the results. 

This script is easier to set up as it's part of a template provided by Google. Click the plus button, select Start from a template (instead of New Scrip) and select Link Checker. Make a copy of the spreadsheet and replace it with yours. Then add your email address, preview and schedule it to run hourly. 

3. Low QS Score - This script runs through your account, checking that all your keywords have a Quality Score of at least 3. Any Ad Grants account with enabled keywords with a score lower than 3 risks getting the account suspended, so it's essential to avoid it. This script will automatically pause keywords below a Quality Score of 3 and send you an email with the terms that have been paused. 

Just copy the code, add your email address, and set it to "true" to pause your keywords automatically. Then, preview and schedule the script to run daily.

4. Trending Search Terms - This script captures all the top search terms in your account and adds them to a sheet. The sheet compares the search terms against the week before and the same week last year. This is really useful for tracking search behaviour, identifying new search trends and finding terms that should be excluded or added as keywords. 

Copy the code into Ads, create a sheet and add it to the script. Add your email address and the name of your account. Preview and schedule it to run weekly.

 

top search terms script

5. Negative Keyword Conflicts - If you add new keywords regularly, it is easy to miss when a term has been previously added as a negative keyword, which will cause your new ad not to show. Having this script enabled to run daily or weekly will help you detect conflicting negative keywords.

Copy this script into your account, make a copy of the spreadsheet and add yours instead, add your email address and preview the script. Set it to run daily or weekly.

We hope you find these scripts useful, it can seem scary implementing a script for the first time, but the ones we’ve selected are very easy to edit and come with step-by-step guides.

Get in touch if you would like to learn more about the tools we use to manage Ad Grants accounts and how we can help your charity.

 


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getting started with ga4

Getting Started With GA4

How To Set Up GA4 And Create Events

You might've heard that the Google Analytics (GA) we know and have been using for years will stop tracking in the summer of 2023 and will be replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This new version is event-based, meaning any interaction can be captured as an event instead of focusing on sessions like the original GA.

You can read more about their differences here https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9964640#zippy=%2Cin-this-article

While there's still time to do the switch, if you're reading this guide, you've probably decided it's time to move on to GA4, and we couldn't agree more. We recommend that you set up GA4 as soon as possible to run it alongside Universal Analytics.

Follow our quick basic setup guide to help you get started with GA4:

1/ Create GA4

If you have a Universal Analytics account, select the view you want to copy to GA4, go to settings, and under Property, you'll find the GA4 Setup Assistant.

If you don't have an account, when you register with Google Analytics, you'll have the option to create only GA4 or to create GA4 plus Universal Analytics, we recommend the second option for now.

ga4 setup assistant

2/ Follow the steps of the Setup Assistant to install the tag onto your website.

ga4 setup tag

Inside your Data Stream, you'll find the account's Measurement ID. You can either install your tag manually (by copy-pasting the code into your website's <head>) or use Google Tag Manager by creating a GA4 Configuration Tag and adding your Measurement ID.

3/ Enable enhanced measurement
Inside your Data Stream, you'll find all the interactions GA4 can automatically track for you. These include primary events like outbound clicks, video engagement, file downloads, etc.

These events can easily be turned into conversions and imported into Google Ads.

4/ How to track custom events
If you want to track specific actions taken on your site, we suggest creating custom events.
Custom events are created from existing events, meaning you need one of the automatically-created events as a base. In Configure, go to Events and select Create event.

Let's take a look at a few examples below:

To track a specific link click. If you want to track clicks on your email address, you'll need to have "click" as a base for your new outbound clicks event. You'll then need a parameter to identify the specific link click you want to track, in this case, we'll use link_url.

To track a form submission thank-you page. If you've used Google Analytics before, you'll remember Destination goals. They were very useful for tracking specific page views. This is how to recreate that on GA4:

To track a thank-you page, you need the "page_view" event as your base. Use page_location to identify your confirmation page.

To track a specific PDF download. In this case, you'll need the file_download event as a base, and we'll use the same parameter page_location to identify the PDF we want to track.

ga4 pdf downloads

5/ How to use custom dimensions
Custom dimensions are the extra information we can collect from an event. You can set up any parameter you want to follow. This list explains which parameters work with each event type https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9216061?hl=en

Here's how to set up a custom dimension and where to find it once it's enabled:

In Configure, go to Custom definitions and click on Create custom dimensions:

If we want to see which PDFs users are downloading from our site, we can add a file_name parameter:

To see your new parameter in action, go to the Events report and filter by event type, in this case, file_downloads. Then, add a second column for your custom dimension. Remember it takes GA4 a few days to start showing this data. It will only show the file_name for PDFs downloaded after you've created the new parameter.

ga4 pdf report

6/ GA4 and Google Ads
Once your setup is done, you can link GA4 and Google Ads the same way you would with Universal Analytics. You can import the events you've created after marking them as conversions.

To see your Google Ads report on GA4, go to Acquisition Overview, you'll find a board that says "View Google Ads campaigns" - click on it to see the full report.

Setting up a GA4 account sounds scary, especially if you’ve been using Universal Analytics for a while and are used to the current layout. But if you follow our easy steps, you'll be able to get started with GA4 in no time!