Paid Search

AdWords Callout Extension and What You Need to Know

Last month we saw Google launch a new AdWords extension called the “callout” extension as a way to give people more information when making purchasing decisions online. According to the official Google announcement, callout extensions are “additional text that shows with your Google search ads, highlighting specific information about your products and services.” So what does it actually mean for your company, and when and how does it make sense to use the new extension? Now that callouts have been live for one month, it’s time to start getting acquainted.

How the Callout Extension Works

When Google says “additional text” they mean non-linkable points that you can add to an ad. According to an article from KoMarketing advertising strategist Michael Pickowicz, the easiest way to describe the callout extension is simply Sitelinks without the links, which I think is very accurate. Below is an example form Google:


As you can see, callouts give advertisers that extra space to display an extra message 25 characters or shorter. The aim here is to show valuable information to consumers and draw attention to important details such as special offers, product benefits, new features, etc. A few best practices include:

  • You should keep your text short (12-15 characters is idea).
  • Be specific with numbers and descriptor words. For example, “4.7in LED display” instead of simply “LED display.”
  • Ads see better performance with callouts that use lowercased words instead of upper-cased. For example, “’100% silk’ vs. ‘100% Silk.’”

It’s also worth noting that since callouts and sitelinks can be used together. Since callouts are not clickable, this is actually something that is encouraged. Callouts are still great for bringing attention to your ad and furthering your message, but giving searchers somewhere to click is still important.

Benefits of Callout Extensions

Besides the main benefit—highlighting your business offerings—below are some of the benefits Google emphasizes along with some of our own:

  • More information on a SERP result.

So this one is obviously not coming from Google, but you can’t deny the fact that this will help your ad take up more space on a SERP. Now that authorship is gone, you need to take advantage of everything you can to get your listings to stand out from the rest. You get that additional messaging and your ad is larger than the others, so if you’re going to pay for that top spot you may as well make the most of it!

  • They are a factor in determining Ad Rank.

Google has started creating a quality score for ads, and extensions are therefore more important now than they were in the past. If Google was going to look at two ads and compare, it’s your ad extensions (of any type) that are going to put you ahead. In other words, high performing callout extensions could end up changing your ad position.

  • They are great CTA tests.

This was another one from Pickowicz that makes perfect sense. Because callouts allow you to monitor performance (more on this in the next section), you can easily see what is working and what is not. This will help ensure that your callouts are always doing their job and allows you to get creative. You can also check out a similar report for sitelinks to come up with the perfect combination for your ad.

  • You can customize callouts for mobile.

Of course, we can’t forget the importance of mobile. Google has undoubtedly not forgotten, so they added a feature for advertisers to create custom callouts to show on mobile devices. This works well if you have promotions that you only want to offer to those in the area who you want to pop into your store, such as “Save 20% in the next ten minutes.”

  • Scheduling your callouts makes it easy to get specific with promotions.

You have the ability to specify the dates, days of the week, or time of the day that you want your callouts to show. This makes it easy to customize your messages, which is great for promotions like “One week only” or “Last chance this Sunday” type offers.

How to Get Started with Callout Extensions

While setting up callouts is pretty simple, there are a few things to keep in mind before you get started that might complicate things if you’re not prepared:

  • You have to have a minimum of two callouts per account, campaign, or ad group in order for your ad to be eligible for the new extension. However, Google recommends creating the maximum amount available, four per level, as you can.
  • The order of your callouts, their length, and how they perform will all factor into how many callouts will appear (or even show up at all).
  • Ads on a SERP shown on a desktop as well as mobile will show up to four callouts.
  • Once again, callouts are limited to 25 characters.

To get started, simply click your Ad extensions tab, select Callout Extensions from the View drop-down menu, and then next to the callout settings link, click Edit and then Save. Once you setup your callout, you will be prompted to select devices where you want the callout shown.

You can visit the callouts Google Support page for more detailed information on editing, removing, and scheduling a callout.

Remember, there is no cost to add callout extensions to your campaign, so there is no reason not to give them a try and test out their success for your company. To see performance reports, simply go to your Ad extensions tab and choose View: Callout Extensions. This will help you figure out which callouts are performing well and which need to be optimized.

If you’ve used Google callouts and gotten concrete results, good or bad, we want to hear about it. Let us know your story in the comment section below.

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