Google is once again increasing real estate for advertisers on the SERP: They’ve officially released a new ad extension called Structured Snippets, which was recently in Beta and has now started to show up in the AdWords UI. (Previously, Google had released Dynamic Structured Snippets, which were automatically added to your ad based on your site's content categories, but this version gives users more control since you can choose and edit the text in the extension.) It appears to be a slow roll out, which is typical with these types of releases, so you might not find the new extension available in your account just yet.
What Are Structured Snippets?
The Structured Snippets extension will show under your ad copy and above any sitelinks, as shown below:
Here’s what you need to know about the new extension:
- These extensions are similar to Callout extensions in the sense that they are not clickable; they just provide a little more information for the searcher.
- There is a limiting factor involved, in that you have to set a “Header” for your extension, chosen from a predetermined list of 12 categories.
- You are then allowed to add up to 10 “Values” that fall under the header, with 4 as the recommended minimum. Each value has a character limit of 25.
- The same policy requirements that apply for sitelinks and callout extensions apply here but with one additional factor. Your values must fall in line with the theme of your header.
In the finished ad, your predetermined header that you selected will appear followed by a colon and your values. This is why it is important that your values are relevant to your header.
Here's another example, from our client Namely, an HR platform:
As you can see they're using the "Services" header to share extra information about what they offer, such as a dedicated account manager and 24/7 support. So this extension can be used to communicate both offerings and benefits.
Caveat Emptor: Bias in the Structured Snippet Headers
As mentioned above, you’re limited to the below choices when selecting a Header:
- Degree programs
- Featured hotels
- Insurance coverage
- Service catalog
These headers have a clear bias that favors industries with the highest average costs per click. Take “Insurance coverage” – insurance keywords are among the most expensive in AdWords and can run up to $55 for just one click. After that, 4 out of the 12 headers are catered to travel and accommodations, something that we see Google pushing in other ad formats such as Google Flights, the equivalent of shopping ads but for flights, and feeds that will dynamically serve Hotel & Rental listings.
After this, 2 out of the 12 Headers go to the Education market – no surprise there since education is another of the top 10 most expensive paid search industries. There is also a big win here for the retail folks, who can give more detail on the brands they sell or the different styles of their products without having to take away precious ad text space.
Unfortunately, if none of these headers apply to your industry, you won’t get much use out of this ad extension.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Structured Snippets
As with any ad extension, the advantages of Structured Snippets are an increase in your ad space and a bump in Quality Score by boosting your ad relevancy and click-through rate. This extension gives you a great opportunity to highlight important aspects of your product or service that you either couldn’t fit in your ad text or just want to emphasize again. Due to the theme system of the extension you are able to give your audience a further glance into what it is that you are providing to create even more enticement. On top of all these wins, this ad extension will still show alongside any other extensions that you have live on your ad. But wait, there’s more! The Structured Snippets can also be added on an account level.
The only downside to this extension is its limitations due to the headers. You might not be able to showcase what you were hoping to if you can’t get it to theme up with the header. If you can’t find a header that lines up with your product or service at all, you either have to get really creative or cross your fingers that Google releases more header options in the future.
Should You Add Structured Snippets to Your Account?
Of course! Always add as many ad extensions as you can. This will only help boost your real estate on the page as well as your ad rank and Quality Score. Remember when Google changed their Ad Rank formula to include ad extensions in 2013? This is because the expected benefit in terms of CTR for ads with extensions is so clear. The only reason you wouldn’t add this extension is if you couldn’t find a header that falls in line with your account.
Learn more about how to use the new structured snippets extension in Google’s support documentation.