With almost two months left in the year, 2016 has already produced more online sales than 2015, which was a record-breaking year for online sales. But even with ever increasing sales, retailers know that for many products and services, nothing will replace the brick and mortar experience.
As we’re living in an increasingly connected world, we increasingly turn to Google to find what we’re looking for nearby. Local advertisers have happily been using location extensions for years to feature the address of their locally owned businesses to nearby searchers. Recently, Google quietly unveiled affiliate location extensions, which allow advertisers to feature addresses of other nearby national chains that stock their product.
Let’s take a look at how these new affiliate location extensions work.
While many love their location extensions, there’s no denying that for small businesses, they have limited traction. Affiliate location extensions have the potential to be literally thousands of times more impactful for brands who sell through large national chains. This new ability to provide online searchers with that kind of local experience directly on the SERP has serious potential to translate to large in-store sales.
Affiliate location extensions can be set up and shown in nearly all accounts. From the ad extensions tab, advertisers can create affiliate location extensions at either the ad group, campaign, or account level. Creating a new affiliate location extension opens the following prompt:
Advertisers can select from a large list of national retailers that may sell their products. Unlike setting up a location extension, advertisers do not need to link a Google My Business account to create an affiliate location extension.
A complete list of the 80+ chains eligible for advertisers to use in creating an affiliate location extension include: 7- Eleven, Advance Auto Parts, Albertsons, AMPM, AT&T, AutoZone, BabiesRus, Bashas’, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Belk, Best Buy, Big 5 Sporting Goods, BJ’s, Bloomingdale’s, Boost Mobile, Casey’s General Store, Circle K, Costco, Cub Foods, CVS, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Duane Reade, Farm Fresh, Food City, Footlocker, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Giant Eagle, Golfsmith, Grocery Outlet, H-E-B, Harris Teeter, Home Depot, HORNBACHER’S, Ingles, JCPenney, Kinney Drugs, Kmart, Kohl’s Kroger, Lord & Taylor, Lowe’s, Macy’s Marshalls, Meijer, MetroPCS, Napa Auto Parts, Neiman Marcus, Nordstorm, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Pep Boys, Petco, Petsmart, Publix, Rite Aid, Safeway, Saks Fifth Ave, Sam’s Club, Save-a-lot, Sears, Sephora, SHOP ‘N SAVE, SHOPPERS, Speedway, Sprint, Stage Stores, Staples, T-Mobile, Target, The Medicine Shoppe, TJMaxx, TOPs Markets, ToysRUS, Trader Joe’s, Ulta Beauty, Verizon, Walgreens, Walmart, and Wegmans.
Like all ad extensions, we know that AdWords Affiliate Extensions can improve click-through rate, ad relevancy, and Quality Score.
Recently, we tested out affiliate location extensions with one of our larger retail brand clients that sells their products both online and in drug stores across the US. While they always welcomed online sales, they also promoted online searchers to find a local store near them via a “Store Locator” sitelink.
In November, this client’s new affiliate location extension proved to raise CTR by almost 3x their search ads’ CTR and an additional 10% greater than their “Store Locator” sitelink!
But increased CTR and ad rank may not be the only benefits to affiliate location extensions. Advertisers generating enough clicks and in-store traffic through these extensions will also be able to measure store visit conversions from their AdWords account, providing tons of insight into their audience’s offline activity.
Affiliate location extensions are currently available in all AdWords accounts, so be sure to seize this additional traffic in time for the holidays!
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