RIP AdWords Review Extensions (+ What to Replace Them With)


First 2018 came for our warmth. Then it came for the Georgia Bulldogs. Today, it set its sights on review extensions.

That’s right, people: starting this month, your AdWords ads will no longer have the privilege of being accompanied by third-party reviews. And in February, your extensions (and their data) will be wiped from the UI completely. On Google’s review extensions support page (now sporting an angry red box), they still extoll the virtues of social proof in ad copy. There is a sliver of good news, though: if you’ve been running review extensions for the last few years, you’ve got a few more weeks to export your historical performance data before Google wipes it from your account.

Quote: “There’s nothing better than getting a good review, and customers like to see them too when searching for products and services online.”

Very true, Google. SO WHY DID YOU TAKE THEM AWAY?!

Review Extensions in Memoriam

If you didn’t know about review extensions, here’s what you missed out on.

Third-party review extensions allow(ed) advertisers to share positive quotes, awards, or rankings with prospects. Their appearance, like that of all ad extensions, occurred based on a combination of their existence, your ad rank, and Google’s good will.

Review extensions could exist in two different forms: as either an exact quote…

adwords review extensions exact quote 

Or a paraphrased review:

adwords review extensions paraphrase 

They were notoriously difficult to get approved but, once they were live, they offered really great social proof that was otherwise unmatched among ad extensions. This testimonial translated to a solid uptick in SERP dominance; per Google, Review extensions enhanced CTR by up to 10%.

Review extensions, you will be sorely missed.

What Does This Mean for Your AdWords Account?

While there’s nothing today that can straight-up replace review extensions in your AdWords account, there are still plenty of ways to simultaneously enhance the effectiveness of your search ads and occupy more real estate on a search results page.

Do they offer verifiable social proof? Nope. But these are still effective solutions to the gaping hole left where your review extensions used to be.

How to Spruce Up Your Ads Without Review Extensions

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions are clickable links that appear beneath an ad’s description. They typically feature a headline of their own (depicted below) and can also accommodate short descriptions.

replace your review extensions with sitelink extensions 

There’s a good chance you’re already using sitelinks to drive prospects to pertinent pages on your website, ones that offer opportunities to download a whitepaper or contact your business. Why not create a testimonial/proof page on your website and direct prospects to it via a sitelink? This is a great way to do something a little different on the SERP (you rarely see advertisers point prospects to testimonial pages using sitelink extensions) and create new remarketing audiences based on those who visit the page.

Callout Extensions

While callout extensions are often treated like a throwaway—everybody uses them but there’s rarely much though behind them outside of “free shipping” etc.—you can use them to say something more profound about your business.

replace your adwords review extensions with callout extensions 

Instead of running generic callout extensions at the account level (as many do), why not get granular with them? Write down everything that makes your business unique then, at the campaign level (or ad group if you’re feeling zealous), figure out how you can use the strict character limit to craft something relevant. If you sell shoes, for example, don’t just run that played out “Free shipping” extension universally; touch on the specific things that make your kicks special instead.

Structured Snippets

Though they look similar to the callout extensions above, structured snippets are a different animal entirely. They afford advertisers the opportunity to catalogue specific aspects of their product or service, whether that’s brands sold, coverage offered, or any one of a dozen more categorical options.

replace your adwords review extensions with structured snippets 

Again, instead of leveraging these suckers at the account level (or not at all), make them campaign or ad group specific. Keep them short and sweet for mobile users. Maybe even experiment with different snippet headers (models vs. styles, for example).

Social Proof in Ad Copy

Finally, offering subtle instances of social proof in your copy can be a great way to entice your prospects into clicking an ad. Though Google will suspend ads that are hyperbolically superlative (think “BEST WIDEGET ON THE PLANET #1 WIDGET BUY MY WIDGET IT’S THE BEST WIDGIT”), paraphrasing reviews within the confines of your ad text is not strictly forbidden.  


While the loss of review extensions will be a blow to some, AdWords offers enough alternatives that it shouldn’t negatively impact your performance for too long. Oh, and don’t forget to download that data before it goes kaput. You never know when it could come in handy for future optimization: after all, Bing review extensions are still alive and well!

Find out how you're REALLY doing in AdWords!

Watch the video below on our Free AdWords Grader:

Visit the AdWords Grader.


brian sheridan
Jan 11, 2018

Seems like an odd decision. Of all the ad copy and extensions, reviews seemed to me to be one that was very useful to help people find what they were looking for.

Allen Finn
Jan 11, 2018

Totally agree. My assumption is that, from a resources perspective, review extensions were a time suck (due to their validation process) that Google felt they could do without. Unfortunate for advertisers, particularly those that lean on social proof to overcome objections at the top of the funnel.

Jonathan Bianchi
Feb 05, 2018

That's a great assumption and makes sense.

There're easier and more transparent ways to get social proof into your ads anyway at this point.

A Seller Rating (gold stars in your ads) already instantly validates a company's trustworthiness.

Jan 11, 2018

I think that they are disabling the review extension so more people would use Seller ratings extension. Because they work with review companies and they are probably making some money on this also.

Thanks for the article.

Jan 11, 2018

Does this mean the actual stars in adwords will disappear?
Things like ShopperApproved/TrustPilot/Brideye who can get the stars to show in adwords would suffer.

Allen Finn
Jan 11, 2018

Nope! Those are actually called "seller rating extensions." You can find out if your account is eligible to show seller rating extensions by visiting this URL, replacing "" with your domain:

Jan 11, 2018

Ok thanks!

Jan 11, 2018

Google Adwords service reps have been telling me my company's google reviews can show up on my ad once we have 150 of them, does this change impact that display option? I'm getting close to 150! Thank you.

Allen Finn
Jan 12, 2018

Hi, Albert.

You should be fine! Those aren't review extensions, they're seller ratings (See my response to the comment above for a bit more info).

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Mar 05, 2018

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Chad McBride
Jan 12, 2018

Our guess as to why - these were desktop only, but Google is genuinely "Mobile first" these days. and for whatever reason they couldn't justify them on mobile.

Agree that they were troublesome to get approved and so on though so maybe not self-service enough.

Allen Finn
Jan 12, 2018

I didn't even think of that, Chad. Great cal!

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Mar 06, 2018

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Jan 12, 2018

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Jan 12, 2018

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Digital Marketing Institute
Jan 16, 2018

Google is really making it hard to build trust, credibility confidence among the audience. Though, Callout Extensions can help to some extent.

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