Between Callouts, Sitelinks, Reviews, and a host of other add-ons, there are a ton of extensions that provide different ways to personalize your text ads. One of the more interesting features of the lot comes from the structured snippets extension.
AdWords structured snippets are extensions that give advertisers the ability to highlight specific components of their products or services in text ads. And while the snippets themselves only populate a single line of a text ad, there’s a lot more to them than you might think.
Understanding how structured snippets work and how they can be leveraged to drive clicks, and ultimately conversions, is something every retailer in AdWords should be on top of.
An In-depth Look at the AdWords Structured Snippets Extension
Table of contents:
Overview of Structured Snippets
AdWords, and in this instance, search, has continued to develop into a robust and sophisticated advertising platform for brands. Google continues to implement an assortment of features and capabilities that aim to increase efficiency and effectiveness, as well as helping retailers differentiate their ads from others.
Upon their initial introduction, structured snippets were dynamic, automated extensions. While the performance was promising, advertisers had little control over what populated an ad’s structured snippets copy. However, Google has since changed the facilitation of structured snippets, giving advertisers more control.
Information in structured snippets are no longer left to being automatically populated, and instead, display the ad copy you believe to be most valuable for shoppers and your brand. This will let you highlight the main features of your product or service exactly how you want them to be displayed.
The Composition of Structured Snippets
Structured snippets only account for one line of copy in an entire text ad, but are actually made up of a few different components; the major components being the header and values.
A new structured snippet is comprised of the following main pieces:
- Header: the header is the snippet type that best reflects a category, feature, service, or product that your business offers.
- Values: custom copy that allows you to list at least 3 features, services, or products related to your header. Each item is limited to 25 characters.
- Device: here, you have the ability to select mobile as a preference. Choosing “Mobile” will indicate that your ad or extension is optimized for mobile devices.
- Scheduling options: Scheduling controls the days of week and times of day that your extension can run alongside your ad.
Headers are chosen from a list of 13 options, which are based on categories or snippet types predetermined by Google – header options include: amenities, brands, courses, degree programs, destinations, featured hotels, insurance coverage, models, neighborhoods, service catalog, shows, styles, and types.
Of course, not every option is going to be viable for or relevant to all businesses and only one header can be chosen per snippet.
As a result, it’s important to choose a suitable header option that best highlights your product or service offerings, or otherwise aligns with your overall campaign.
Beyond your headers, the breadth of your structured snippets are going to come from custom copy that allows you to emphasize the key features related to the service, product, or other designated header option.
Custom values need to include, at least, three descriptions and can include as many as 10. Each value is limited to 25 characters, so they should be brief and to the point.
Ads with a checked box for Mobile are given preference on mobile devices, while standard text ads and extensions are given preference on desktops, laptop computers, and tablets. If your ad group only contains mobile-optimized text ads, your ads still might appear on desktops, laptop computers, and tablets.
Consider writing ad text that highlights mobile-specific specials or discounts and use a display URL that makes more sense for people on the go.
Highlighting your store locator, in-store deals for mobile-customized sitelinks, or showing links to download or open your mobile app are great ways to utilize structured snippets with a mobile preference.
Start/end dates, scheduling
Start and end dates control when your extension can run alongside your ad. Scheduling controls the days of week and times of day that your extension can run alongside your ad.
Your extension will be eligible to run after they’ve been approved, but this field allows you to choose specific days of the week or times of the day for the extension to run.
Ad scheduling is a standard feature in AdWords, but the ability to schedule structured snippets separately is an incredibly useful feature. This gives advertisers a lot of versatility in how their ads perform.
If you’re having a holiday sale that you’d like to promote with a sitelink extension, you can set the start date for the holiday. Your end date can be whenever the sale is over or do the same with something like discounts.
Implementing Structured Snippets Into Your Ads
Incorporating structured snippets into an ad is far from being an arduous process and is really only a few steps of initial setup. From there, once your structured snippets have been approved, you’ll be able to leave them running or edit them as needed.
After accessing your account in Adwords, setting up your structured snippets can be done through the following steps:
- Choose the campaign or ad group you’d like to add structured snippets to, or stay at the “All campaigns” level to to edit an account level structured snippet.
- Click the Ad extensions tab.
- From the View: drop-down menu, choose Structured snippet extensions.
- Click +Extension, then click +New structured snippet.
- Choose a language and then a header from the drop-down menus. This header will be shown in front of the values (snippets) you enter.
- Enter at least 3 values. These values should be specific items or attributes that match the header category.
- Hit Save and you’re done!
Examples of Structured Snippets
Structured snippets only encompass a small portion of an ad, and how they’re incorporated by businesses will vary dependent on type.
As such, advertisers should look to be flexible and creative in how structured snippets are incorporated. Understanding how you can most effectively showcase your product or brand will likely improve an ad’s conversion efficiency.
Below are a few examples of how structured snippets can be utilized different.
The “Type” header can be used to highlight more than a single product. In a search query for “Nike running shoes”, the company is able to promote other categories from their apparel line without taking too much focus away from the initial search.
The “brands” header is ideal for retailers carrying many different lines. In a search for “monitors”, Dell is able to list the different brands available, which shoppers may find useful when looking for comparisons.
Similar to the previous two, this header option allows advertisers to list off various product types – or in this instance, specific style types.
In any case, how headers are used will be entirely up to you. The best thing to do is find aspects of your product or brand potential customers may find most valuable, and highlight those the most.
Advice, Insight, & Final Thoughts
The most important thing to note is that structured snippets, despite how small, can be an additional tool for advertisers to utilize when competing with other brands vying for visibility.
“When it comes to relevant text ad real estate on the SERP, more is better” said Adam Harms, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy.
“Ad extensions are a great way to communicate additional info about a retailer’s product or service offerings.”
I’ve found Structured Snippets are effective on high-funnel search campaigns, since the extension allows me to tell more about what the retailer offers in a succinct, bullet-point format.
For example, let’s say I’m building a campaign for an outdoor furniture retailer. If a user searches something relevant, but non-specific like ‘outdoor furniture,’ we’ll want to show up with an ad from a high-funnel campaign.
We’re not sure what exact type or brand of outdoor furniture the user is looking for. Structured snippets allow us to list the types and brands the retailer offers without using up valuable headline and description space.”
For more information on structured snippets, please contact [email protected]