Useful Insights into Ad Extensions – Part 2: Sitelinks

Click-through rates (CTR) are one of the most important indicators to measure the success of your AdWords campaigns. A high CTR usually indicates that users derive a benefit from your campaign in terms of a certain added value. Therefore, it’s both logical and desirable to optimise your campaigns and ads according to the CTR. One way to positively influence your performance indicators is to enhance your ads with so-called Sitelinks. As our observations have shown, these sitelinks may boost your CTR by up to 25% – so, let’s take a closer look into how this works!

Ads with Sitelinks Increase CTR by 25%

You can add Sitelinks both on the campaign level and on the ad group level. Of course, implementing Sitelinks takes time, and you may ask yourself: Is this really worth it? Let’s take a look at the screenshot below:

Sitelinks vs Non SitelinksEven without examining these ads more closely, I would intuitively click on the bottom one. The reason for this is simple: Even though the ad is not placed in the first position, it takes up more space than the other one because of the additional Sitelinks, which makes it more of an eye-catcher.

Does this change in display have any effect on the CTR? To answer this question, we’ve added Sitelinks in the AdWords account of one of our customers in the street wear fashion industry. Here are the results:

ResultIn addition to increasing your CTR, Sitelinks offer a number of other benefits:

  • Higher quality scores: As you all know, a higher CTR positively impacts the quality score. Using Sitelinks boosts your CTR and, thus, also increases the quality factor.
  • More space for text: The number of characters permitted for text ads is fairly limited. Sitelinks enable you to point out attractive benefits of the landing page, such as, for example, a € 20 discount for new customers, free shipping, and so on. This way, you can focus on relevant keywords in your ad text.
  • Targeted initiatives: Sitelinks are an easy way to promote your shop’s special campaigns. You can create a Sitelink for a particular offer, link it to the website, and pause it once the offer has ended. Alternatively, you may also choose to set start and end dates to activate and deactivate the Sitelink automatically.
  • Universally applicable: Sitelinks are a useful tool for all industries, provided that advertisers comply with the AdWords guidelines. Whether you promote new fashion trends, insurance portfolios, or discount campaigns – Sitelinks are your tool of choice to advertise your campaigns quickly and easily.

Practical Tip: Use Different Itemised Types of Sitelinks

When it comes to creating Sitelinks, I recommend that you first assign Sitelinks on campaign level. Here, it has proved useful to create six standard Sitelinks which are then assigned to each campaign:

Examples of standard Sitelinks:

  1. 24-hour delivery service
  2. Free shipping
  3. € 20 discount for new customers
  4. Clearance sale 2015
  5. S/S sale 2015
  6. Ladies wear
  7. Menswear

The next step in optimising your campaign management involves replacing these standard sitelinks with campaign-specific sitelinks for your top campaigns.

Examples of campaign-specific sitelinks (dresses):

  1. Cute cocktail dresses
  2. Elegant cocktail dresses
  3. Sundresses
  4. Little black dresses
  5. Maxi dresses
  6. Stylish pencil skirts

By using campaign-specific Sitelinks, you can make your ad appear more attractive to users, which, in turn, boosts the click rate. If you wish for more differentiated Sitelinks, you may also choose to create Sitelinks on the ad group level. This way, you can assign even more relevant, custom-tailored Sitelinks to your ads. In the auctioning process, Google gives priority to the Sitelinks on the ad group level over those on the campaign level.

Furthermore, you have the option to implement ‘Enhanced Sitelinks‘. The difference to standard Sitelinks is that Enhanced Sitelinks enable you to add two additional lines of text per Sitelink.

Examples of Enhanced Sitelinks:

Enhanced Sitelinks_ENEnhanced sitelinks will call further attention to your ad, which will positively impact your CTR.

Use Sitelinks to Optimise Your Ads

From our analysis, we’ve learned that using sitelinks boosts the CTR by up to 25%. Therefore, PPC managers should definitely place their bets on this particular type of ad extension. Sitelinks are not only easy to implement, they also greatly contribute to catching users’ attention. We recommend that you use at least six standard Sitelinks for each campaign before activating specific or Enhanced Sitelinks for your top campaigns.

Ultimately, the effort is well worthwhile!

In the next part of our series, “Useful Insights into Ad Extensions”, my colleague Olga will explain callout extensions. Stay tuned!


Natascha Buchholz

Natascha works as a Senior Account Manager for crealytics.