Useful Insights Into Ad Extensions – Part I: Automatic Ad Extensions

- Luke Metcalfe

You’ve probably all heard about the feature of ad extensions, but do you also know how and why they impact CTR? How about managing ad extensions, or whether it’s even possible to do so? How do they compare? What are the differences in terms of different devices?

All of these questions will be answered in our blog series “Useful Insights Into Ad Extensions”, where we will share with you our experience, quick-wins, and convenient-to-knows. To begin with, today, I’ll take a look at the two automatic ad extensions “Social Extensions” and “Seller Ratings” and compare them.

Automatic Ad Extensions Raise Awareness

At this point, I would like to briefly look at automatic ad extensions in general terms. Their purpose is to provide conventional search ads with additional information – to present a product or company in a more favourable light, to extend ads, and to direct attention to particular ads.

Generally speaking, Google takes ad extensions into consideration when calculating the quality factors of different ads. For this reason, ad extensions alone have a positive impact on your ad’s ranking, and you don’t even need to increase your CPC.

Automatic ad extensions include the following:

Note that you can only manually configure and activate automatic ad extensions. Everything else is done automatically – in other words: Google assumes the task of managing automatic ad extensions. Optimising your automatic ad extensions is, in fact, not an option.

Seller Ratings Gain More Traffic, Social Extensions Show Higher CTR

I’ve taken a closer look at two of the most common ad extensions: seller ratings and social extensions. Before going into their empirical values, I’ll briefly outline which type of information you can include in these two automatic ad extensions:


Using social extensions, you can add information about your company’s Google+ followers in Google’s social networks. Of course, this requires you to have a Google+ profile, and you need to make sure that the target URL is consistent with the URL specified in Google+. For these ad extensions to appear in the SERP, the number of your followers needs to exceed 100, and your Google+ company profile should frequently generate posts.


Seller ratings allow you to add information to your ad about the ratings your company has earned in external evaluation portals (e.g. Trusted Shops). These ratings follow the five-star system. Information on seller ratings will only appear in your ad if your shop earned at least 30 ratings of 3.5 or more stars in the last 12 months. This way, subjective and negative ratings can be avoided.

Looking into the performance of these two ad extensions, I observed the following:

  • Seller ratings generate a higher traffic volume than social extensions. Speaking in absolute numbers, this corresponds to 70% more impressions and 20% more clicks.
  • At the same time, ads with social extensions appear in a better position, which in turn, generates a higher CTR. On average, the position is 30% better if your ad has social extensions. In the context of the top 5 positions, this approximately comes out to one whole position.
  • According to our empirical values, the CTR of ads with social extensions is 300% above ads with seller ratings. On average, the CTR of ads with social extensions is about 6%.

These empirical values were derived from multiple AdWords accounts in the fashion industry. Generally, analysing automatic ad extensions has proved difficult, as Google doesn’t allow for an entirely transparent management process. Instead, Google decides in a “black box” which extensions of your ad will appear and which ones will not.


You will find automatic ad extensions an easy and cost-free option to provide your products with more content and space on the search ad level, as you only need to tend to the configuration or initial activation. Unfortunately, you cannot optimise these particular ad extensions.

Google promises advertisers that these extensions will highlight the USP or benefits of a product or distributor, draw attention, and boost the CTR. According to our analysis, social extensions reached a more profitable CTR compared to seller ratings. Nonetheless, advertisers should not forego seller ratings, as they should aim for a broad positioning in order to convince customers of their products in various ways.

Our next blog entry in the series “Useful Insights Into Ad Extensions” will focus on the manual ad extension “Sitelinks”. Again, we will be drawing on empirical values to provide you with useful tips for optimising your ad management. Get excited!


Luke is a Content Marketer at Crealytics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *