HUGE Changes to AdWords (This One’s My Favorite)

Last month Google announced new “Enhanced” AdWords campaigns. It’s being touted as the biggest change to AdWords in the last 5 years.

Now, I’ve been around AdWords long enough that when Google announces that something is “Enhanced” I’m, well, skeptical to say the least.

And, yes, there are some new “enhancements” that seem mostly geared to putting more money in Google’s coffers. However, we’ll leave those for another time.

Instead we’ll focus on the positive here because there are some changes which are truly big improvements. One, in particular, I’ve been waiting for for a very long time.

It has to do with what’s known as Sitelink extensions.

Sitelink extensions are additional links that can appear under you main AdWords ad (though only when your ad appears in one of the first 3 positions in the AdWords rankings).

Here’s an example of what one looks like in the wild.

dentist sitelinks

The links under the main ad lead to different pages of this dental office’s website.

The phone number leads to the Contact page, the ‘Meet the Dentists’ link leads to a page with background about each dentist…you get the idea.

Sitelinks are all about getting people to the page on your site that’s most relevant to what they’re looking for.

Sitelinks Are Great, But…

Up until now, however, Sitelinks have only been available at the Campaign level. That means if you have Sitelinks in an AdWords campaign, the Sitelinks could potentially show for every keyword and ad you have in the campaign.

There are plenty of situations where this is not a good thing.

Take the example of a decent sized attorney’s office that has attorneys practicing in a number of different specialties.

In a well organized AdWords campaign, you’d have Ad groups set up for each specialty…DUI, Bankruptcy, Divorce, etc.

In a campaign like this, it would be tough to use Sitelinks because the Sitelinks you might use for a Divorce attorney like

  • Custody Issues
  • Child Support
  • Alimony
  • Our Divorce Attorneys

would make no sense to someone searching for a DUI or Bankruptcy attorney.

In fact, if someone searching for a DUI or Bankruptcy attorney saw Sitelinks under the ad mentioning Child Support and Alimony, they’d be totally turned off by the ad!

To get around issues like this, there are accounts that we manage where we create separate campaigns JUST so we can use appropriate Sitelinks extensions.

Well, no more!

The Big Improvement

With Enhanced campaigns, you can now create Sitelinks at an ad group level. WOOHOO!

As you can see from the screenshot below, now when you go to the Sitelinks tab, you’re given the option to ‘Use campaign sitelinks extension’ or ‘Use ad group sitelinks extension’.

new sitelinks


Once you create a new Sitelink in a campaign or ad group, it’s stored in your AdWords account and it can be easily added to any Campaign and/or Ad group you create.

And It Gets Even Better…

The reporting for Sitelinks has been improved as well. Previously, the only data you could see is aggregate data that shows how many times people clicked on one of your ads that displayed Sitelinks along with it like this (click to enlarge)…

old reporting

But you had no clue which Sitelinks, if any, were actually getting clicked on.

Now, however, you can see data broken out by Sitelink. To do this, you have to go to the Segment button and choose the “This Extension vs. Other” link…


When you do this, your data now gets segmented by each Sitelink extension like this…


The data in the “This extension” row shows the data for that specific Sitelink. The “Other” row shows clicks on any other part of the ad when that Sitelink was displayed (which could be the headline of the ad, the other Sitelink extensions or another extension that may have been displayed with the ad).

This is extremely helpful because, for the first time, you can tell which extensions are actually getting clicked on. Using this data, you can now test different extensions to see which ones perform best with your ads and further optimize your ads.

I’m very excited about this new feature and it should be a very useful one for AdWords advertisers who take full advantage of it.

So kudos to Google for making this great enhancement to AdWords. It helps make up for some of the less than helpful “enhancements” that are also part of the Enhanced AdWords campaigns. But more on those another time…