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Call out: what makes your business stand out from the competition!

Sitelinks and call-outs are both ad extensions that tend to improve ad’s visibility and create more reasons for users to click on your ad. Use of  extensions effects Ad Rank calculation and helps your ads appear in higher positions. Sitelinks are links shown below the top three ads at the top of the search results page. They are meant to help users navigate the site of the advertiser and help them to quickly find the information they are looking for.

Callouts are additional text that allows advertisers to show unique offers and benefits of their sites, products and services. They were introduced by Google as of September 2014.

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Sitelinks vs Call-outs

There are many similarities between callouts and sitelinks. The major difference is that callouts are not actual links. The benefit here is that a separate landing page is not required. That offers a lot of flexibility in messaging and means any size site should be able to take advantage of callouts. Bonus: It does not cost any extra! Like sitelinks, callouts can be set up and edited at the campaign or ad group level without having to create new ads and data is retained even after making edits. Though, one other difference from sitelinks is that callouts can also be set up at the account level. Google suggests starting with broader callouts at the account or campaign level, and getting more specific once you move to ad groups. Advertisers can customize callouts for mobile devices and schedule them by time of day and day of the week. And, also like sitelinks, the character limit for each is 25.

When to use sitelinks and call outs

After the introduction of callouts there is a clear division of responsibilities: sales arguments should be placed in the callouts, whereas sitelinks are now primarily responsible for website navigation.

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Best practices for callouts

When using callouts keep these things in mind:

  • Callout extensions are available only for “Search Network Only” and “Search Network with Display Select” campaigns.
  • You are not allowed to duplicate text in callouts. This means you cannot have repetitive text in callouts at the account, campaign and ad group levels, i.e. “Free shipping” at the account and campaign level. It also means you can’t use text in your callout that appears elsewhere in the ad text. “Customer service” and “Customer support” would be considered repetitive.
  • Google will generally show your highest performing and most useful combination of extensions and formats, so while you do not have control over what shows up where, you do not have to guess which extensions will have the greatest impact on your CTR.
  • You cannot use dynamic keyword insertion for your callouts text.
  • You cannot use gimmicky symbols or emoticons in callouts.
  • Keep callout text short; Google recommends a maximum of 12-15 characters per callout, so more callouts (up to 4) can been displayed under each ad.
  • Use sentence case rather than title case, e.g. “Free shipping” not “Free Shipping.” Google says they have seen better results in testing with sentence case.
  • Keep in mind that if you do not create granular callouts, the account-level callouts will show for all ads. If you’re not careful to manage the experience, it could cause confusion to the potential customer.

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When looking at what callouts bring to the advertising table, it could be said that this is one of the biggest changes to Google’s ad format. The Callout extension can offer advertisers more advertising space for additional wording and, potentially, a better quality score.

Looking at the Callout extension, it is clear that it has no serious drawbacks, making it a perfect one to test out. Keep in mind, though, that this is only applicable for campaigns with high ad placement (position 1 or 2).


by Ana Prentovic

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