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Using Callout Extensions in Google AdWords

Callout extensions in AdWords do exactly what they sound like.  They “call out” to searchers the things you believe are important about your products and services.   The beauty of this is that it provides an opportunity to include additional information in your AdWords ads.

How They Work

Callouts are lines of text that may run under your typical paid ad on the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) and are a maximum of 25 characters.


However, Google suggests a length of 12 – 15 characters for each callout which does provide an opportunity for multiple callouts to be displayed under one ad.  Advertisers who decide to use callouts need to create a minimum of two per account, campaign, or ad group and can create up to four.  There’s no reason to not create the maximum of four though to see how they perform and how Google chooses to display them.  The same rules apply for callouts as for regular lines of text: no gimmicks or cute symbols to get attention.

Callout extensions are different from sitelinks which are hyperlinks that take the searcher to a new page.  This makes it easier for advertisers to benefit from because there’s no need to have a landing page for whatever is highlighted in the callout as there is with sitelinks.  If the callouts are used well, they can help businesses stand out from other results on a page.

Getting Started

Callout extensions are available in the ad extensions tab in an AdWords account.  To get started with them, users simply add a line of text for each callout, choose devices and scheduling preferences (or leave the default) and save it.  Callouts can be added or removed at the campaign or ad group level.

When creating callouts, note that adjustments are not made directly to the ads; this is an addition to your regular ads.  Specific callouts are better than general ones because they provide more detailed information to customers.

Something else to take into consideration when getting started with callouts is cheduling them at a time of day important to your business.  For example, you may want to say something about your sandwich specials between the hours of 11:00am and 3:00pm.  This ability to schedule callouts can make your use of extensions even more powerful.  Another case would be posting a coupon code for certain times of the day, perhaps when online sales are lowest.

More Targeted Ads

Once callout extensions are added, they are eligible to display right below your paid search ad.  As a result, customers are able to see even more information about your offering before they click.  Ideally, this serves two purposes.  It may discourage people from clicking if they are not the right target for you.  Ultimately, this saves money on clicks that are not from qualifying prospects.  For searchers who are on the fence about what you offer, the callout could be exactly what they need to determine if your product or service is what they want.

Highlight Primary Benefit

Callouts also give the advertiser some extra real estate to highlight primary benefits.  We know that lots of places sell women’s clothing.  However, if you are one of the few places that offers free shipping with no minimum purchase, callouts are the place to highlight that.  That will definitely get the attention of cost savvy shoppers!  If a searcher is already leaning towards your store because of the available items, seeing that “free shipping” callout may be that final push to visit you online.  It’s a great opportunity to add in that little bit of extra information that did not fit in your ad and to really make you stand out from competitors.


As with the existing guidelines, there are some limitations to what you can do with callouts. Text in callouts cannot be repetitive.  The example given above about free shipping without any minimums can have one callout of “free shipping”.  That phrase cannot be used in all four callouts in an attempt to call attention to that benefit.

Also, Google determines which of your callouts it will display.  Advertisers are not able to determine which extensions show the most. The good thing about this limitation is that Google will probably show the best performing one so it is not something advertisers need to worry about.

Overall, the best reason to use them is because extensions are calculated into Ad Rank which is all about ranking higher in search results.  Since there is no additional cost for using callouts, there is no downside to adding them in your account.  And similar to other features in AdWords, you can access reporting which shows ad performance with callouts and without them.  So, are you convinced yet about the benefits of callout extensions?  If so, take a few minutes to log into your account and get started on these right away since they do impact your overall performance.

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