How to Audit Ad Extensions

By Brad

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Using all appropriate ad extensions is crucial to managing your PPC accounts. Ad Extensions are not only used in determining ad rank, they allow users to interact with your ads in various ways such as calling you directly from an ad to deep linking to appropriate pages.

There no longer seems to be a debate about the usefulness of ad extensions; however, it is difficult to ensure you are using all of them appropriately.

For instance, if you look at the AdWords interface, how can you tell possibly tell; out of tens or hundreds of campaigns, if just one campaign is missing callouts or if it only has one callout, which means they aren’t even showing?

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Now, that’s just one extension, when you consider that everyone should be using structured snippets, sitelinks, callouts, and possibly more (suggested minimums here); auditing your extension usage is crucial.

There’s 3 ways to easily audit extensions to ensure you are using all of them.

Auditing Extensions via AdWords Interface

In the AdWords interface, if you go to the dimension tab and view the campaign details report, you can see if you have active sitelinks, apps, or phone numbers:

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This report makes it easy to find active campaigns without sitelinks or app extensions. However, what about the rest? The interface doesn’t help with any others, so it’s best to use another method to audit the rest of your extensions.

Excel & Pivot Tables

Using Excel & Pivot tables can accomplish a lot when trying to audit AdWords accounts, and ad extensions is no different if you create pivot tables correctly.

The easiest way to get started is to:

  • Download your extension data
  • Create a pivot table
  • Make the campaign your ‘row label’
  • And ‘attribute value’ (or appropriate data based upon the extension type – this is structured snippets)
  • Examine places where your count values are less than what you need (2+ for snippets)

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This is useful if you have at least one extension in every campaign. The downside to this simple method is that pivot tables rely on a ‘key’ such as the campaign in this case, and if there’s not a value for that key, then nothing is displayed.

For instance, this account is missing structured snippets in one of the campaigns; but since that campaign doesn’t have a row in the pivot table source data, nothing can be displayed in the pivot table.

Solving this issue is very simple; just download a list of your active campaigns that should contain extensions. Copy the campaign list and paste it into your campaign column in the pivot table source data. You don’t need any other stats; just at least one row with the name of every campaign in it; such as this:

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Now when you create a pivot table, there will be a key for every campaign. As the attribute values are 0; it won’t affect your extension counts. When you create this pivot table, you can just filter, sort, or look for rows with no data. Here we can see that campaign 5 is blank; hence it is missing structured snippets.

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Automated Scans

The above methods both take some work, and you must remember to run and examine the reports and pivot tables on a regular basis.

With automated scans, they can automatically examine your extension usage, and then you can easily glance to find areas where you are missing extensions. This scan is part of the Adalysis dashboard where we can easily see that all the campaigns are using several of the extensions; but the account isn’t utilizing structured snippets, location, or app extensions:

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Pick a Method for Examining Your Account

The issue these days with extensions is rarely that people don’t know about them (although, structured snippets is woefully underused). It’s that campaigns get added, removed, and changed all the time; and it’s easy to just miss an extension here and there, and these small misses can add up to a lot of missed opportunity.

Pick a method of auditing your account, using pivot tables or some automated software, and then make sure to regularly check-in, especially after large changes, to ensure you are making the most out of your ad extensions.

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