The Importance of Ad Extensions in a Sidebarless Google World

By Brad



Google recently removed the sidebar ads for Google search results; and the focus has been around the overall impact such as:

  • Higher ad position
  • Static CPCs
  • Less total impressions
  • More total clicks

All of that information makes sense since there are less ads on the page and a 4th ad above the organic results.

However, what hasn’t been talked about enough is that every ad is now treated as if its in the mainline. What this means is that every ad:

  • Can have an extended headline
  • Shows sitelinks
  • Shows callouts
  • Has structured snippets displayed
  • Can utilized the review extension

Before this change, the ads consistently displayed in the sidebar didn’t need to worry as much about ad extensions (for desktops; they did for mobile and tablet devices) and extended headlines.

Now that every ad is in the mainline; every ad needs to consider these two items.

Extended Headlines

When the description line 1 ends in a sentence ending mark; such as a period or question mark; the description line 1 is moved up next to the title to create an extended headline.

In this ad, description line 1 does not end in a sentence ending mark; and thus there is a long description line underneath the display URL:


This versions just adds a period at the end of the description line 1 to create a long headline:


The extended headline only applied to ads shown in the mainline; but now all ads are in the mainline; so testing extended vs non-extended headlines is something every company should do (and if in doubt, generally use the extended headline to increase CTR).

Ad Extensions

Many ad extensions were only displayed when the ads were in the mainline. Now that all ads are in the mainline; you need to ensure that you are using ad extensions properly.

For instance, this ad is missing its ad extensions:


Here’s the exact same ad with its extensions displayed:


The ad more than doubles in size when its extensions are displayed.

If you want to see exactly what extensions you should use and how many of each to create; check out the best practice guide to ad extensions.


Many advertisers are overly focused on the changes. You’re not going to make Google switch back to its old format – this is the new SERP result. What you can do is to make sure your ads and extensions are being properly displayed in the new format.

Ensure you are using all the ad extensions properly and test extended headlines to see what ad layout preforms best for you.

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