So much of what we, as an industry, talk about when it comes to optimising AdWords campaigns falls on the technical side of the fence; account structure, bidding strategies, comprehensive negative keywording. But that’s only half the battle.

Your ad itself also needs to be compelling. It needs to entice prospective customers to click. And Google certainly wants them to click, such is the nature of the PPC model.

The Promotion Extension

Enter promotion extensions. Released by Google ahead of Black Friday, these ad extensions enable advertisers to show off time-sensitive offers and discounts under existing ad text, across all devices.

Using this latest extension you’re now able to display a short description of the promotion, the dates on which it is valid, and - if applicable - the promo code required for users to claim their discount.

But Do They Work?

Given the commercial intent of the new promotion extension, Black Friday seemed the perfect opportunity to test them out and learn whether or not they really work. And in short, yes they do.

Using them across a number of accounts over the Black Friday - and Cyber Monday - weekend, we came away incredibly impressed with the results we saw. The graph below demonstrate the click through rate (CTR) and conversion rate of our promotion extension ads versus ads using other extension types.

As expected, the promotion extension had the greatest impact on CTR, with our other extension types delivering significantly lower results. But what’s more interesting is that using the promotion extension also had an impact on conversion rates, perhaps the result of sale awareness or an improved user journey.

Setting Up Promotion Extensions

If you can’t find the promotion extension in your existing AdWords interface, it’s likely you’re using the older version. These are only available in the new interface, so make sure you’ve switched over first.

  1. Select ‘ad extensions’ from the navigation menu and click the blue ‘+’ button to add a new extension

  2. Choose ‘promotion extension’ from the list of options displayed

  3. Decide which level you’d like to run the extensions for; account, campaign or ad group

  4. When creating your extension you’ll be asked which occasion you’d like to run the promotion for - e.g. Christmas, Black Friday, Valentine’s Day - our you can choose ‘none’ to run a promotion outside of the pre-defined dates

  5. Complete the form describing your promotion details

  6. If your sale is running for a limited time there is the option to select start and end dates

  7. Click ‘save’ at the bottom of the page and you’re done

Are They Working for You?

While the examples above are great, they won’t be the same for everyone. To review the performance of your promotion extensions, navigate to the extensions tab in the new interface, select promotion extension from the drop-down list and click apply.

This will show you the results of any promotion extensions you are running, along with the total results of all extensions – very handy for comparing extension performance and learning what is helping get your ad clicked, a feature not available in the previous version of AdWords.

Should You Try Them?

We think the results are pretty compelling to be honest. If you are advertising an offer or discount, promotion extensions are a no-brainer. With Christmas almost upon us and January sales just around the corner, it's definitely time to start thinking about getting your own promotion extensions up and running.