Explained: Manual vs. Automatic Extensions

Modern advertising online has become very important for creating income for websites. Ad extensions add to this by providing more functionality and utility to your existing advertisements. In a sense, ad extensions make your ads more visible to the right consumers. You don’t want to be advertising to the wrong group of people. You also don’t want a bland advertisement with no call to action. Well, ad extensions have two categories, automatic and manual. How are manual extensions different from automatic extensions, you might ask. We will discuss their differences, as well as examples of ad extensions throughout this blog. 

how are manual extensions different from automatic extensions

Manual Extensions

Manual extensions are the ones you choose and set up yourself. Let’s get straight to the point, how are manual extensions different from automatic extensions? For starters, you do not actually have that much control over your extensions. Google does most of the work. Google AdWords lets you select between manual and automatic extensions. You go to the settings in the Google Ads extension manager. Let’s assume you selected manual extensions. Here, you get to choose what information the ad extension gets from your site. These are the following manual extensions you are available to choose from.

  • Call Extension
  • Location Extension
  • Review Extension
  • App Extension

So, how are manual extensions different from automatic extensions? Let’s start by summarizing the important manual extensions. The following extensions can be applied manually, but also automatically. It is recommended that you apply them manually for accuracy reasons.

Call Extension

The simplest one is the call extension. If you have ever seen an ad with a phone number, it is using a call extension. On a mobile device, this  appears as a simple call button. On desktop, it is your business’s phone number. 

Location Extension

The location extension is straightforward. It shows business location, business hours, any photos of a physical location, and so on. It is applicable to businesses with storefronts, and is meant to increase foot traffic. 

Review Extension

The review extension is simply linking any review about your business to the ad itself. This way, when users click on the ad, they are directed to reviews about your business. You can also enter a quote from a review attributed to your site. 

App Extensions

App extensions link your business to its app. If the visitors are on a website, this click will link them to download the app from their device’s app gallery. A business that has an app will always appeal better to mobile users. 

Manual extensions are not guaranteed to show all the time, according to Google. They also claim that the extension will show when it is expected to improve performance. If the ad position is high enough, then the extension will show. 

Manual ad extensions sound like a great thing. The best part about them is that Google lets you apply them with no additional cost. Clicks on your ad will be charged at the rate you were quoted, instead of with a premium.

These are the most common manual ad extensions. Applying them through the Google AdWords manager is simple to do, and it can help your ads reach a wider audience. Your ads will also look more informative, and have more calls to action. Of course, you do not need to do manual extensions. Next, we will discuss automatic extensions. 

ad extension examples

Automatic Extensions

We are discussing how are manual extensions different from automatic extensions, and thus far have learned about manual extensions. It is time to shift our attention to automatic extensions. Google AdSense works by giving advertisers a platform to display ads on, and also pays those who publish them. By default, these ads do not have manual extensions. As we discussed above, manual extensions can be added.

But, how about automatic extensions? Well, Google themselves say that some extensions are added automatically, if they can improve the advertisement’s reach. The call extension is applied automatically for instance, and so is the review extension. The review extension is the most common one applied automatically. This is because of the value it provides the user. But, do you want Google to be adding these extensions to your advertisements? Let’s discuss the pros and cons.

Cons of Automatic Extensions

The first con which comes to mind is the fact that Google decides what to put on your ad. This way, not everything will be in your control. While the algorithm is becoming more and more advanced, a mistake can still happen. Google also has control over sitelinks. A sitelink is what you see on the search engine results page (SERP). Many ads are found after each Google search, and they have a link with a short description. The title is roughly 25 characters and gives basic information about your site. If you let Google control this, Google will have full control of your website before users have even entered. This is another con of having Google do everything. You should be in control of what your ad displays, rather than Google. While we have discussed the negatives, it is important to remember that there are also positives. 

Pros of Automatic Extensions

The pros of automatic extensions include the fact that Google actually automate some aspects pretty well. This includes the descriptions of the aforementioned sitelinks. Google automates them with information from your website. Also, if you are running everything by yourself, then Google automatic extensions can save you time. Businesses look to cut costs by doing things such as SEO by themselves, so this will save time for a smaller business. At the end of the day, automatic extensions should be left automatic if you cannot handle the matters yourself. If you are able to handle them in the future, switch over to manual extensions instantly. If Google handled them well, and ad traffic to your site increases, then leaving them on would also work! 

automatic extensions

What is an Ad Extension?

We have discussed manual and automatic extensions thoroughly so far. Now, let’s discuss what is an ad extension itself. Google, the king of ad extensions, say that it is a feature that shows extra information with the ad. This type of information could be a phone number, address, or a review. So far we have discussed how are manual extensions different from automatic extensions. These are the most important aspects of ad extensions. Google Adsense is where all of this happens. In fact, those who allow Google Adsense to run ads on their sites can make money from it. It can be a source of passive income.

What is an ad extension, in terms of someone looking to run ads on their site? Well, in this case, it is just the additional info that appears on the ads you choose to allow. You cannot make changes if you are not the ad’s owner, but you can choose what is appropriate content for your site. So, if you were wondering what is an ad extension, there you have it. It is the additional content within an advertisement, that either Google or the ad’s owner add to it. 

what is an ad extension

Ad Extension Examples

As we have discussed how are manual extensions different than automatic extensions, we should go over some ad extension examples as well. The first example is from what you see on the search results page. When you search for something in Google, the first result may be an advertisement. The ad extension here is if a location is shown in the blue text. This can be a manual or automatic ad extension. Next, you may see a number to call without even clicking on the blue link. This is a call extension. Someone searching from mobile probably has a greater need for your service. Having an instant call extension can satisfy their need quicker. 

More ad extension examples include an app extension. It is important that your site is mobile compatible, especially if you do e-commerce! As mentioned before, if you are searching from mobile, chances are you are in a bigger rush. And if a website doesn’t have a good app, or is not optimized for mobile users, it loses out customers. So when a website includes an app extension, this also helps you out before even seeing the site. It lets you know that the site is optimized for mobile. When using examples, we can tell how are manual extensions different than automatic extensions. A manual extension would include an app extension. An automatic extension wouldn’t add it. The automatic extension would only add location or call extensions. 

manual extensions

The Importance of Extensions

We have discussed how are manual extensions different from automatic extensions. As we progressed, we saw that each one had its benefits, that the other one lacked. Manual extensions are still superior, but not for everyone. Some users are unsure how to apply these extensions themselves. Others may not have the time for it. Automatic extensions apply by themselves, but in some cases they can be inaccurate, and not very helpful. Overall, manual and automatic extensions both provide additional content for an advertisement. How you decide to apply them is entirely up to you. 

FAQs about Manual Extensions vs. Automatic Extensions: 

  • What is a manual extension on Google Ads?
  • What is an example of an ad extension?
  • How do I add extensions to Google Ads?
  • What is an ad extension?
  • What are automatic extensions?

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