Google is always tweaking and updating its search product, but the majority of the changes often go unnoticed.

At Performance Marketing Insights: Europe, Pierre Kiciak, JVWeb’s head of affiliation, gave a presentation crammed with data about Google Search and Bing’s latest innovations.

Kiciak covered everything from Gmail Sponsored Promotions to Enhanced Campaigns, but it is the application of extensions to Google’s paid search media that we will be highlighting in this feature.

Many of the extensions listed below are in beta, but you might be able to request access from your Google AdWords account manager. Incidentally, Kiciak did reveal that he expects to see a more general release in the coming months.

1. Form Extension

When implemented, this extension offers marketers the chance to add a qualification form to their ad. It is then possible to redirect a consumer to an adapted page on your website, based on URL parameters.

Unfortunately this extension is still part of Google AdWords’ beta programme, so it is only available to certain users. However, with it you can search a website like in Fotolia’s case .

The extension has other uses, too. For example if you are an insurance company, the form could be used by a consumer to enter their postal or zip code to start the ball rolling on a new quote for their car.

In using a beta version of the form extension, JVWeb and its clients have benefited from some healthy campaign uplift. The more attractive ad resulted in a 7% increase in click-through rates (CTR), while the short conversion funnel led to a rise of 13% in conversions.

2. Review Extension

The importance of a testimonial can never be underestimated. Watch an advertisement break on the television and there will always be at least one ad which is brimming with Joe consumers extolling the virtues of said product.

By adding real-word reviews to a PPC ad using this extension, a consumer is more likely to click on your placement. There are some rules you will need to abide by if using the extension, though.

Firstly the review must come from an external source, with some delay for validation purposes. It should also be recent, anything older than 12 months will be rejected. Finally, it must be visible on an external site.

What about the results? Well, JVWeb found these better-looking ads raising the CTR by 66% and the shortened conversion funnel led to a 5% growth in conversion rates on the sites being tested.

Google has restricted access to the review extension for some advertisers. Brands falling into the gambling and adult industry verticals, for instance, will not be able to make use of this AdWords utility.

3. Call-out extension

Additional elements can be brought into your standard AdWords PPC hoarding with the help of call-out extensions. Again, this is only limited to users with access to Google’s beta programme.

With call-out extensions, Google has made it possible for brands to add unique selling propositions (USPs) to media. For example if an e-commerce retailer is pushing a streaming product, you could see the item’s headline features.

Visitors benefit from not only being targeted with a product they previously showed an interest in, but they are also able to glance quickly over some of the key specifications that could persuade them to convert.

To get the most of this extension, it is advised that you keep USPs as short as possible, ensure they are family safe or they will not be approved and provide specific information like numerical dimensions and prices among others.

4. Consumer ratings annotations

Another extension that is in beta, consumer ratings annotations are currently being trialled in three English-speaking markets at present: the US, UK and Canada. 

This extension lets you show the average ratings given by your clients after receiving responses from at least 1000 customers and are based on three separate, pre-defined criteria.

AdWords runs polls through Google Consumer Surveys to discover the customer experience and satisfaction relating to a business when a customer has used or purchased one if its products.

While results are displayed in PPC media, the advertiser has little say in the actual content of this extension as it is all fed in automatically. If the ratings are not up to scratch, an advertiser can choose to opt out.

Some advertisers may question the usefulness of this AdWords extension if their business is not being praised. Although JVWeb’s trials of the feature did result in a 10% CTR increase on average.