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Measuring Free Clicks in AdWords

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New features, reports, and beta tests have been rapidly rolling out in search over the past 6 to 12 months. Sometimes these new features were ahead of their measurement capabilities.

This was certainly the case with various product extension ads by Google. These extensions give advertisers a way to take up additional real estate on the page, and provide consumers with more direct access to content they want.

Content examples include videos, directions, and products.

Product Extensions Sheet Sets

While these listings logically make sense, some of the reporting -- and insights -- were missing.

Then, late last month, Google announced the ability to report on free clicks. This gave advertisers some additional access into how frequently these "free click" ads appeared, and the subsequent click-through rate (CTR).

View Free Clicks in AdWords interface

This data can be found in the dimensions tab. Select View Free clicks in your AdWords interface. You can see the data by campaign and ad group to add some additional granularity.

While looking at how these ads performed, I found some interesting items that should help advertisers better evaluate these ads for themselves.

  • Get directions extensions have a three times higher CTR on mobile specific campaigns vs. desktop.

  • Branded keywords with Get Directions extensions had a CTR that was 800 percent higher than generic keywords on mobile devices.

Mobile Directions

  • Product Plus Box Extensions, and get directions extensions had a similar CTR on desktop impressions, but directions had 350 percent more impressions.

  • Free Click extensions appeared on 3 percent of total impressions. Google determines algorithmically when free click extensions appear.
    • Free click extensions appeared on 19 percent of total impressions for mobile devices
  • Having these extensions available to consumers has lifted CTRs by as much as 40 percent, and conversion rates by 15 percent.

The additional insight into these free click extensions is a great step by Google, and provides advertisers with the insight and data they need to make marketing decisions.

Advertisers should to take advantage of these platforms to extend their share of voice on the page, improve the consumer experience, and determine for themselves the value to their overall search program.

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