Google Quietly Rolls Out New Offer Extensions in AdWords

Google Quietly Rolls Out New Offer Extensions in AdWords

Feb 22, 2013 at 2:47pm ET by

Google is now rolling out Offer Extensions, their latest ad extension that lets AdWords advertisers post deal offers underneath a normal Google Search ad. If your AdWords account has been upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns, then you’ll see the new Offer Extension in your account right now, in the “extensions” tab. If not, you’ll have to wait until your account gets upgraded, which is supposed to happen by the end of the month. Previously, they were only available to a select few number of beta customers.

Here’s what an Offer Extension looks like:

example-google-adwords-offer-extension

Users who click on the View Offer link are taken to a Google-hosted landing page. From there, the discount can be printed out, or saved for later in a user’s Google Offers account, for use in-store.

How Does Offer Extensions Compare to Past Google Deal Endeavors?

You might recall that Google has had past attempts at entering into the coveted deal space that sites like Groupon and Living Social dominate.

Google’s first attempt was the simplest – buy out someone else! Back in 2010, Google was negotiating a buy for Groupon, but their 6 billion dollar offer was rejected, and later Groupon filed for IPO.

This didn’t discourage Google – instead, the search giant started its own deal offering called “Google Offers.” Google Offers was basically a complete copycat of Groupon, but it was never able to overthrow the existing King of Deals, and has been a bit of a flop as far as Google product endeavors are concerned.

Google’s next big move was the “Save to Wallet” feature that worked within Google Wallet. The “Save to Wallet” function let Google Wallet users clip and save coupons they saw online, which could then be used later for online or in-store purchases. When Google Wallet users entered a store or restaurant where the deal could be used, they would get a notification reminding them about the stored coupon. The “Save to Wallet” feature was a smart idea, but it didn’t get much traction since there isn’t a huge contingency of people using Google Wallet (at least, not yet).

The new Offer Extensions feature is different than Google’s past deal experiments because rather than introduce a new product, Google is simply adding a feature to the already widely used AdWords advertising platform.

Why Do Offer Extensions Matter?

While you may feel conditioned to ignore Offer Extensions as just another useless add-on, Offer Extensions has some serious power up its sleeve. Why?

1. It Could Kill Groupon

Offer Extensions could be the nail in the coffin for Groupon, who has been struggling to stay afloat as their stock has plummeted. Offer Extensions are cheap (a click on an offer costs the same as a normal ad click), easy to set up, and allow advertisers to maintain control over their offers. Meanwhile, deal sites like Groupon and Living Social take as much as half of the deal profits (off of already deeply discounted merchandise), require jumping through hoops with representatives, and don’t allow for much modification once a deal is posted, and overall are a terrible deal for advertisers. It seems like an obvious choice for advertisers.

2. Ads With Offer Extensions Get More Clickable Ad Space

Ads that feature Offer Extensions get more valuable SERP real estate, and feature bright buttons that are just begging to be clicked. In a world where even a slight change in wording and an added exclamation mark can drastically improve click-through-rates, having coupon offers attached to ads could mean skyrocketing CTRs and increased Quality Scores.

3. Conversion Tracking For Offline Actions

Marketers regularly struggle with measuring the offline results of their online efforts. An in-store purchase could be a result of someone seeing your online ad and remembering your business, but as an advertiser, you’d never be able to make the connection. Offer Extensions alleviates some of the problem by tracking how many users print and redeem your deal, bridging the gap between online ads and in-store results.

Will Search Marketers Accept Google’s Offer Extensions?

Threatening to destroy the Groupon deal empire and opening up the deal market to the masses, Google’s Offer Extensions is not a feature to be ignored. What will innovative marketers do with this exciting new advertising extension? There is certainly room for creativity and experimentation here, so keep an eye out for these coupon/advertisement hybrids on a search engine results page near you!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

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