Earlier this month, Google rolled out their new “Callouts” extension for AdWords, which they claim will change the way advertisers can show off their products with text ads.

So what value do callouts bring to the existing platform?

Sitelinks, sans links

On first glance, callouts closely resemble both ad copy (where you’d usually advertise benefits) and sitelinks (which direct users to specific landing pages). But a closer look indicates callouts are, in fact, a feature all their own.

What makes them different?

  • No hyperlinks included
  • Intended exclusively for brief promotions
  • Presented like a description line, but in multiple parts

Why should I use them? 

Callouts are designed primarily to let you showcase benefits, promotions, and anything else that will help set your business apart from your competitors.

Google AdWords Callout

Because they’re managed as a separate extension, callouts give you some flexibility that was missing with the previous ad structure. Now, you can:

  • Improve ad click through rate (CTR).Callouts let you highlight specific offerings from your business online, and that nearly always means more clicks from potential customers. Even better, you can learn which benefits interest customers most, letting you increase average CTR even more over time.
  • Change your ad copy without losing data.Previously, if you wanted to create a new ad to try out some new copy, you’d have to start from scratch. Callouts let you sub new variations in and out without giving up any of your existing ad data.
  • Stand out. Like most new AdWords features, the sooner you take advantage of this one, the better you’ll look relative to your competitors. Callouts let you display unique text in a new format, right along your existing extensions like ratings and reviews.

What do I need to know?

Callout extensions come with the following requirements:

  • 25 characters or fewer (12 for double-width languages)
  • No repetition between callout text and ad text, callout text and other callouts within the same ad group, or callout and sitelink text
  • Minimum of 2 callouts required for them to show
  • Maximum of 4 callouts allowed (like sitelinks)

How do I use them?

Callouts can be set up at the account, campaign, or ad group level. To create one, start at the Ad extensions tab, select Callouts, and fill out the form that appears, which includes the text of your callout, a device preference (mobile or not), and ad scheduling. At the campaign level, you select the ad group you want to add a callout for, and either create a new one or, later, choose any callout that you’ve created for the account.

  • You can create a callout for each level of the account, and Google will select the most specific one when displaying your ad.
  • Because it’s an exclusively text-based feature, callouts are currently only available on the Search or Search with Display networks.

According to Google, the rollout began September 3rd, and should be available platform-wide by the end of the month. You can check out Google’s page on callouts for more information on the feature, including detailed setup instructions.