June 16, 2015: Shortly after its launch, my colleague Mike Pickowicz wrote a great post calling Google’s callout extension a “no-brainer” for most advertisers. His post did an excellent job explaining some of the features and benefits that the callout extension has to offer.
It’s pretty common for clients to believe that the callout extension, with its natural scheduling features and short text limits, is much better suited for consumer or B2C sales. While that argument has merit (and by no means are callouts a magic bullet for better advertisements or CTR), there are several ways B2B advertisers can leverage them to change or enhance their existing ad messages beyond just taking up more real estate.
Leveraging The Callout Extension Scheduling Feature
One of the most powerful uses of the callout extension is to allow for the scheduling and expiration of certain messages. This is very powerful if you have a sale or limited-time offer, as many B2B e-commerce vendors often will. That said, even traditional lead generation campaigns can find other ways to leverage this feature.
Trade Shows Messaging
It’s a common practice to bid for specific keywords around major industry trade shows that advertisers are attending, however, this tends to create lackluster results. One reason is because it is usually very difficult to create interest due to low search volume and more generalized searches that lack specific intent.
By using callouts to create interest and recognition to upcoming trade shows or engagements, you are effectively advertising it across all of your keywords and campaigns, and have potentially informed a much greater percentage of potential seekers.
Example Callout: Find Us At EXAMPLE CONFERENCE Booth 24
Brand Communication Statements
With relatively low barriers to entry in the ad space, you could find that your most valuable keywords are highly competitive and your ad messaging can often feel lost or bland in the relative sameness of the ad space. Here, it’s important to differentiate yourself by relying on pedigree statements that can really explain or pronounce the experience of distinction of your brand.
Example Callout: Premier DBMS of the Fortune 1000
B2B E-commerce Promotions
Obviously, the callout extension scheduling feature has great benefit for B2B e-commerce vendors as well.
You can utilize coupon codes that give search engine users a specific discount and tie the code’s use directly into your CRM for more transparency into the lifetime value and customer behavior. You can also segment these codes into different seasonal campaigns or based on product inventory to create or enhance interest for specific products.
Example Callout: New Customers Use Code NEW for 10% Discount
Key Tips for B2B Callouts
- Don’t Use Title Case – Data suggests that using normal sentence case will lead to more engagement than using title case. This goes against general best practices of using title case in ad copy. Remember that callouts are generally used to augment a message or brand rather than present its own message.
- Limited Control of Which Callouts Show – Callouts rotate based on an advertiser creating and assigning specific text strings on an account wide level. You can not specify the order or specifically which advertisements they will be shown with, though they generally will only appear if your ad falls within one of the top 3 positions.
- Limited Reporting of Metrics & Results – There is no specific reporting breakdown where you can see the results of specific callouts. This makes it difficult to really gauge the effectiveness of specific messages and makes it extremely difficult to have control of any ad testing you perform.
- Smaller Character Limits Tend to Work Best – The callout extension can allow for up to 25 characters per instance of text. However, smaller bits of text (usually around 12 – 15 characters) tend to perform the best. Shorter “bullet point” type highlights tend to perform best – space is limited and callouts are best served to enhance a message rather than to tell one all by itself.
- Don’t Make Dependent Strings – Don’t try to merge 2 strings together to make a longer sentence. Google rotates them in different orders and your message could end up backwards or garbled.
- Don’t Fall in Love with CTR – It’s hard to gauge which callouts are impacting CTR due to rotation, limited reporting, and some of the other caveats laid out here.
While some may feel that Google’s callout extension is only useful for advertisers in the B2C space, B2B advertisers can still benefit from the ability to grab more real estate and use short, targeted messages to really differentiate from others in the same ad space.