Ever since Google launched AdWords sitelinks back in 2009 they have been modifying and improving the format to provide a better user experience and deliver higher click-through rates to advertisers. Yesterday, Google officially launched their newest and arguably biggest change to the sitelinks format in what they are calling Enhanced Ad Sitelinks:
Under the new Enhanced Sitelink format, Google will display two lines of text under each sitelink – essentially providing multiple sub-ads under the main text ad. Google will dynamically fill the sub-ads by pulling ad copy text from elsewhere in the account to provide accurate and relevant messaging. Google uses the sitelink destination URL and ad copy destination URL as the matching link to qualify which version of ad copy text to show for the sitelink.
The Enhanced Ad Sitelinks not only provide the user more information in the ad, they also take up a great deal more real estate on the page, benefiting the advertiser as well as Google itself. In addition to this, it continues Google’s trend of designing ads that look more like organic results:
While this should have a positive effect on advertisers' click-through rates, it does raise some interesting questions. Because Google is automatically determining the text that will show under the sitelinks, we will never be 100% certain that it will be the ideal choice. If you happen to be testing multiple lines of copy with the same destination URL, which text will Google choose to show in the Enhanced Sitelinks? If the advertiser is already choosing the sitelinks themselves, why not let them choose the text that will now accompany the sitelinks? Also, to what extent is this simply cannibalizing "free" traffic that the advertiser would have received from the organic listings, particularly for searches on their own brand terms?
With all that said, the new sitelink format should ultimately be beneficial to the advertiser. Again, overall CTR should improve, but also CTR on the now more prominent sitelinks should improve as well, helping users navigate deeper into the site on their initial click. It should also be noted that it will clearly be beneficial to Google by driving more clicks and revenue for them.
If you have any thoughts or any changes in performance once you start to see the new sitelink format please feel free to share below.