Today’s post is by Tyler Jordan, account manager and rabid San Francisco sports fan. 

Google’s Communication Extensions to capture email signups aren’t really new, but one thing that is relatively different from how the feature showed in early iterations is that it will now show up alongside sitelinks as opposed to being a one-or-the-other relationship.

This basically means that the risk of having your sitelinks removed in order to capture a small amount of email subscriptions is no longer a major concern, and in fact by using communication extensions you can increase your real estate in the top three positions.

Here’s an example from the smart folks at Marketo:

communication extension


Looks good, takes up more space, etc. But whether the new extension provides an inherent advantage or not is up for debate.

You can expect to see a very low email capture rate (demonstrated by CTR in click type segmentation in the UI). I’ve seen between 0.01%-0.25% for a couple of my e-comm clients. Those clicks will also be at inflated CPCs, so be aware that you can expect to pay a 50-150% increase in CPC (I’ve seen as much as a 335% increase in CPCs).

Here’s the 30-day data for the two accounts:

email extension data

email extension data

One interesting part of this equation is that despite taking up more real estate, I didn’t see what I thought would be a logical lift in CTR.  The fact is that for both clients, we saw a significant decrease in my CTRs in the most recent 30 days compared to the last 30 days running without the email subscriptions.

One possible explanation is that both of these clients have a decent amount of seasonality built in, and auctions are getting a bit more competitive leading into the holiday season. The usual calendar of PR efforts and product launches may have caused numbers to fluctuate from month to month.

Ultimately, though, you have to weigh the value of email subscriptions against the possibility of losing some potential traffic. Of course, every account reacts differently, so we recommend testing (as always) and seeing what happens. But I’d also recommend you temper expectations going in based on the above results.

What’s your experience with the communication extensions? Leave a comment!

tyler jordan ppca


Tyler Jordan, Account Manager

1 Comment

  1. Terry Whalen September 26th, 2012

    I might expect more interesting results with non-e-commerce clients, and particularly with advertisers where a prime goal is a simple sign-up.

    I wonder if users may have viewed the communication extensions as being incongruous with the primary ad text for these e-commerce advertisers?

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