First look at AdWords Ad Sitelinks

We have been granted access to the Ad Sitelinks beta in Google AdWords for one of our clients. This new feature, which was announced on the Inside AdWords blog two days ago, provides advertisers in the top spot with the ability to show additional keyword links in their ads as shown in the example below.


Advertisers specify the keywords and landing pages at the Campaign Settings level, and they are shown by the system only for top position ads and when the system determines that the keywords are relevant to the user search. Note that this means that they are not ad group- or keyword-specific.

Currently there is no facility for tracking these links independently from the “main ad” within the AdWords interface, although this may change if/when the feature is rolled out more broadly. It is possible to specify tracking URLs, so you should be able to measure them in Google Analytics, WebTrends, Omniture, and many other web analytics packages. Since the ads are defined at the campaign level, it is much more difficult to see how they are used for particular keywords unless you are using Google Analytics, which benefits from proprietary information sharing that is generally not supported in other web analytics applications.

CTR and CPC Impact
According to AdWords support, “Clicks on Sitelinks will impact CTR just as a regular ad click would. Also, the client will be charged the CPC that they would have been charged for an ad click on that search query.” We thus predict that top advertisers will benefit from an even higher CTR than the “natural” one for that ad. This CTR boost could result in a self-reinforcing placement at top position unless they mitigate this benefit in their ad ranking algorithm. This does concern us a bit since it may make it harder for the top ad to be displaced by other advertisers that don’t use the Ad Sitelinks feature, and it could cause others to increase bids which would drive up the cost of advertising for everyone.

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2 Responses to “First look at AdWords Ad Sitelinks”

  1. Beating Adwords Says:

    Thanks for this. I hadn’t even heard of sitelinks before, but now realise that I had probably seen them. This could be very useful, particularly if you are bidding on fairly generic terms, you can funnel those into specific pages on your website.

    I presume you can set up tracking per link though, and not just for the whole ad?

  2. Josh Says:

    @Beating AdWords — You can tag each of the sitelink URLs however you like, but they are the same for all ads. Thus you won’t know what they searched on, just that they clicked on the sitelink.