HomeBlog4 Important Changes to Google Ads Extensions: What You Need to Know

4 Important Changes to Google Ads Extensions: What You Need to Know

Author: Kristen McCormick
Last Updated: December 4, 2022 | Industry News & Insights, Paid Search Marketing

Just recently, Google announced some changes to ad extensions—all of which are pretty good, but which may be a little confusing to beginner advertisers—so we’re clearing it all up in this post.

tweets about the google ads extensions update

Enlarge image | View the Twitter thread.

The four updates are as follows:

  1. Ad extensions are now called assets.
  2. [Legacy] extensions easier to create and preview.
  3. Combinations report to show [legacy] extension performance.
  4. New assets report to show individual asset performance.

Read on to get the full scoop!

Google Ads extensions update: The short version

So here’s the quick run-down of Google’s September 15 announcement on extensions:

Starting now, extensions in Google Ads have been rebranded as “assets.” In the coming weeks, the ad creation flow will change such that you’ll create and preview [legacy] extensions within the ad creation window (as opposed to separately, as it is now). Also in the coming weeks, you’ll get to see individual asset performance in a new assets report. And in the coming months, you’ll get to see [legacy] extension performance in the combinations report.

There’s nothing you need to do—all of this will happen automatically and your existing [legacy] extensions and associations will remain intact.


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What’s changing with Google Ads assets & extensions?

Now let’s dive into each change.

Change #1: Ad extensions now called assets

When is it happening? Now.

This part of the update is pretty straightforward. Google Ads extensions are now called assets. Nothing is changing about any of the assets (fka extensions) themselves, just the name. So you can still create:

But while all [legacy] extensions are now assets, not all assets are [legacy] extensions. Assets also include headlines and descriptions (for responsive search ads) as well as images, logos, and videos (for Performance Max campaigns).

examples of assets in google ads

Change #2: You can more easily create assets (fka extensions)

When is it happening? In the coming weeks.

Now I know that sometimes Google will frame a less-than-ideal update as “an easier way” to do X, Y, or Z, but in this case, this does seem to be an actual improvement in the Google ad creation process.

Previously, [legacy] extensions were a separate step from ad creation in the campaign setup process. You had (1) Bidding (2) Campaign settings, (3) Keywords and ads, (4) Extensions, and then (5) Budget. Now, you’ll have (1) Bidding (2) Campaign settings, (3) Keywords (4) Ads and Assets, and then (5) Budget.

the new vs old ad and extension creation flow

What this means is, before, you had one window where you could enter and preview your headlines and descriptions (tips on responsive search ad copy here) and then a separate window where you could preview your [legacy] extensions—but not in combination with the ad you are associating it with.

Now, you can create and preview your [legacy] extensions alongside your headlines and descriptions.

new vs old google ads ad and extension creation windows

Two other changes:

  • Google will now recommend assets based on your campaign objective (such as recommending a lead form asset if your goal is to generate leads).
  • Any assets (fka extensions) you create within this new workflow will also be available for other campaigns and ad groups.

Change #3: [Legacy] extensions to be included in the combinations report

When is it happening? The new data in this report will be rolling out in the next few months.

So the combinations report is not a new report in Google Ads. What this report shows you is the number of impressions each asset combination in your responsive search ad is getting so you can see which ones are most common.

Since RSAs use machine learning to serve the best-performing combinations, this essentially gives you an idea of which ones are the best performers, but as Google reminds us in the report, it’s not advised to create static versions of top-performing combinations (using pinning), since RSAs use real-time signals to generate combinations.

What’s changing is this: Since extensions are now assets, you can now see which [legacy] extensions are getting the most impressions as well.

legacy extensions now included in the google ads combination report

Change #4: New ads & assets report

When is it happening? This report will roll out in the coming weeks.

Last but not least, there is a new report, called the asset report which allows you to look at individual asset performance within your responsive search ads (as opposed to combinations of assets). There’s both an ad-level asset report and a campaign-level asset report, and it will be available in an Ads & assets tab in your left-hand navigation panel:

the google ads ads and assets tab

You’ll then have two views:

In the assets view, you’ll be able to see headline and description performance:

google ads assets report - assets view

Note that each of these images are screenshots from a GIF in Google’s announcement.

This includes how many and which ads are using the asset, whether it’s pinned, as well as clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and performance rating metrics:

google ads assets report - metrics available in the assets view

In the associations view, you’ll see similar information for your [legacy] extensions, like sitelink, image, lead form, call, price, promotion, and more. You’ll also have visibility into clicks, impressions, and CTR:

google ads assets report - metrics available in the associations view

Do you need to do anything?

Nope! As Google states,

Any existing extensions will automatically transition to assets while maintaining their assocations at the account, campaign and ad group levels.

But if you do want to learn about which assets (fka extensions) are best for your ads check out our Google Ads [legacy extensions 🤦🏻‍♀️ ] cheat sheet!

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Meet The Author

Kristen McCormick

Kristen is the Senior Managing Editor at WordStream, where she helps businesses to make sense of their online marketing and advertising. She specializes in SEO and copywriting and finds life to be exponentially more delightful on a bicycle.

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