Google loves coming out with innovative new ways of doing things and gives you tons of opportunities to sign up for these free programs and platforms. If you don’t, well, they’ve got ways of handling that too. Google My Business is one of those tools, and, at least from what I’m guessing, they weren’t getting enough people to to sign up. With the carrot having failed, Google has brought out the stick. (Seriously, though, who thinks of carrots as incentives? Try ice cream instead.)
The stick is that if you don’t sign up for a Google My Business account, you’re going to run into problems with your Locations ad extensions. Now, a few months ago, you may have heard that Google announced that you can sign up and link to your AdWords account, which then allows you to create account level location extensions based on the addresses from GMB. What was glossed over a bit was the part where they’re phasing out all campaign level and manual location extension creation abilities. (It’s buried in this Help article.)
We’ve begun to upgrade all accounts within AdWords to use account-level location extensions. The ability to create manually added and campaign-level (“not upgraded”) location extensions will soon be removed.
In other words, you can either use the new system, the new system or nothing. Enjoy!
You are still able to determine which ad groups and keywords display location extensions, which is done through the use of filters, and for right now, it appears that the old extensions will still show up. However, my guess is that it’s only a matter of time before Google phases those out as well.