As a consumer, you don’t always have time to fill out a website’s contact form. You don’t always have time to send a detailed email asking for specific information. And you surely don’t have time to wait on hold for a customer service rep to take your call.
Wouldn’t sending a text message be easier?
A new Google AdWords extension makes it possible for consumers to text brands directly through mobile advertisements. Google began testing its new click-to-text message extension this summer, and it will roll out of beta and into full function in coming weeks.
This click-to-text message extension offers immediate value and benefits to advertisers that choose to take advantage of it. Here’s a glimpse at what you need to know as the click-to-text extension comes online, as well as ideas for maximizing this extension’s impact on your engagement and conversions.
Text Contact: A Better Fit for Busy Consumers
The way consumers connect with brands is constantly evolving. Today, with a smartphone in the pocket of nearly two-thirds of American consumers (97 percent of who text at least once daily), connecting via text message is a natural next step in that evolution.
AdWords is now helping your brand take that next step. As Google points out in its click-to-text message extension announcement, 65 percent of consumers “consider using messaging to connect with a business to get more information about a product or service, or to schedule an in-person appointment.”
You can now better connect with these mobile-minded consumers in a way that’s simpler for them — and in a way that’s more effective and profitable for your business.
How Does It Work?
When you use the click-to-text extension, your mobile ad will now appear with a phone number and text message prompt below the card. When a user clicks on the text message prompt, his or her SMS application will automatically launch.
Phone numbers and similar prompts previously appeared as icons to the right of your company’s card. The new layout allows for more information to appear alongside the icon, and it should also reduce inadvertent clicking.
Nothing ruins the mobile browsing experience faster than accidentally clicking a link or icon that takes you away from your browser and to a new application unexpectedly. Placement of the new text message prompt below the card should make it easier to capture intentional clicks. That said, the position of the text prompt remains in an area where mobile users typically being to scroll, so the possibility of inadvertent clicking isn’t fully eradicated.
Things to Know: Policies and Requirements
So, you’re ready to get started with the click-to-text message extension. Running your first advertisement should be easy. All you need is:
- Business Name: Limited to 25 characters.
- Text Phone Number: This must be a non-premium number that’s regularly monitored and that is local or domestic to your target country.
- Extension Text: Customize the call to action that appears alongside the click-to-text icon below your business card.
- Message Text: Create a prepopulated message that appears automatically when the SMS application launches. Users can then edit this prepopulated message, but it helps streamline the process for users who want to move quickly.
Of course, Google wants to create the best possible user experience, so new policies are in place to regulate click-to-text message extension usage. Before getting started with this new extension, familiarize yourself with these policies, which address response times, the use of personal information, support access and more.
How Will Google Charge Advertisers?
You can create click-to-text message extension ads at both the campaign and group levels. You can also schedule them to run during specific times of day, which allows you to mine existing mobile data and choose a strategic cadence that will boost engagement and conversions. Google will charge clicks at the same rates as any other extension or headline.
Get reports by navigating to your extensions tab or by accessing reporting in your “click type” segmentation area. Unfortunately, AdWords is unable to measure your engagement results, so you’ll need to establish an additional tracking system that captures engagement information via the phone or messaging platform that you’re using.
How Effective Is It?
You’re probably wondering one thing: Will this work for my business? The answer to that question will be different brand to brand, but Google has primed the pump by sharing success stories from beta testing.
These success stories outline ways in which brands used the click-to-text extension to share information, allow prequalified customers to make appointments and reservations, and to generally offer a more convenient path for consumers to connect with the products and services they want and need.
One brand, Auto & General, reported an 80 percent higher conversion rate of click-to-text message ads versus similar channels. Auto & General uses click-to-text ads as a way to share more about insurance products with busy consumers who are looking for a fast and easy way to connect.
In short, Google is billing this new development as one that will increase the number of leads your brand can capture through AdWords, while also enhancing your rates of engagement and conversion.
Getting the Best Results
Digital advertisers are no doubt scrambling to implement this new functionality. But before you get started, consider these ideas for making the most of the click-to-text message extension:
- Target Closely: Create different messages for different consumers interested in different products. There’s something personal about interacting via text message, so make sure your prospective customers get the sense that you can deliver exactly what they’re looking for. Stay away from generic, catch-all ads as you get started with the click-to-text message extension.
- Showing Up: If you find that your click-to-text message ads aren’t appearing, it could be an issue with one of two things. First, you may need to increase your mobile bid. Second, you may need to raise your Quality Score. Check these two issues before contacting Google for help.
- Around-the-Clock Response: You can schedule click-to-text message ads for only times when you have coverage. But, if you want around-the-clock ads running, you can also set up an autoresponder that sets expectations by letting your prospective customers know exactly when they’ll hear back from you.