As the trend towards mobile search continues to grow, Google seems to be adding more and more extensions catering to those searching and advertising on mobile.

Google’s Newest AdWords Extension

As the trend towards mobile search continues to grow, Google seems to be adding ever more extensions to cater to those choosing mobile for their searching and advertising needs. Moving past call extensions, where users can call businesses directly from the search results – consumers are now able to ‘click to text’ with select businesses. It’s no secret that the majority of us will use our smartphones on a daily basis to search, plan and communicate with others. Google is looking to tap into this behaviour, introducing efficient communication features to their search ads. By using a message extension, businesses are able to give users a direct and easy way to communicate with the convenience of a text conversation.

This new AdWords extension will appear alongside ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) as a text message icon.

Clicking on this icon will allow the users to send a text directly to the Advertiser through the AdWords copy, and advertisers will be charged the same CPC fee that is charged for any other link click. The user’s default messaging app will open, auto filled with the advertiser’s information and a pre-written message tailored to the product or service of interest.

Set a schedule for the message extensions. Ensuring the extensions are only available for users to message when your business is able to respond. For example, turning it off on weekends or after working hours.

What’s more, you can even set a schedule for the message extensions – ensuring they are only available for users to message at times when your business is able to respond. Turning it off on weekends or after working hours ensures that you’ll always be on hand to respond quickly and not keep your users waiting.

The extensions tab, allows you to create a message extension at ad group or campaign levels. You will then need to provide:

  1. The name of the business you are advertising for.
  2. The text phone number you wish to have the text sent to (it must be able to receive SMS messages).
  3. The Extension text, which is the text that will appear alongside your ad. Something similar to “Text us” should be used here, making it clear to users that clicking the icon will result in sending a direct text message.
  4. Lastly – the message text. This is the message that will appear in the user’s messaging app text field when they’ve clicked your message extension. Here you have 100 characters to write a specific message for the customer to begin a conversation with your business. This message can be varied depending on your offer and could be something as specific as “I’d like to book an appointment for…” or as general as “I want to know more about…” or “Call me”.

So what are the benefits? Well, like other ad extensions, we suspect AdWords Message Extensions could significantly improve click-through rates. Because it makes it much easier for the prospective customer to respond with minimal effort – no hastily typed message text or worrying about what to write – ease of response normally means more response. In fact,WordStream has provided us with a few insights into best practice when using the message extensions and click to message ads.

But, as with all extensions, there are also some possible limitations. As the message extensions will only show on mobile devices and only show some of the time, it can be difficult to have success on mobile SERP. If your message extensions aren’t showing up, you may want to revisit your mobile search strategy and ensure your message extensions make sense for all searches. It could be necessary to create different message extensions if offering different products or services, or for different times of day (if your product is timing dependent) or even have multiple response locations for the text message. And, as we noted, you’ll need to ensure you set a schedule for the message extensions – ensuring the extensions are only available for users to message when your business is able to respond.

So far however, there is really only one initial limitation to the extension that’s worth noting. Although advertisers have the ability to see how many people see and click their message extensions, as with the other AdWord extensions – Google is unable to track conversions through this extension.  Not knowing conversion rates means not knowing how successful your campaigning ultimately is.