We are living in a well-connected society with communication on the go and the ability to reach anyone in the world almost anywhere at any time. When asking to make plans with friends or colleagues, people are most likely asking the question through mobile messaging. It is well known more and more people are increasingly relying on their smartphones for communicating and searching online. With many surveys indicating a shift towards business-to-customer text messaging conversations. The activities users with text capabilities would most prefer to do via text with businesses are: check order status, schedule or change appointments, and make or confirm reservations.1 The Message extensions are a type of Ad extension like Callout, Sitelink and Call extensions which have been used for many years. However, Message extensions provide users an alternative option to communicate with the business. The Message extensions allow people to view the ad and click on a messaging icon, which allows them to directly message companies via their phone. This can help those customers who are phone-shy, or hate listening to options menus and want to avoid getting put on hold. Now it’s easy for users to contact businesses, tapping on the message icon will direct the user to their SMS messaging app where they can contact the business for a quote, booking or further information. ‘65% of consumers say they’d consider using messaging to connect with a business to get information about a product or service, or to schedule an in-person appointment’,2 showing a real interest from customers connecting with business through SMS. This is supported by ICMI who state 79% of companies believe customers want SMS/text support and want to start conversations with businesses through text.3
What Are Adwords Message Extensions?
As previously mentioned Message extension is a form of Ad extension which can be seen with the advertiser’s ad on the Google search page, when the search is being completed on a mobile phone. This makes the ad itself greater in size and more functional for the user to interact with. Here’s a great example from one of our clients.
Clicking on the message icon will direct the user to their SMS messaging app, and here advertisers can insert a pre-written text message to help the user contact the business. In terms of cost, the AdWords Cost Per Click fee is the same as if the user clicked on the ad’s headline or another ad extension.
What to include in your message:
The message extension provides with options to fill such as ‘Business name’, ‘Text phone number’, ‘Extension Text’ and the ‘Message text’.
- Business name: a name the user will be familiar with i.e. your business name.
- Text number: where the user will be sending texts too. Landline numbers will not be a good option here.
- Extension text: The is displayed on the search engine page (SERP), a short message like “Message Us”, “Text Us For A Quote”, “Get A Quote” would be appropriate.
- Message text: When the user clicks through the Ad to the messaging app, Google will populate your message information to help build conversations from prospective clients with your business. Here you can add messages that link directly with the businesses services, for example “Text me back for a quote”, “I would like to book an appointment” or “I am interested in your services, please call me back”.
- Scheduling extensions: You can schedule the message extensions to not be shown outside businesses hours, so the business has a higher chance to respond to texts and the customer is not waiting for a reply as long. However, it can be a good alternative for out-of-hours communication too.
Benefits of the Message extensions:
- Increased chance of click-through rates when shown.
- AdWords Message Extensions can improve your ad’s relevancy and Quality Score, which can help boost ad rank position.
- Help customers who do not like talking to customer representatives and listening to menus to get in touch the way they prefer.
- Allows the business to respond more efficiently to consumers with a tailored message.
- Helps you to develop your business by giving people another option to reach the business and increase engagement.
- It does not cost more to use the message extensions, and they can be shared throughout the business ad groups or campaigns.
- This is particularly great for businesses who want to decrease phone calls directed to them, and respond by text. Key Principles is working with a number of clients on message extensions, particularly from Electricians, Groundworks and Therapeutic fields; where users are interested in booking an appointment.
However some additional considerations:
- Google is currently unable to track texts from message extensions as conversions in AdWords, but advertisers can find out how many users see and click on the message extensions, similarly to other AdWords extension.
- At Key Principles, we recommend that businesses create their tracking system and measure the success of the extensions, for example using a different mobile number which is solely used for the Adwords message extension.
- The message extensions can only be shown on mobile devices and may not be shown all the time. It is often more difficult to gain conversions from mobile ads; it might be better to increase mobile bids to boost Quality Score which can help the message extension be shown more regularly.
- By tapping on the message extensions, this will reduce traffic to the website.
- If the business does not currently use SMS as a tool to work with customers, this will need to be added.
- The messages from users may not all be relevant, but this is the case for some “contact us” pages too. The text messaging tool is not generally advisable if a user has a complex query too.
- SMS texts may not be suitable for all businesses.
When it comes to looking at the options for how potential customers can contact you, it makes sense to trial all that is available. Message extensions could boost you leads and sales so trial it, monitor it and decide whether to continue based on the data rather than assumptions. If you’d like to trial Message extensions then let us know, contact us on 0115 880 0211 or use our contact form.
With over 25 years’ experience in marketing Jackie Key, Managing Director at Key Principles, which was set up in 2005, helps small, medium and large businesses grow through marketing and online marketing.