Back in October, Google announced it was rolling out a helpful SMS marketing tool for the AdWords platform that had previously been in beta testing—the click-to-message extension, available to anyone marketing on AdWords.
Click-to-message is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. As with its older sibling, the call extension, it allows any user viewing your mobile ad to simply tap the screen to initiate a conversation. The user’s mobile device automatically launches the default SMS app, with your number pre-filled.
When you set up click-to-message, you’ll also have the option to include a pre-written message that pops up in the texting app—users can either send the text message as you’ve prepared it, or they can edit as they see fit.
Click-to-message gives all those potential new customers out there yet another convenient way to talk to you. But more importantly, it hardwires the efficiency, simplicity, and widespread adoption of text messaging right into the AdWords platform. People who prefer texting, don’t like making calls, or simply don’t have time to call can now reach out to you in a way that’s comfortable and accommodates busy schedules.
Click-to-message adds a lot of value, so it’s not surprising that beta users had great things to say about it. A few snippets from Google’s blog announcement should illustrate:
It’s a seamless and streamlined process that helps increase brand trust. The conversion rate on message extensions is 41% higher compared to other ad extensions.
– Gabe Thayn, Director of Search Marketing, TravelPASS Group
The results from click-to-message have been phenomenal and we’ve seen a 80% higher conversion rate when compared to other similar channels.
– Gavin Parker, Paid Search Manager, Auto & General
Sometimes customers don’t have time to talk over a web chat or phone conversation, but still need more information. Messaging helps simplify these exchanges and the customer response has been very positive since they can post a question and follow up in their own time.
– Ashar Mairaj, VP of Marketing, Global Industrial
Click-to-message is super simple to set up. Once you’re logged in to your AdWords account, click on Campaigns and select the campaign or ad group you’d like to use message extensions with. Then select the Ad extensions tab and locate Message extensions in the View dropdown list.
From there it’s a simple matter of clicking that big red +Extension button. After doing so, you’ll need to scroll down on the next screen to find the +New message extension option.
Finally, fill out your Business name, Text phone number, Extension text (your CTA), and Message text (what gets pre-filled in the user’s SMS app).
If you expand the Advanced setting, you’ll also see options for tweaking the extension with your own custom scheduling. Click Save, and your extension is ready to go!
As with other AdWords extensions, this one doesn’t cost anything extra to use. However, you should still review Google’s best practices guide for message extensions, as it includes a number of helpful recommendations for getting started.
Right now, AdWords requires users to enter a 10-digit phone number that can receive texts—there’s no shortcode functionality enabled at this time. But we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for updates down the line.