Google has announced Click-to-Message ad extensions, letting mobile users text advertisers directly rather than phone or visit a site.
As previously reported, the new extensions have been in beta testing since June. Now out of beta, Message Extensions will be rolled out globally in the next few weeks.
Once enabled, they will be shown only on AdWords ads displayed on mobile devices. Depending on ad position, however, they will not show all the time.
Advertisers pay the normal CPC price whether someone clicks on the ad itself or the new extension. Clicking on the Message extension automatically launches the phone’s SMS app. The message may also include a pre-populated message, if enabled by the advertiser.
Advertisers can see how many people clicked on each Message Extension (by segmenting reports by Click Type). However, conversion tracking currently requires advertisers set up their own tracking solutions. The answer to that may be as simple as setting up a unique number exclusively for this purpose, but third party solutions are likely to evolve.
LivePerson has already announced that its enterprise-level messaging platform, LiveEngage, will be able to manage and route click-to-message ad responses to a team of salespeople.
Why should you care?
If you have to ask the question, then it’s probable that Messaging Extensions is not for you.
For the right advertisers, however, with the right promotions, this is a no-brainer. That does not, of course, mean careful thought is not required before you add them to your ads. With that in mind, Google has published a page advocating best practices for getting started with this new ad extension.
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Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.