Nearly two-thirds of smartphone owners use messaging more than five times a day to communicate with others, says a Google Consumer Survey. And making the most of it, Google is rolling out text messaging service for AdWords ads.
Google has been testing click-to-text in AdWords search ads for several months now. While call extensions have been around for years, the new message extensions give users another option to connect with businesses.
"In the coming weeks, we're introducing click-to-message ads to bring the efficiency and effectiveness of messaging to search ads. By setting up a message extension, you'll give users an easy way to text you to start a conversation and continue it whenever is most convenient for them," Google said in a blog post on Monday.
The feature lets developers add a text button to ads with pre-populated messages. The icon shows up next to the main ad in Google Search. When users click on a message extension or icon, their phone's SMS app will launch automatically.
Message extensions can also be scheduled for certain time or dates. There is also a provision to use auto-responders for developers. Businesses will require having their phone numbers to receive and send text messages. The Google blog post also mentioned the existing AdWords feature users, which include TravelPASS group, AnyVan, Auto & General and Global Industrial. "Click-to-message ads have proven to be a great way to help prequalified customers start the hotel reservation process in a way that is convenient and easy for them. 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," said Gabe Thayn, director of search marketing, TravelPASS Group in the blog post.
Gavin Parker, paid search manager, Auto & General, said: "The results from click-to-message have been phenomenal and we've seen an 80% higher conversion rate when compared to other similar channels. We can now tap into an important consumer base that prefers to use SMS to learn more about our insurance products."
Message extensions will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks. Google has also released a best practices guide for advertisers to get started with message extensions.