What to Know About Google’s New Text Message Extensions
Since mid-October, Google has been rolling out the latest in it’s mobile-first strategy with the implementation of new text message-based ad extensions. This new feature allows SMS extensions to be offered to audiences and can enhance messaging strategies in new and exciting ways. Specifically, there is very real potential, along with early signs, that click-to-message may end up rivaling or surpassing existing click-to-call options in mobile search ads. Intrigued yet?
What Is a Text Message Ad Extension?
Click-to-message is very similar to existing click-to-call extensions. If enabled, your AdWord advertisement will feature a button that, when clicked, will open the user’s SMS extension of choice and load your contact information along with a predetermined message. If the rollout has reached your AdWords account, then a text extension can be set up from the ad extensions tab. You can choose to set up extensions either at the ad group or campaign level and the resulting prompts make it easy to get started. You just need to include your business’s name and number, the call to action that appears next to the extension button, and the message text that will appear when the extension is clicked. As far as performance is concerned, initial data currently gives them a relatively high CTR of about 7%, which is better than the roughly 5% click-through rate from regular ad calls-to-action and only slightly lower than the ~7.5% rate from call extensions. Most of this data is coming from beta testing since the feature’s live rollout is still new, so time will tell if text extensions stay a close rival or end up surpassing call extensions.
Advantages for Local Businesses
The main advantage text extensions offer for local businesses is the ability to directly shape the call-to-action. By being able to preset the text message, you give a specific framework for the customer contact and immediately establish their interest. This lets you bring potential customers right up to the threshold of conversion and place them a single click away from getting quotes, booking appointments, inquiring about rates or services, and so on.
Best Practices for Mobile Ad Extensions
Even with these new ad extensions, mobile search ads are still tricky business and engaging in best messaging practices is the most reliable way to ensure optimal results and a strong customer experience. Keep the following in mind when designing your text extensions in order to get the best outcomes: Tailor your extensions to different customer bases and services. If you target markets across wide geographic regions, you will also need to take proximity into account. A text extension for scheduling appointments is great, but could cause problems if the text is going from a potential customer in Boston to your employees in D.C or New York Be sure to schedule your extensions properly. Although you can automate responses, it is always better to have a live employee on the other end when someone texts. Schedule your ads so they only show up when your employees are awake and on the job AdWords can track click-through rates for text extensions, but Google is currently unable to count these as conversions for the purpose of AdWords metrics. You may need to develop your own tracking system when trying to monitor the progress of text extensions in your campaigns
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