In late 2016, Google announced the launch of Message Extensions. When implemented correctly, Message Extensions can be a great way to drive engagement with your paid search ads.
What are Message Extensions?
Message extensions are one of the many ad extensions available to appear alongside an advertiser’s ad on the search engine results page (SERP), generally making them larger and more feature-rich which can lead to increased click-through rates (CTR).
Once added to a campaign, these Message Extensions will display as a button below the ad copy prompting a user to click to send a text message for more information. There is no additional cost to add Message Extensions. Advertisers pay the same cost per click (CPC) for a click-to-message as they would pay for a click-to-call or a click to visit the website from anywhere else on the ad.
In our mobile-first world, this feature makes it easier than ever for users to connect with advertisers.
How to Implement Message Extensions in Google Ads
Message Extensions are very easy to set up:
- Log in to your Google Ads account.
- Navigate to the campaign you’d like to add Message Extensions to.
- Click the “Ads & extensions” tab in the secondary left navigation. Then click on the “Extensions” section in the middle/right side of the screen in the top navigation, which is sandwiched between “Ads” and “Automated Extensions.”
- Click the round, blue “+” button, and from the drop-down menu, select “Message extension.”
- Enter all the required information:
- Message Delivery: Choose if you want to receive users’ messages by phone or email. If you select phone, be sure the phone number you enter is capable of sending and receiving text messages. If you select email, Google will generate a Google forwarding number that will route users’ text messages to your email address. Then enter the designated phone number or email address where you wish to receive text messages.
- Business name: Enter your brand name
- Extension text: Include a call to action that encourages users to send a text message.
- Default customer message: Create an editable, pre-populated message that will appear in the users messaging app when they click the prompt to text you.
- Your auto-reply message (Optional): Enter an auto-reply message that will be automatically sent to users who send a text via the message extension so they get an immediate response. You may leave this field blank if you don’t want to use an auto-reply message
- Advanced Options
- Extension scheduling: You can schedule a start and end date for the extension to appear, if you so desire.
- Days and hours: Select the days and times when your ad extensions will be eligible to show.
- Before you click “Save,” make sure you’re following the best practices for Message Extensions outlined below.
Message Extension Best Practices
Follow these best practices for effectively using Message Extensions:
- Customize Message Extensions: Just like with ads, your message extensions should be unique to each campaign to provide a customized user experience.
- Be Responsive: To avoid a poor user experience, think carefully about your Message Extension schedule and only allow this extension to run when a representative from your business will be available to respond to messages.
- Collect Data: Turn on message reporting to see how this extension is performing. Make sure to also set up a message conversion tracking to record chats as conversions too.
- Use Appropriate Tone: Avoid slang, jargon and short code. Even though this is a text message, you should still communicate professionally and use your brand voice and messaging.
- Don’t Share Sensitive Information: Texting is not a secure place to share sensitive information, such a healthcare information, passwords or credit card information. Pick up the phone and call to discuss sensitive matters like this.
Now that you know how, head over to your Google Ads account to get started with Message Extensions and see how they can boost engagement with your users.