In 2015, for the first time ever, the number of people searching on their mobile phones surpassed desktop search. In response, Google has taken a mobile-first approach to serving ads in search engine results (or SERPs). In 2016, Google introduced mobile message ad extensions.
What are mobile message ad extensions?
Text or message extensions show up in search results as links customers can click on to send text messages to your business. Message extensions are shown alongside a business’ ad in Google search results.
Typically, a message icon in SERP will indict whether a company has message extensions enabled. Ads with mobile extensions are usually bigger and more feature-rich, easily drawing attention (and clicks) in SERP. In fact, text extensions have a 50% higher click-through rate than normal ads and typically carry the same CPC fee—making it an attractive option for companies looking to save in advertising.
How message extensions work
When customers search for businesses using their phones, text extensions appear as messaging icons next to the standard phone options. Customers can text the listed phone number and begin a conversation with a sales representative.
Businesses can use auto-replies to respond to commonly asked questions, which helps reduce phones calls, improves customer service and increases business productivity. Text message extensions can also capture data about the types of services and products customers are most interested in.
Text extensions unlock a new audience of customers that prefer texting over calling. Customers can reach businesses while relaxing at home or sitting in a work meeting. Businesses can use message extensions to upsell customers on products and services by sending links to packages via SMS for customers looking for more. Using pre-set text, customers can indict to a business a convenient time and number to call them back on. Additionally, text extensions can be used to help customers keep track of their deliveries and services, and set appointments—all without going through the hassle of waiting on recorded line.
How to Set Up Text Extensions
Before setting up text message extensions, it is important that a business has a phone that can send and receive SMS. A business can quickly and easily set up a text-friendly business phone using Google Voice.
Once a textable number is established, a business can set up message extensions at the account, campaign or ad group level in Google Ads. Using the ad extensions tab, advertisers can create new message extensions.
Creating a message extension requires:
- A Business Name
Your businesses name in 25 characters or less.
- Extension Text
This text will appear in the mobile ad next to the messaging icon. Use phrases like “Text Us” to make it clear that users will be sending an SMS.
- Message Text
These are pre-populated messages users can select to start a conversation with a business representative. Messages can include, “I’d like to schedule an appointment” or “I’ll like an update on my delivery.” These pre-populated messages will help your representative quickly and easily handle customer concerns.
Once you have your text extensions set in Google, there is still a chance the message option will not show up in mobile search results. To get optimal results with mobile extensions, make sure your Google Quality Score is good. Learn more about improving your Google Quality Score here.