More often then not, your customer has a simple question and wants a quick answer. At the same time, no matter how many staff members you have - they may not be able to cater towards everyone at once. This is when the dreaded wait time happens. As soothing as your hold music is, no one wants to hear it. Same goes for your automated voicemail. We live in an instantaneous world where customers have options. If they have questions, they want answers immediately.
With the rise of AI powered Chatbots, Google has come up with their own solution inside AdWords called Message Extensions. All you need to get started is a dedicated virtual number managed by an SMS provider like Burst, or you can use a personal mobile number to manage replies.
If your business is new to SMS, this can be a great way of introducing your audience to your new marketing tool and building your list.
What are Message Extensions?
Message extensions are an add-on to your Google Adwords ads. When enabled, it adds a link to the bottom of your ad, making it quick and easy for your customers to send you an SMS message. Message extensions only appear in mobile search results and they're designed specifically for smartphones that can send and receive SMS messages.
You can have more than one message extension in each ad. With a tap, your customers can book an appointment, get a quote, ask for information, request a service, or create their own SMS message. It's important to schedule your message extensions to only show when you have someone available to reply.
When a message extension is tapped, you're charged the same cost-per-click fee just as if they've tapped the ad headline or link. It's not available on Google Display Network but it may be added in the future.
There are two parts to a message extension: extension text and message text.
In the example above, “Got Questions? Send Us a Text!” is an extension text. It's the call-to-action for your link and it encourages your customers to tap it.
Examples that you can use:
- “Order Enquiries”
- “Delivery Options”
- "Holiday hours"
- "Deals of the week"
- "Send Us a Text"
Next, you can modify the message text. The message text is meant to make it easier for your customers to start a conversation with you.
When your customer taps on your message extension, their SMS app will open. If you've populated the message text section, it will automatically pre-populate your message in their reply box.
Here are some examples of pre-populated SMS messages:
- “I’ve ordered a product and would like to know when I would receive them”
- “Do you have free shipping?”
- “What time does your restaurant close?”
- “Do you offer take-out?”
- “Can I make a reservation?”
We recommend that your pre-populated message is under 160 characters (1 SMS message). You can try using this SMS Character Counter to help you plan.
Message Extension Rules
Like all ads, the message extension goes through an approval process. There are some rules to keep in mind:
- Financial and government identification information cannot be collected
- Phone number used must be local to the targeted country
- Repetitive texting with the customer is not permitted
- Messages must be relevant to the ad
- Slow or unreasonable response times are not allowed
For more information, check out the message extension requirements by Google.
Message Extension Set-up
- Make sure you have a dedicated virtual number or a mobile number that you're okay with sharing
- Following these instructions: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/7172411
- Make sure you follow their rules: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/7160923