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Message Extension – A step forward for charity and finance PPC

Written by Tim Speight | 31-Oct-2016 16:31:00

Last week, Google fully rolled out message extensions across all accounts and we were excited to set them up and take them for a test drive.

We decided to test this new extension when it was in BETA, trialling it across insurance and charity clients with different calls to action to get a representative feel for how they can be used.

The idea of the extension is to provide the user with an alternative method of getting in contact with an organisation. They allow the user to send a message and pick up the conversation when appropriate for them. It also opens up the possibility for promotions and data capture directly through the ad. Once clicked on, the technology will populate a pre-defined message that reflects the call to action in the ad and instantly pass it to the users phone as an SMS message to the advertisers number.

So why add an extension for messaging? Google suggest that 97% of smartphone owners use texting and that it is the app they use most frequently. With messaging apps becoming increasingly popular it makes sense that this feature has been introduced in paid search to give organisations the opportunity to offer users a more convenient method to get in touch through their phone.

As we continue to want to be able to access information faster and more conveniently this technology will give the user the option to message to ask a question rather than trying to find the information they need through searching the website on their phone.

With the use of click to message, the user can immediately get in touch with a question, request a call back or donate for example in response to a campaign.

Key things to remember:

  • Supports both IOS and Android
  • Works only on mobile devices
  • The advertiser needs a telephony system able to accept SMS messages
  • Each custom message has to be over 10 characters
  • Can work across all verticals including Not for profit organisations where the use of this extension is permitted in a Grant account.

Find more information regarding the extension

The Charity Experience

The extension is perfect for lead generation, messages to request a call back or to make a donation through the users phone account. We tested its capability to drive donations for one of our charity clients.

In a similar way to advertising a text number to donate to via TV ads, videos or other campaign advertising, we decided to pre populate the message extension in AdWords with the number to text, the amount and the unique message to text. The extension would then open up the SMS section of the phone with the message pre populated, ready for the user to donate.

Excited to see it working, we did a few searches through the Google preview tool and live (tut, tut) to see it in action!

Unfortunately we spotted one flaw which may now have been resolved but is worth noting; the only browser app we could get it to work with was Google Chrome. IOS devices may be supported but as they have the safari browser pre-installed this is a serious issue. We raised this with Google who said it was it was a short term glitch they were looking into, so hopefully this teething problem will be quickly resolved.

The result of running this extension was positive and we started to see an improvement in conversion and donations immediately. This is exciting and we will continue to test the extensions for other charity clients over the coming months.

The Insurance Experience

Our insurance client had the appropriate set up and as phone conversations are common practice in the insurance purchase path we felt it was a valid test to use the message extension to prompt users to request a call back to discuss their needs.

The idea was to increase the level of quotes the account attracted by providing a new, quick way to communicate with the insurance provider. 

We have seen strong performance through click to message, after all every user is different and wishes to engage in different ways; click to message gives the user another way to get in touch quickly and with the extension now out of Beta we will continue to look for further opportunities to use this great addition to Google AdWords to shorten conversion journeys.

For further information or advice on how the message extension could work for you or how to set it up then 
get in contact with us today.