Google is rolling out a new tool to help consumers and advertisers get in touch much more easily via SMS, through ads in Google Search.
Amit Agarwal, Google's senior PM for mobile search ads, explained the advantages of the new feature, noting that his company has been tweaking the "click-to-message" ad message extension for a few months now, and that the feature will soon go live.
The message extensions are SMS-based, which means that they will only pop up on devices that can send text messages, making this a mobile exclusive offering. This means that advertisers who want to tap into the potential of message extensions must use a phone number that can both send and receive SMS.
Advertisers who are accustomed to using AdWords should find the message extensions intuitive. Shortly put, marketers only need to provide a few extra info in the Ad Extensions tab in AdWords. As that step is completed, customers who use keywords on Google to search for something, such as "pasta restaurant in San Francisco," will see a tiny message icon next to the ad.
Keep in mind that the advertiser should already pay Google to associate the ad with those keywords.
As the customer taps the message icon, their default SMS app will start a pre-defined message. The message, which is crafted by the business through AdWords, can be edited by the client, who can ask the business about opening hours, the day's menu and other relevant information.
It is unsurprising that Google is looking to expand the means through which customers can contact ventures.
Facebook is bulking up its proprietary Messenger app to offer better customer service. What is more, Facebook stated earlier this year that it is developing a click-to-message ad product. As the social media platform jumped the 1 billion user threshold, Messenger is a force to be reckoned with.
However, basic mobile texting is still popular with a lot of people, and a Pew research from 2015 shows that a whopping 97 percent of Americans use SMS at least once a day. This might have motivated Facebook to push its Messenger app towards becoming a default SMS app.
With a surging interest in mobile messaging apps, Google's AdWords efforts could make an even greater impact when backed by an internet-based platform such as Facebook Messenger. Customer behavior shows that clients are happy to know that their inquiry is seen by the recipient, and even happier to see that the recipient is typing a reply.