Drive conversations with message extensions: Google Best Practices
There are some I-want-to-know or I-want-to-do moments where a user wants help but simply doesn’t want to make a phone call or go to a website. Nearly two thirds of smartphone owners use messaging more than five times a day to communicate with others1.
Message extensions are an efficient, convenient way to initiate and extend conversations with customers to unlock an entirely new segment of customers that prefer to use messaging to communicate.
Here are some tips for connecting with users via messaging.
1. Create clear and relevant message extensions
- Match your click-to-message ads to a campaign’s, or even ad group’s, theme.
Why: Tightly themed, relevant message extensions are more likely to drive people to send a message.
- Put together pre-filled message text that makes users excited to contact you.
Why: This is the message text users will see in their SMS app before sending. Make sure it’s connected to their use case, and tells them what to expect from the conversation.
If you’re preparing to launch a new product, you can ask users to join a message list to get ongoing updates. “Notify me about upcoming updates” could be a way to entice users while growing an audience list.
- Schedule your message extensions to show when you have someone to answer.
Why: A message returned in a timely manner is much more likely to lead to an enjoyable and productive experience for both you and your users.
Even if you can’t return messages immediately on nights or weekends, you might find that you can generate leads and return calls the next day. Remember to implement extension and message text that lets people know you’ll be calling them later. Consider using an auto-responder to reassure any incoming messages.
2. Set up a great conversation over text
- Ensure that the texts you receive are the type of interactions you want with customers.
Why: Assigning the right value to the types of interactions you’re driving with messaging, such as info gatherers or ready-to-book users, will help you decide how to optimize.
- Use local numbers if you have them available.
Why: Local numbers indicate to users that you’re nearby, which can increase relevance and user trust.
- Have a plan to transition from texting to another mode of interaction, if needed.
Why: Texts are valuable, and you may often find that you or your customers want to carry on the conversation over a phone call or another channel.
Think about how many people will be needed to respond to your messages. If you’re a small business, you might use your own cell phone to message customers, while large businesses receiving a high volume of messages might benefit from a third party messaging platform that can be used by multiple employees.
Gathering info like a traveler's desired destinations or price ranges while chatting can help you understand a user's potential value and serve her better.
3. Measure the value of the messages you receive
- Create a system to track the value of text-based interactions.
Why: You’ll need to understand the value of message extensions so you can update your strategy as needed.
Evaluate the value of the engagements you have with customers over time, then assign an average to help you set performance goals.
4. Boost the performance of your messaging extensions
- Monitor how often your message extensions serve.
Why: If your serving percentage is low, increase your bids or improve your extension and message text to give the extension a better chance to serve.
- Enable all other extensions that make sense for your business.
Why: Message extensions can co-trigger with all extensions, including call extensions. The Google Ads system will determine the best combination of extensions to serve during each auction.
- Combine remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) and customer match with message extensions.
Why: If you use the knowledge you already have about someone, you can get right to what matters to a user and deliver more personalized and relevant service, faster.
1 Google Consumer Surveys, US, Canada, UK, Australia, October 2016, Base: Respondents who own a smartphone and use it to access the Internet (n = 1,262 in US, n = 1,222 in UK, n = 567 in Canada, n = 563 in Australia)