AdWords Click-to-Message Ads: A Comprehensive Guide
From setup to lead nurturing, everything you need to know about click-to-message.
Google AdWords have officially released their click-to-message ad extension, introducing mobile messaging to millions of businesses worldwide.
While this is amazing news for mobile messaging as a whole, many businesses wanting to actually use this feature found themselves lost.
From the usual "how do I even set this up?" to the more intricate "this is amazing but how can I even start to monitor this?", we are going to cover everything in this click-to-message guide and attempt to put your biggest concerns to rest.
Table of contents
What is AdWords' click-to-message?
First things first, let's take the time to bring everyone up to speed on what the click-to-message feature actually is. If you know this already, feel free to skip ahead.
Click-to-message was introduced by Google AdWords in the middle of October 2016 and took about a month to become available to everyone.
To users, this features allows them to simply click a button below a Google search ad and get in touch with a company.
To companies, this features allows them to add a new acquisition channel to their advertising.
The click-to-message ad looks like this:
Image credit Google Adwords
The steps are:
- A person opens up Google.
- Searches for a key phrase (in this example, "Westin Times Square", a hotel in New York City).
- The top ad displays all the valuable information.
- The person decides to get in touch with the hotel
- Taps the "Send us a text" button
- The SMS app opens up automatically and pre-fills the SMS with text (in this examples, "Hi, I'm interested in a reservation. Please text me back").
- The person sends the text to the advertiser.
- The advertiser replies.
To the user, this is a clear way to get in touch with a company very quickly without having to pick up the phone (boring), send an email (double-boring), or visit a website to try and find the info (omg-so-boring).
To the company, this is instant and direct communication with the potential customer. Forget about trying to get clicks to a landing page that might get filled by 2% of visitors and then try to drive people down a marketing funnel. This is direct access, one-on-one conversations.
How to set up a click-to-message ad extension
Now that we are all brought up to speed, let's talk setup.
The click-to-message feature is a Google AdWords ad extension. This means it is not an ad on its own, it is an additional option you attach to your ads.
There are many ad extensions allowing you to do various things, from the sitelinks extension, allowing you to add multiple links below your ads, to the call extension allowing you to add your phone number below your ads.
For this step-by-step on how to create your click-to-message extension, I am going to assume you already have an AdWords account. If you don't, just head over to Google AdWords and get started.
1. Log into your AdWords account
2. Head over to Campaigns - Ad Extensions
3. In the "View" drop-down, select "Message extensions".
4. Click +extension.
5. Select a (or multiple) campaign(s) you want to tie this new extension to
6. Empty, of course! Let's create our first message extension. Click the New message extension button.
7. You should see this pop-up.
This is where you will write all the information both Google and your potential customers need to know about you.
- Business name: your business name, so that people can know who you are when they message you.
- Text phone number: pick a country and type in your phone number. This is the number your potential clients will message when they click your ad, so make sure you have access to it (more on that further down)
- Extension text: this is the call-to-action of your message extension. Give the incentive to your potential customer to reach out to you.
- Message text: here, you can pre-fill the SMS your potential customers are going to send you.
- Advanced: you can set start and end dates, and schedule your message extension to show only during specific hours. This can be useful if you are not ready to service your customers outside of office hours, for example (again, more on that further down).
Let's fill all this out.
I have left the advanced section blank since the ubisend platform takes over anytime someone messages us I don't need to set specific hours.
And click save.
8. Make sure the info is correct and if it is, save again.
9. And now we wait.
As you can see, our new message ad extension is under review. All we have left to do is wait for Google to do their due diligence and approve our extension.
FYI: From performing this task myself and talking to a few PPC agencies in the last couple of weeks, I have found that the review process can take up to 24 hours. Be patient!
You're all set!
You have attached your phone number to one of your Google AdWords campaigns.
Once reviewed and approved, this ad extension will appear below your ads on mobile and allow users to simply tap the button and send you an SMS asking for more information on your product or service.
You, on the other hand, receive that SMS along with the user's phone number. You get to interact with the user via SMS instantly.
Answering the click-to-message limitations
You're probably sat there thinking "woah this is awesome". You are right. Having a straight line into your customers' phone is amazing. SMS have incredible read rates, up to 98%.
Any message you send to a potential customer via SMS after they've engaged the conversation has a very high percent chance of being read.
You may also be sat there thinking "but, wait a minute, I have to have a phone hanging around the office and someone to pick it up and type out responses to every single query that comes in? That does not sound scalable".
Again, you are right.
Beyond the fantastic acquisition channel that click-to-message ads is, it has become evident to advertisers (companies, PPC agencies, or even freelancers) that having to monitor yet another channel manually might not be worth the time.
Thankfully, this is where ubisend comes in.
Automate your SMS lead generation
ubisend allows you to turn the otherwise manual SMS lead generation process into a fully automated solution by taking over after Google.
Google brings the potential customers to your door, we show them in and point them in the right direction. [Tweet this]
Through our platform, you can set a message to be sent as soon as someone contacts you. You can then build automated messaging campaigns that will drive the lead down the appropriate funnel up to the point when a human can take over.
To illustrate this, we have made a video that shows the with/without ubisend difference.
This video was made for our PPC agency partners, but it gives you an idea of what can be done.
- Have to physically get a new SIM card.
- Have to get a phone specifically dedicated to the click-to-message extension.
- Alternatively, have to get professional SMS sent to your personal phone.
- Have to reply manually to each and every text.
- Have to reply quickly.
- Potentially have to limit the hours and days your ad extension is available since you need to sleep and can't answer quickly 24/7.
- Miss potential leads/clients because you are busy taking care of business and can't always be on your phone answering.
- Get a virtual phone number that sits on our platform. No SIM card, no phone hanging around.
- Set up an autoresponder that instantly directs the user as soon as he or she messages you. It will take you less than two minutes to set up, once, and run automatically 24/7 from there on.
- Set up as many messaging campaigns as you need, time them perfectly (instant or delay), and drive your leads down the right path. Set up once, make it live, and let it run automatically 24/7.
- Focus on getting your job done. Monitor your ubisend account once in a while to see if a human needs to take over with any lead.
- Get a completely custom SMS chatbot developed by our team, taking this automation idea on a whole new level.
Sounds good? Thought so. Let's get you set up.
Google AdWords + ubisend = automated SMS lead nurturing
Step one - Setting up your phone number
1. If you don't have one yet, create your account. The platform is free up to 100 subscribers.
2. Once logged in, go to your integrations page and click "Connect now" on the SMS section
3. Select the number of phone numbers you will need (one will suffice at first) and the message credits you think you will need.
4. Go through the checkout process. You will have to pay for the phone number(s) and the SMS credits.
5. Once you have purchased your phone number and your credits, it's time to add a phone number. Go to Numbers and select Add new number.
6. Select a country and a pattern you would like to have in your phone number (not required). In the list of available phone number we present you, pick whichever one you fancy and click Add number.
Great, you now have a phone number ready to receive messages.
Setting up your autoresponder
Now that you have your phone number ready to receive all the queries from your potential customers, let's set the autoresponder.
The autoresponder will automatically fire a message back to anyone who messages your phone number for the first time. It's a great way to instantly provide value.
This will also be the ground to build very clever lead nurturing campaigns on later. For now, let's focus on at least sending a message back to anyone who gets in touch with us.
1. In your ubisend account, go to Send.
2. You will see three options there. Pick autoresponder on the far right.
3. You are now on the autoresponder page. This is where you will type the message that will automatically be sent out to anyone who messages you through the Google AdWords click-to-message ad extension.
In message type, select standard. This will be a plain-text message.
In compose your message, type the message you would like to send to anyone contacting you. You can write anything you want here, just make it something valuable.
For instance: "Thank you for your message. We have logged your request and a sales person will contact you tomorrow between 8 and 9am."
In delay, type 0. We don't want any delay on our message, we want it to be fired off instantly!
Tick the active box. Click update.
Give it a quick test. Send a message to the phone number you just purchased and see if you get the automated message right back.
Works ok? Amazing.
Add a new message extension to AdWords
Now that you have your phone number and everything works, time to tie it all together and create a new message extension in Google AdWords that displays your new phone number.
Go back to AdWords and follow the steps from above. When it's time to add your phone number, type in the new number you purchased through ubisend.
Save. Wait for approval. Remove the previous phone number.
You now have:
- A brand new and untapped acquisition channel
- A way to interact with your prospects without all the struggle of having an actual phone, to type stuff, or to be super timely.
- The base for an automated lead nurturing campaign via SMS.
Great job! This guide showed you how you can automate your SMS acquisition through Google AdWords with a little bit of work. Want to skip the work? Talk to us about developing a custom chatbot for your company.