Ultimate Guide to Message Extensions on Google Ads

April 30, 2019
Posted in Paid Search
April 30, 2019 Jen Lopez

Ultimate Guide to Message Extensions on Google Ads

There are a variety of ad extensions available in Google Ads and new extensions are being tested all the time. However, one ad extension that we rarely see used since it rolled out of beta in late 2016 is the Message Extension. This extension allows users to send text messages directly to businesses from an ad. Since it is a “click-to-text” functionality, advertisers are charged on a CPC (or cost-per-click) basis.

Create Message Extensions

To start, we’ll show you how to set up a Message Extension. First, login to Google Ads, and navigate to the Ads and Extensions tab. Under Extensions, select the blue (+) icon, and click Message Extension. Here’s what will pop up:

Next, like with other extensions in Google Ads, you’ll have the opportunity to add the Message Extension to the account, campaign or ad group level. You can select “Create new” extension, enter the user country code, and then select your Message Delivery options. In this section you can choose to input an email for email forwarding, or a phone number for direct texts. Whichever you enter, an email or a phone number, will determine how the text message is sent to you. Finally, fill in your business name, as well Extension Text (35 character max), the Default Customer Message (35 character max) and the Auto-reply message (100 characters max) that will be sent to users before you have time to evaluate and send a more personalized message.

Scheduling Message Extensions

If you’d like to schedule the extension, expand the Advanced Options section. You can add a Start and End date, as well as create a schedule for specific days and hours. Once you set this up, the Message Extension will only be eligible to show alongside ads during the time periods you select. Some businesses opt to only get messages during business hours, while others don’t mind getting texts during off hours, as it’s easier to respond.

Message Extension Reporting & Tracking

Now that you know how to create Message Extensions, it’s important that you understand how they can be tracked. Once the Message Extension is ready, you’ll see options to turn on Message Reporting and Message Conversion Tracking. Defined by Google, we’ve outlined these options below:

  • Message Reporting – This measures the performance of your message extension and provides detailed information about messages you’ve received. If you turn off message reporting you will not be able to get these reporting insights. Visit your account settings to make changes.
  • Message Conversion Tracking – This tracks chats as conversions. These conversions are counted when interested people exchange texts with your business.

Defining a Message Conversion

While we recommend using Message Reporting and Message Conversion Tracking – it’s important that you decide what makes a “chat” a valuable conversion.

If you’ve turned on Message Conversion Tracking, you can navigate to the Tools > Conversion section of your Google Ads account, to edit the conversion associated with your Message Extension. By default, this action is called “Message conversion” and the default settings are outlined below:

One important aspect to consider is how many message exchanges typically denotes value for your business? You can see the default is set to 2 chats, but your business might require even more to consider this a true lead. Under Value, you can also determine a dollar amount. So, for example, if a text message exchange of 5 texts or more is usually valued at around $15, you can set your “Message Exchanges” to 5, and your “Value” to 15.

Another important consideration is whether you want the Message Conversion included in your “Conversions” column in Google Ads. If so, it will be eligible to inform bid strategies, and if you’ve associated a Value, it will show in your Conversion Value column, and other associated columns, like Conv Value / Cost (or, ROAS). If the messages you are receiving are great leads, this could be a win, but if they are less than ideal, you may want to restrict this conversion from showing in your conversion column and impacting any bid strategies or conversion value counts.

Want to Learn More?

Interested in learning more about Google Ads’ Message Extensions? Check out this handy support guide, and of course, drop us any questions you have below!