Google's answer to chatbots? Click-to-message ads
- In a blog post, Google announced it is extending the use case for mobile paid search with the introduction of new click-to-message ads.
- Consumers will be able to tap on a text message option in text ads to launch their SMS app with a pre-written message tailored to the product or service they are interested in.
- Once consumers initiate a text conservation, they can edit it and continue the conversation whenever they want.
Click-to-message is Google’s answer to the rise of chatbots. Consumers are spending a growing amount of time in messaging apps, and these apps have been introducing chatbots that enable users to message companies without having to leave the app. Google cites research showing nearly two-thirds of smartphone owners use messaging more than five times a day and 65% of consumers say they would consider using messaging to connect with a business.
By meeting consumers’ needs within messaging apps, chatbots have the potential to cut into the need for Google search on mobile. Facebook has bet big on chatbots by launching the functionality within its Messenger app earlier this year. The move comes amid others by Google to bolsters its mobile search business, such as the recent news that a separate, mobile-first search index is on the way.
Messaging is a key use case for mobile, but key differences exist between techniques. Messaging apps are growing quickly and are especially strong with younger consumers. SMS has the broader overall potential reach but has lost ground in the past couple of years as smartphone prices have dropped and messaging apps have grown. The fact that Google is getting behind SMS suggests it is looking enable engagements across a broad range of brands and demographics.
Click-to-message could help brands increase mobile conversions and drive ROI by making it easier to communicate with qualified leads. For example, TravelPass Group, one of the early adopters of the new extension, reports that its conversion rate on message extensions is 41% higher compared to other ad extensions.
Auto company Kia, working with business messaging solutions provider LivePerson, is directing text messages initiated from Adwords to a user’s local dealer. The Kia deployment takes click-to-message further by scaling up the messaging extension and making sure texts are routed to the right representative within an organization. On its own, click-to-message directs all texts to the same phone number.