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Google Click-to-Text Shows Value of SMS in Digital Marketing

The recent growth of Google’s advertising has been largely fueled by mobile ads. eMarketer projects that Google’s net mobile advertising revenues will grow from $16.27 billion in 2014 to an estimated $42.41 billion by 2017. Meanwhile, their desktop advertising revenues will grow at a much slower pace over the same time frame – from $46.13 billion to $59.72 billion.

With mobile ads becoming such a critical component to their revenue stream, it’s not surprising that Google is exploring new ways to add mobile outreach to customers’ Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. Last month, Search Engine Land reported that Google is now testing an ad extension that would give people a “click-to-text” option to reach out directly to advertisers.

Why is this a potential game changer for businesses running PPC campaigns? It allows them to connect their online advertising with the most direct and effective tool for reaching out to customers. Along with extremely high open rates, customers respond to SMS messages by entering into the sales cycle. According to a Dynmark report, 29 percent of customers targeted with an SMS campaign clicked through to an attached link, with 47 percent of that group eventually making a purchase.

Google’s click-to-text component gives digital marketers a new way to combine online and mobile outreach. It also means that companies need to have a complete digital communications strategy that includes SMS in place when building their PPC ads.

What is the call to action? And what do you do to follow up?

Based on the fact that people react quickly to SMS messages (90 percent are read within the first three seconds of receipt), businesses need to react quickly to complete a conversion. The immediacy of the response also means that businesses need to be aware of when they run their campaigns – if a person replies to a text after hours and has to wait until the following day for a response, a business might lose a potential sales opportunity. In addition, negative experiences can lead people to tell their friends not to frequent a business – exactly the type of “word of mouth” that businesses don’t want.

In 2014, Google estimated that 40 percent of all mobile searches were local. Click-to-text ads give marketers the opportunity to reach customers in specific locations with a message they can quickly respond to by making an online purchase or visiting a brick-and-mortar store.

Starting in 2014, more people use mobile for web searches than desktop computers. This represents an opportunity for advertisers to reach out in an immediate fashion by leveraging the power of SMS. Google’s testing of click-to-SMS is another point of proof that text messaging is very much part of the present – and future – of digital marketing.

The information included herein is distributed for informational use only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be taken as such. All clients are responsible for meeting legal requirements and other rules that apply to their messaging programs. Consultation with legal counsel is strongly recommended.

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