Google AdWords click-to-text mobile ad extension is now coming out of its beta testing phase, allowing users to communicate with advertisers via text message direct from SERPs.

Google has been testing this new mobile ad extension over the past few months, adding a new way for consumers to communicate with brands regarding queries about their services.

Call ad extensions have existed for years, but the introduction of a click-to-text feature will address any worries users have about being placed on hold or being redirected to the wrong department and wasting precious call time.

When a user clicks on the new click-to-text extension, the phone’s SMS system will open automatically. At the moment the new feature sits below the ad – a slight departure from the icons usually seen at the right-hand side of the main ad. With the new ad extension in this format, advertisers are able to add a call to action to the icon as well.

The new click-to-text extension can be added at campaign and ad group levels, and can also be scheduled to run at particular times. If the ad extensions are run outside of regular hours or when businesses are closed, standardised messages can be pre-populated, auto-responding to users and giving them an expected time when they can receive a response.

Reporting on SMS extensions can be found in the extensions tab or in Click Type segmentation. However at present, there is no way to clearly measure engagement levels for these types of extensions in AdWords.

SMS ad extensions will be rolling out worldwide over the next few weeks. Google has released a best practice guide to help advertisers get started with the new feature.

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Lisa Coghlan is a digital and content coordinator at ClickThrough Marketing. She writes SEO content for many of the company’s larger clients, and assists in the implementation of content strategy. She writes live gig reviews and has a mild obsession with finding new documentary podcasts.