Back in October of 2016, Google rolled out its click-to-message AdWords extension, which was similar to call extensions.  With Message extensions, users were able to message a business directly from the ad.

Now, Google has announced formal reporting for messaging.  It will become available in the next few weeks in the US, UK, France, Canada, Australia and Brazil.  Any users who wants to use message extensions will need to turn on message reporting in account settings.

There are three primary metrics that will be captured:

  • Chat rate: This is analogous to CTR (impressions vs. actual messaging interactions).
  • Start time: When users tend to interact with you via messaging. Google says this metric will help with dayparting.
  • Number of messages exchanged within a single chat session: Google says to use this metric to evaluate which ad creatives are driving the most engagement.

Every session will be charged.

That number that is displayed within the ad will be a Google call-forwarding number, which is how the company can track the above metrics.   “Whenever possible, Google forwarding numbers will share the same area code or prefix number as your business,” Google says.  If a local number isn’t available, then an 800 number will be used instead.  According to call-tracking industry data, local numbers significantly outperform toll-free numbers in terms of user response rates.

Currently, it isn’t clear whether or how bots can get hooked up to messaging extensions, but this will probably happen in the near term, particularly for brands that field a lot of volume or for basic scheduling requests.

Google offers a best practices guide for message extensions.

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