A new feature that was announced on Thursday morning at SMX East in New York City, Google is adding functionality to click-to-message ads and rolling out attribution and bidding capabilities for retail advertisers who are tracking store visits that are generated from online efforts.

Two new updates will be rolled out by Google:

  1. Email forwarding
  2. Automatic reply

New reporting details message extensions will arrive in the coming weeks.

  • With email forwarding, texts that users send from click-to-message ads can now be delivered via email. That means advertisers will no longer need to provide a phone number in order to use message extensions
  • Advertisers will also be able to set up automatic replies to respond to users immediately with preset messages. You could let users know you received their message and when they should expect a response, for example.
  • Message reporting will soon include message conversions, which will be defined by the number of communications it typically takes for a user to complete the intended conversion action. Google gives the example of a car dealer that determined it typically takes a user two or more exchanges before booking a test drive.

According to Michaella Kurdziel, Director of Experience Excellence & Learning at MM.LaFleur, said the company will use message reporting to “analyze which parts of our campaigns are driving the most in-depth, valuable conversations with stylists, and where we can improve performance.”  For MM LaFleur, an online clothing retailer, has been using the message extensions to respond to customer questions about style or fit suggestions and share image links.

First announced earlier this year, Store Visits data is going to roll out in Google Analytics to all eligible advertisers in the coming weeks.  Store Visits reporting will allow marketers to measure the offline impact of other digital channels beyond Google Ads.

Google said in August that it has measured more than 10 billion store visits from ads. Store visits measurements are estimated based on anonymized location data from users that have Location History enabled in their Google accounts.

With click-to-message updates, it can make the format more flexible for businesses to manage the flow of messages and measure the results with a bit more intention.

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