Google is testing a new ad extension to capture lead data at the search-level and transmit it directly to advertisers’ CRM systems. Here’s a closer look at the new beta feature and what our advertisers recommend.
What Has Changed?
The extensions will appear below search ads in a call-out box with the advertiser’s choice of call-to-action (Learn more, get a quote, sign up, etc.) and up to 30 characters of text.
Once clicked, the extension opens to a lead form with a headline, business name, and description (up to 200 characters).
Similar to Facebook’s lead gen forms, the user’s data will be pre-populated with contact information. This is a useful step to reduce friction between search and lead submission; no more typing personal info into tiny boxes on a mobile website. Google is positioning these extensions as seamless, fast, and convenient.
They can be seamless for advertisers as well. Account owners can download leads via CSV or set up a webhook to automatically import them into a CRM system. Make sure to do this in a timely manner though, because leads are only stored for 30 days.
Why This New Ad Extension Matters
The extensions are designed for mobile experiences, so data-capture is limited to name, email, phone number, and zip code for simplicity. This new extension type is a good fit for a variety of verticals:
Advertisers with longer sales cycles or services that cannot be purchased online rely on Google Ads for lead generation. Any method of shortening the path from user search to lead-submission could result in higher lead volume and lower costs per lead.
But the problem with shortening the lead generation path is lead quality. It’s helpful to think of lead quality on a sliding scale; the easier and cheaper it is to acquire, the lower-quality the lead.
At Tinuiti, we have seen this with Facebook lead forms; lead submission volume is much higher than that of on-site lead forms (and in most cases, cost-per-lead is lower), but the lead quality tends to be much poorer.
This is not a hard and fast rule, though. Users are busy and attention is fleeting. If these extensions help capture customer data before the user loses interest, they could be quite valuable.
We expect these new extensions to be effective for advertisers with a sophisticated lead-nurturing system.
Google is signaling that they intend to expand functionality in late 2019-early 2020. New features include multiple-choice dropdowns for how soon the customer wants to be contacted, CRM integration, and custom questions. These features will almost certainly improve lead quality.
“As with any customer acquisition strategy, the success of these lead gen extensions depends upon optimizing cost per acquisition to the quality of the prospects. We welcome any new feature to increase lead volume, but recommend approaching it with caution to ensure lead quality.”
– Adam Harms, Sr. Strategist at Tinuiti
It would also be wise to consider the costs associated with this new extension type. According to Google, “any time a lead form is opened, it will be tracked as a lead form click.” Similar to Gmail ads, in which users are charged for an expansion, it appears advertisers will be charged for a lead form open, rather than a click to site.
This new beta is a no-brainer for any advertiser employing lead-generation tactics. It has a chance to be a true needle-mover this holiday season. That said, we recommend monitoring lead quality closely.
Additionally, advertisers may want to consider setting up an email confirmation trigger to reach out to these users as soon as the lead data reaches your CRM. Timeliness is key in the lead-nurturing process, especially if the user is actively researching your product. If you take too long to reach out, another competitor may beat you to the punch.