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Google Lead Form Ads Now In Beta Testing

28 October 2019 | 0 comments | Posted by Che Kohler in nichemarket Advice

Google launching a lead form ad extension

Google Ads has gone through some sizeable changes over the last two years as the search engine, and digital ads giant tries to close the loop on traffic referred from its services. Google is always looking for new ways to extend its paywall and make its precious traffic a little more costly each year.

The real issue with this is Google doesn't have much control over the quality of leads. For example, you could be running a paid search campaign but getting fewer leads because your website is terrible. This poor performance leads you away from Google Ads.

Businesses are desperate for leads from their online efforts, so what has Google done? They've built a lead form into their search result ads. Google is beta testing a new ad extension for advertisers looking to capture leads from their text ad campaigns.

Searchers can submit their information to request or download information from Google Search ads through the new lead form extension.

Lead forms in Google search

Google Ads is testing a new way for businesses to capture customer information with lead form extensions. This new ad extension was spotted in search by a few eagle-eyed marketers.

  • Advertisers can customize lead forms with their title and description, and indicate which pieces of information they want to ask customers when prompted by the ad.
  • Advertisers can even design and upload their background image for the lead form.
  • Finally, advertisers can customise the thank you message that appears after customers submit their information.

Google Ads account holders will have the option to deliver on their call-to-action in the form of a website link or a direct download.

How Google Ads lead extensions work

The lead extensions look similar to promotion extensions, displaying in a call-out box with an icon, in this case, a clipboard. After you select the campaigns, you choose the call-to-action and enter extension text which can be up to 30 characters.

The messaging is what is displays with the ad, as shown below.

Google Leads Extension Ads

An example of Google leads extension ad

Next, you will create the lead form, as shown at the top of this article. The form includes a headline, business name and a description that can be up to 200 characters.

The information you can collect is limited to

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • and postal code

You can add a header image as well.

Finally, you will need to include a link to your privacy policy and you must also agree to Google's terms of service.

You can customize the submission completion page that users will see after they submit the form with a description and call-to-action of either "visit website" or "download".

Lead data can be delivered via email or via a webhook to your customer data management or CRM system to receive your collected leads in real-time directly.

History of Google and lead ads

The style of ads is not the first time Google has tried capturing lead data straight from search ads. In 2010, Google floated what it then called contact form extensions.

Leads captured were sent to advertisers via email. It never came out of beta. In 2011, it tried again with cost-per-lead ads that let users submit their phone number or email in from the ad to request for more information.

That never came out of alpha, it seems.

Why we should care about Google Ads lead forms

The ease of using lead extensions could help advertisers generate more leads from their search ads. Advertisers will want to monitor the quality of these leads closely.

Some advertisers may baulk at the limited amount of data that is captured in the latest version of the leads form extension. Still, the integration of webhooks should help reduce the friction of transferring lead data to sales systems, and the new option designed for mobile experiences.

Who should use Google lead ads

If you've been struggling to get leads via your website because you don't have a mobile optimised or conversion optimised site you may want to consider switching over to the ad format to offer less friction in capturing the lead

Lead forms are also great for users who may not have a web presence and use sites like GoDaddy Website builder or Google Website builder and want a little more control over leads generated.

I can also see this ad format working for users who may not have a site or a conversion-ready site and its more for cataloguing and display purposes.

The downside of Google lead ads

As you can tell, Google has tried to get this ad format off the ground a few times, so why the persistence? Well, it offers them a few distinct advantages.

Google wants to limit the number of users leaving the search result pages and build a higher paywall so as advertisers flock to this new lead format they will drive users to it as a preffered method of contact.

This will increase the dependency on the format for leads and make direct to website traffic less attractive to advertisers gunning for leads.

As a bonus, Google now also captures more user data with a new touchpoint and can use this information to add to their data modelling. They can now build lists of email addresses, and that can be targetted across the web through heir various products like display and retargeting.

I am personally not a fan of having the entire user journey completed within search as this encourages users to remain in Google, giving them even more power over how traffic is distributed across the web. As Google makes it easier for consumers to remain within search and complete more actions, the less of a need users will feel to visit and explore sites.

Fewer visitors means less visibility for your brand, and this could have a knock-on effect on brand recall and direct traffic in the future. It really looks like Google wants to keep hold of as much of its previous traffic as it can and forcing brands to pay for a piece of the action.

My advice would be to use this service sparingly and ensure that the leads you capture you use to build an internal marketing strategy. I encourage brands to start to make use of channels such as CRM or EDM campaigns to make the most of your investment in purchasing leads from Google.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on paid search.

Tags: Google Ads

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