In mid-November, Google quietly began experimenting with a new automated ad extension for certain AdWords desktop and mobile campaigns, allowing users to set location-based reminders directly from within a search ad. This marks the first clear integration between Google Now and Google AdWords, potentially giving advertisers two impressions for the price of one.
Mobile users that enable location services through the Google app and its Siri-like personal assistant software, Google Now, can set location-based reminders. These send an alert when they enter a specific physical area associated with a business, known as a geo-fence.
Google has now integrated this reminder functionality directly into search ads, and users that have the Google App and location services enabled have a chance of seeing a “Remind me when I’m nearby” button with their ads.
The Importance for Search Marketers
This now provides a guaranteed, free “retargeting” message when the reminder appears on the users’ home screen. The user gets one brand interaction from seeing an ad online, and another much more relevant interaction at the point of purchase itself.
The location reminder also creates a positive association with your brand in the mind of the consumer. The user showed a need by creating the location reminder and now your brand is fulfilling that need when the user is reminded to go into your store. It’s a powerful tool that gives the user information at exactly the right time and place.
Finally, if interaction with this extension can be tracked and reported to advertisers, this could help hone in on consumers who have positive association with a brand and are ready to buy – perfect individuals for other forms of retargeting.
Implementation for Advertisers
So, how can advertisers opt in to location-based reminders? As it turns out, they already have. According to Google, any advertiser currently running Location Extensions are eligible to run location-based reminders. Yet, since this extension is in an experimental phase, they may not show on every search or every account.
While this is a potentially powerful addition to AdWords campaigns, there are a few factors that could potentially hinder the effectiveness of the location reminder. Any iOS user must first manually download the Google app, sign in with their Google account, and not disable location tracking. Location tracking is defaulted to “ON” but some consumers can (and will) turn it off. Until Google can make further headway into Apple devices, the main audience for this extension will likely be Android users, who have the Google app and location tracking enabled on their device right out of the box.
Android users make up a large percentage of smartphone owners, especially in emerging markets, but more widespread adoption of Google in iOS customers could significantly increase the effectiveness of location-based reminders and open up the widespread potential that location-based services have for advertisers.
The location reminder could also provide an even greater reason for advertisers to monitor and optimize to in-store data. In theory, the reminder could lower “tracked” online ROI if the consumer sees the reminder and makes a purchase in store versus purchasing online when they get home.
There is great potential for more Google Now integration with AdWords, but what will be next? As AdWords functionality is continuously updated and expanded, more may be restricted to Google app users and, with more and more advertisers prioritizing mobile in their campaigns, Android owners. Bing could follow suit with exclusive extensions limited to those who own a Microsoft mobile device or tablet. Only time will tell as we watch the increased integration between AdWords and the Google app.
Stephen Hayes, Paid Search Specialist, contributed to this post.