Google’s new click-to-message ad feature will offer a new means for clinical trials to connect with potential patients.
Pay-per-click (PPC) search ads are one of the most effective means of advertising a clinical trial. Because 73% of consumers use search engines to research illness and treatment, search ads allow CROs and sponsors to reach consumers right in the moment when they’re most likely to be eligible for and interested in participating in a clinical trial.
Google AdWords is one of the most popular — and powerful — platforms for creating, promoting, and tracking search ads, and many clinical trials are already taking advantage of AdWords’ features. However, Google AdWords search ads stand to connect CROs and sponsors with potential patients even more seamlessly when Google rolls out its newest feature in the coming weeks: click-to-message extensions.
While call extensions have been available for Google AdWords ads for several years now, the new text message extensions offer even more convenience for trials looking to connect with potential patients.
How Click-to-Message Works
When Google officially launches message extensions, advertisers will be able to add a messaging option to the bottom of their mobile search ads. When users click the message icon, their phone’s SMS app will launch automatically. Based on the example provided by Google, the call and message extensions will be served in cards at the bottom of the ad rather than shown as icons to the right of the copy.
This means that advertisers will be able to create custom CTAs to accompany the messaging icon, offering another opportunity to compel consumers to get in touch. Advertisers will also be able to set up an initial text that pre-populates when the user clicks the extension. While users will be able to edit the message before sending, it’s an opportunity to help users save time and make it easier for them to contact you.
Message extension clicks will be charged just like a regular click on a headline, and reporting on message extensions will be available in the extensions tab. Businesses also have the option to set up message extensions to appear only during certain hours of the day, so that someone will always be able to respond.
What Click-to-Message Means for Clinical Trials
With click-to-message capabilities, sponsors and CROs can directly and immediately connect with potential patients to schedule an intake. Further, this capability will allow users to ask questions directly to a representative, who can address any concerns in real time.
While patients who are seriously seeking treatment options may be interested in a clinical trial, they might also have specific hesitations and concerns that an easy messaging options would help to relieve. Messaging can also offer a valuable scheduling tool. According to a Google Consumer Survey, 65% of consumers would consider using messaging to schedule an in-person appointment.
Of course, HIPAA compliance will always need to remain a top concern for sponsors and CROs, as patients can’t give out personal health information over text. However, for scheduling intake appointments, Google’s click-to-message feature may not be a problem — rather, it promises to be simplify and streamline clinical trial recruitment for all parties.