In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen significantly more people reporting they’ve seen AdWords that allow advertisers to collect email addresses directly in the ad unit. Now Google has confirmed it has expanded the trial of the lead generation format to additional advertisers.
We’ve seen the format used by daily deal provider bloomspot, which also collected ZIP codes via the form, presumably to add subscribers to the appropriate city-specific deals newsletters. Email service providers like AWeber and Vertical Response also seem to be trying out the format. Previous versions of the test included the ability for users to request phone calls from marketers, as well.
A Google spokesperson sent a statement reading: “This ad format is still in testing phase, but our team is getting a lot of interest from advertisers and we’ve been slowly expanding the trial over recent months. These ads help businesses gather new leads and enable users to easily get relevant information and ask for quotes.”
Indeed, the format seems designed for marketers peddling high-consideration goods or services, which often require significant nurturing and follow-up by a salesperson. On the consumer side, one could seem them being useful for car manufacturers and retailers, and business-to-business leads seem a natural use case.
Advertisers pay per lead collected and bid the same way they would for the normal auction. When users sign up, at least in the experience of Justin Premick, director of education marketing at AWeber, advertisers receive individual emails as people sign up via the AdWords ad. Interestingly, Google is providing the advertiser with the real email address of the user. (When people see the email submission box, a link titled “Privacy” tells them their information will be given to the advertiser. Previous tests (outlined in this presentation) anonymized the email addresses and phone numbers.
It’s not easy to get emails collected one-by-one into email marketing software –- other than by using cut and paste –- so the offering currently seems more tailored to leads intended for individual follow-up. Another challenge is the fact that signing up may be too easy –- when a searcher is signed into a Google account, the email address associated with the account is pre-populated, meaning a single click is enough to represent an opt-in.
“That’s the classic tradeoff between reducing friction on the conversion funnel and qualifying leads,” said Premick.
AWeber’s Premick says the email marketing company has only been using the email capture ads for a little over a month, so he couldn’t yet say how well they were performing in comparison to his other creatives. Premick says the company will perform testing to determine if it will continue with this type of ad.
Google has been testing these lead-generation AdWords formats, called Communication extensions, for much of 2011, and has even been testing similar functionality on its display network. The company suggests marketers who are interested in testing the format should contact their Google representative to ask to participate in the trial.