List growth lessons from ended Google AdWords beta

18 months ago Google released a new type of Ad extension beta allowing brands to collect email addresses directly in the search results, like this example:


The beta has now quietly come to an end and this particular type of Ad extension has been removed from beta test accounts.

I know a couple of brands who tried the beta and were not over whelmed by the success.

The email list growth lesson from this is you must ask for the email address at the right time.

The fundamental issue with the Google beta is that the email address is being asked for too soon, before someone is sufficiently engaged with you.

Search users who have never heard of you don’t want to give their email address before seeing who you are – they need to visit your website before they decide if they like you and are willing to handover their valuable email address.

Consider where and when you ask for an email address, are you hitting people too soon – or even too late?

A secondary issue with the Google standard subscribe format was the very limited ability for an effective benefit sell or adding an incentive to sign-up.

Also according to this data including the subscribe form reduced Ad click throughs, something that would concern Google.

There is no official news on why it’s been removed. Which strongly suggests it won’t be rolled out in its current form. We’ll certainly post an update should we get more information.