Google Adwords New Feature: Call Extensions

What are the Google Adwords Call Extensions?

Putting your company’s phone number into the ad copy of a PPC ad has long been a best practice. If you have the space within the ad, why not? It kills two birds with one stone: Not only do you have the potential to get a phone call from a prospective client, it also doesn’t cost you anything since your ad was never clicked!

Sadly, those days are disappearing, but only partially. When logging into your AdWords account any time over the last few weeks, you probably saw this message:

Google-Adwords-Call-Extensions

Fear not, true believers! This is just Google’s way of nudging — forcing — you into taking your business’ phone number out of the ad itself and using Google Call Extensions. In their official announcement, they said, “We are making this change to foster a safer, more consistent user experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.”

Along with the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns earlier this year, Google seems to be ushering their AdWords users, ready or not, into the world of customized ad delivery based on location and device.

Google does provide complete instructions on how to add call extensions to your account . Call extensions are going to show up on desktop and tablets differently than they will on smartphones and smaller mobile devices.

On desktops and tablets, they’ll look like this:

On smartphones and smaller mobile devices, users will see this:

Aside from having truncated ad copy, the real difference between the two ways your phone number will appear is the appearance of the actual phone number. In the desktop and tablet ad, the phone number is static since you cannot call directly from those devices, at least not without a third party program such as Skype. In the mobile ad, the phone number is taken completely out of the ad and is replaced with a button that will make the call for the customer. On one hand, this is a much easier way to connect to a business, but from Google’s standpoint, it also prevents customers from dialing the number themselves and denying Google the money from the “click” that should have happened.

Do Call Extensions Make Sense for Your Business?

The only other change to consider is with the phone number itself. You have two choices: Either you can have your actual number show up, or Google can auto-populate your ad with a random phone number and give you the ability to track things such as the length of call, and even time-specific conversions.

On one hand, using your own local number in the ad could build trust from potential customers, but you wouldn’t get Google’s call tracking statistics out of it. On the other hand, the Google generated numbers are not guaranteed to be local, but they come with free call tracking, which a lot of small businesses do not have. Whether you use Google’s numbers or your own depends entirely on whether you have call tracking in place and how important having a local phone number display is to you.

If you don’t use phone numbers in any of your PPC ads, this really doesn’t have any effect on you. If you do, it’s not much work to switch over to call extensions using the tutorial linked above. Either way, unlike a lot of the changes made when Enhanced Campaigns came around, Google is actually adding functionality without taking anything away. After how the launch of Enhanced Campaigns went, this is significant and welcome news.

Tags: ,

  • Robert

    As a Google PPC ninja once told me, it is important to constantly split-test new ads so that messaging is consistently being refined in a competitive marketplace. That happens on at least two levels: 1) The ads themselves, inside Adwords. It has easy split testing for ads and reports optimal performance. 2) On your landing page itself. That’s where a lot of people miss the boat on conversions. They blame the ads but don’t split test elements or versions of their landing pages. There are lots of ways to do this, but it’s kind of technical and as a business owner I couldn’t really be bothered with learning the details, but I can refer you to Simon. Call him – 302-401-4478.