Making great use of Google Call-Only Ad

When to use Call-Only Ads and the Key Factors for deciding whether to use them or not

In the last decade, we’ve seen more and more organisations benefiting from the implementation of Search Engine Marketing (or if you prefer, SEM). Although it may be commonplace for small and large businesses being familiar with concepts like Ads, Display Network and Ad Extensions — it seems there are still tools and concepts that could be of massive value and yet are virtually unknown to the general public. Things such as Call-Only Ads. In this article HammaJack data analyst, Jose Arevalo explains the benefits, opportunities and challenges to take advantages of this particular type of Ads.


So what are Call-Only Ads?

Last week we had a chat with one of our top clients, HammaJack Plumbers. They were as happy as we were about the crazy amount of leads they have gotten since we started deploying their Call-Only Ads in their Google Ads account.

Call-Only Ads are short text ads that include a phone number, a website URL, and a short description. They can appear only on devices that make phone calls and are available only for campaigns on the search network.

Similar to regular Ads, clicks on the call button or headline are charged at a cost-per-click (CPC) based on the bid that you set in your account.

Wait - Aren't they the same as Call Extensions, but with fewer capabilities?

Not quite. A Call Extension is an optional add-on that lets you add a phone number to your Google Ads, allowing the potential customer to call you directly instead of clicking through the ad itself and going to your landing page.

In contrast, Call-Only Ads are designed to encourage calls rather than clicks. It might sound counterintuitive, but research has shown that increased mobile adoption has led to an explosion of calls for most offline business.

Having said that, as a side note, Call-only ads can use the same phone numbers that you may already be using in your call extensions.


Does this mean every offline business should be using Call-Only Ads?

Well, not necessarily. Let’s take HammaJack Plumbers as an example, whom have highly benefited from Call-Only Ads. It is important to understand that their business consists of providing a service for “emergency plumbing in Fitzroy”. Keeping this in mind, let’s now think about the searcher (potential customer) and the characteristics of their issue:

  • Is immediate

  • Is such that would make the client feel more comfortable by talking to someone

  • Makes sense to search from a mobile device

If your business is an e-commerce selling cases and gadgets for mobile phones, you probably don’t need these types of ads, as they will only bring you unnecessary problems that can be solved with a basic FAQ page. On the other hand, if your product or service meets the characteristics mentioned above, you might be ready to start getting lots of benefit from Call-Only Ads.

But wait, before you move on, there’s a couple of things you need to cover:

  1. Make sure you or someone is available and ready to answer the phone during the times your ad will be live.

Sounds obvious, but you don’t want to give a bad experience or disappoint a potential customer, especially if it’s a real emergency. And yes - you can schedule specific times and days for your ad to go live.

  1. Set up a call tracking system

There are a bunch of third party tools that do this but the main point is: make sure at least you use Google’s inbuilt tracking and reporting system.

Tracking your Ads with Call Reporting

If someone taps on your Call-Only ad, that person’s mobile phone dialler will open with the number set. But as you guessed, this doesn’t necessarily mean it will end up in a successful call. That’s when Call reporting comes into play.

Call reporting allows you to track if your ad was not only clicked but also successfully dialled and answered. This service is available only on the search network and uses Google forwarding numbers (GFNs).

GFNs are dummy numbers created by Google for being displayed on your ads, so when a searcher rings that number, then the call (apart from being redirected to your phone) begins to feed some very useful metrics.

One cool feature from Call reporting is that you can set a minimum call length for conversion tracking. In other words, if you are HammaJack Plumbers, you might want to set your minimum call length to 20 seconds, so that the short calls won’t be considered in an ROI analysis, for example.

Creating a Call-Only Ad

We won’t waste time trying to come up with a better step-by-step guide than the one created by Google itself, so here it is. One thing to be aware of is that when you create your ad, you'll be asked to enter the following information:

  • Your business name

  • Your phone number

  • Two lines of description text

  • A display URL

  • A verification URL, which is the URL of a web page that includes your business phone number

Most important point

Google Call-Only Ads can bring a lot of benefit to your local business, only if your product or service meets the right characteristics and also if you make sure you have the correct setup and/or trained staff to provide a clear and straightforward caller experience.