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Google AdWords Call Extensions and Bid-to-call Explained

With Google’s bid-per-call feature in AdWords, you can now set separate max bids for clicks and calls. Many businesses benefit from customers calling their office or shop, for example if you own a local pizza joint or flower shop. Some people prefer to book a cruise over the phone, getting advice from the company’s operator.

Some businesses may even be willing to pay more for a phone call than a click. This post will give you an explanation of Google’s call extensions and their features, how to measure your phone calls, and how to bid on calls.

Displaying a phone number within your ads is recommended for most businesses that can effectively turn calls into sales. Here are just a few advantages to adding call extensions to your ads.

  • Distinguishes your ad. Anything you can do to help your ad stick out is a positive.
  • Makes it easier to contact you. If someone is searching for your phone number they can find it easier if it’s listed within your ad.
  • Advanced call metrics. More data! Call metrics within AdWords gives you insight into your calls, including area code and call duration.

What Are Call Extensions and the Related Various Features?

Zack Morris - Google Bid-Per-Call

You can add different features to your AdWords ads, which Google calls “ad extensions.” These include adding things like a Google Places listing or sitelinks to your ad.

Again, remember that adding any feature to your ad can help set it apart from others. To access these features, click the “Ad extensions” tab within the AdWords online interface. From there you can add call extensions.

There are several things to take note of when using call extensions. The following list of terms can become confusing if you don’t know what each means:

  • Call extensions – Adds any phone number you choose to your ad.
  • Google forwarding number – Select “Show a Google forwarding phone number on all eligible ads and devices” when setting up call extensions, to place a dynamic 800 number within your ad that Google uses to report data on your phone calls. If you do not select this option a phone number will only appear on “high end” mobile phones.
  • Call metrics – The data which Google reports to you on your calls. Includes duration of call, area code, and other information.
  • Click-to-call - This mobile-only feature allows users to call your phone number directly by clicking on your ad.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Call Extensions

Google AdWords Call Extensions

From within the Dimensions tab, pull down the View menu and select “Call details”. This report shows the data collected on each of your calls. The duration of the call and area code can give you great insight. Try downloading this report by clicking on the downward pointing arrow. Open the spreadsheet to analyze the data further.

You can also add phone details from the Column menu in the Campaigns tab. Data like number of phone calls and the average price-per-call can be viewed, down to the adgroup level.

Bid-per-calls

When call extensions were first introduced, all phone calls were charged $1. Google now allows you to bid separately on phone calls and clicks. Say Susie at your office has a very warm personality and does a great job of making sales over the phone.

A phone call may be worth more to you than a visit to your e-commerce site. Simply increase the bid on your phone calls. This can improve the position of your ad while still keeping the price-per-click the same.

As with any new feature within AdWords, it is important to test. So give call extensions a try but pay attention to the results. If sales increase, make sure to take Susie out for a nice cup of coffee!

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About Eric Wortman

Eric Wortman is a PPC analyst at Pure Visibility. He specializes in ads for Search, Social, Mobile, as well as Local SEO. Eric is founding co-chair of SEMPO Michigan and an experienced speaker. He lives in sunny downtown Ann Arbor and is good at soccer, excellent on Facebook, and horrible at photography. You can find him on Google+.

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