Google’s advertising options seem to be in a constant state of evolution. Features frequently appear (and sometimes disappear) as they try to find new ways to get our advertising dollars. At the end of February, they introduced a change that might appeal to customers who are more focused on phone calls than web site visits: call-only campaigns.
What are Call-Only Campaigns?
Call-only campaigns enable advertisers to easily create ads on Google that don’t include any clickable elements other than a “call” button. This isn’t exactly new functionality, but the introduction of call-only campaigns makes the path to a call-only ad much simpler. Instead of having to go through the relatively laborious process of setting up call extensions for individual ads, advertisers can simply create a Call-Only Campaign.
After you’ve created your call-only campaign, you’ll be prompted to create your first call-only ad.
There is one part of the setup process for call-only ads that might trip up some users: phone number verification. To make sure that your phone number is accurate, Google requires that you enter a display URL and a verification URL for your ad. The display URL will show up on your ad but any clicks on that ad will take the user to the dialer on their smartphone. The verification URL, which must be on the same domain as the display URL, must link to a page on your site that includes your business phone number.
There is another process for verifying your phone number, but it’s more involved and is best left to more advanced users. If you want more information on that process, you can find it on the Google Support page for call-only ads.
What’s the Catch?
Even though this is a call-only ad, you’ll still be paying by the click. Google’s AdWords offering on their search network still lacks a robust call tracking system that would allow them to bill on a per-call basis. You’ll want to take advantage of Google’s forwarding phone numbers or a third party call tracking system to determine if call-only ads perform better than ads containing both click and call actions.
It’s also worth considering that these ads will contain both a phone number and a display URL.
Make sure to keep track of your metrics, as high click volume coupled with low call volume could mean that customers expected a web site instead of the dialer on their phone. If that’s the case, then you might want to consider running regular text ads with call extensions. That will allow those users to find the information they want before they call your business.