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May 21, 2015

Google call extensions

An alternative touch point for your customers.

You can no longer include your phone number in the basic ad copy, thereby encouraging you to now make the most of the call extension facility found in the ad extensions tab.

To put it simply, call extensions allow you to include a phone number in your standard text ad. The customer will be able to view the number without even needing to click on the ad itself!


“Should my business be using Google call extensions?‚Äù

Think about your objectives!

Depending on the type of business, displaying this additional information with your search ads can add value or may, in fact, be more of a distraction. Remember, although providing more information to your ads is advised by Google, it is not always the right move!

Call extensions are a great solution for the type of business that really values a phone call lead. However, typically for eCommerce, you may rather purchases happen or information to be gathered via your site. If your site is truly efficient and effective, do you really need to employ more time into the management of a phone line? Invest in providing relevant information online and making the buying process as user friendly as possible.

When call extensions may be profitable for eCommerce:

We work with a couple of customers whose range of products are prohibited due to online selling restrictions; these include pharmaceutical and health products. In these instances we recommend a ‚Äòcall to order’ method, where a customer can call a sales advisor for more information and to proceed with a payment.

If products are of a particularly high value, then be aware that customers may prefer to complete their order by speaking to a sales advisor. Providing a call option and the opportunity of a real conversation will often gain more trust and offer reassurance to potential customers.

Or perhaps your business sells a brand or product that is especially popular with the older generation. Carry out some market research and discover how savvy seniors like to purchase, you may discover that this is via a phone call – It pays to know your market!

Choose when your call extension appears

If your business’ call line is open 9-5pm, ensure that call extensions only appear within this time frame by adding a custom schedule. You can do this when you are first implementing the ad or you can edit after it has been set up.

You may also want to segment your audience by device preference and limit your call extensions to only show to customers using mobile devices. Mobile users are much more likely to take action as their call extension will be clickable offering an instant option to call, unlike on desktop when it will simply appear as numbers.


Another way to segment your audience would be through creating location-targeted campaigns and adding specific call extensions to them. An example of when you may gain from doing this is if you have several businesses in different locations. For customers shopping in London you may want the London store number to appear and similar with a Manchester store.

How to add or edit:

Once you have added a call extension to a campaign, you can simply click on that call extension to return-to and edit the settings. Bear in mind that if you change a call extension, it will also change all instances of that. You can also add call extensions at ad group level, simply select them from the campaign level to apply them to that group.

Track your calls

Conversion tracking is a handy free feature that is often overlooked, in fact business’ often pay additional charges to third party software for tracking. If you are analytical and granular with your account then no doubt you will want to track calls generated from your AdWords activity.

Choosing ‚ÄòShow my ad with a Google forwarding phone number and use call reporting’ will enable tracking. A unique Google forwarding number will be served on each ad to allow you to track what ads and keywords generate calls. In addition to this, by implementing an additional piece of code on your site, you can extend the unique number to display on your site too. If a user doesn’t call when viewing the ad but calls after clicking on the ad and landing on your site, the call can still be tracked back to the relevant activity.


What’s the policy?

  • The phone number included must be accurate, active and relevant.
  • No fax numbers allowed.
  • Domestic numbers only that are local to the country you are targeting.
  • No premium numbers that require customers to pay additional charges.
  • No vanity numbers that include letters.
  • The phone number in your call extension should have an active voicemail to ensure people can always connect in some way.

This blog is one of a series that I am currently working on, talking about each type of ad extension in depth and how they can work for your business. If you are looking for a brief introduction to Google ad extensions then take a look at my intro piece here.