Google Introduces “Call Only” Mobile Ads to AdWords

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Though we often think of internet marketing as a singular idea, internet marketing is truly various forms of marketing that take advantage of the internet. This is more than an esoteric exercise; it’s important for business owners and marketers to understand that the goals and strategies for their campaign need to change for the medium  (social media, mobile marketing, etc.) they’re using. Google has recently introduced a new ad type that will greatly help mobile marketing campaigns. Google added a “Call Only” ad format for mobile ads on Google AdWords.

When people use mobile devices to search for information, they often have different goals than people who are searching from a desktop. For example, if a person searches for a local business, there’s a good chance they want to get a number so they can call the business. According to a Google and Ipsos report, 70 percent of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results. Google’s new call only ad format for mobile will give marketers and advertisers the chance to beat their competitors to the punch by giving them a usable number first.

The new campaign feature simplifies tactics that were available on AdWords before, but required the use of more advanced feature. These new, easy-to-use call only ads prominently show the business’ phone number, business description and call button on the results pages of mobile searches. Instead of taking the user to the website or app, clicking a call only ad will open the user’s phone and pre-populate it with the number provided by the advertiser. It’s still up to the user to press the call button.

Phone-for-katie_vt_1For some businesses, a call only ad format is a much better option than traditional ads that link to a landing page on a website. For example, it may be preferable for a insurance agency or consulting firm to get people to call them directly for quotes than sending the people who clicked the ad to a form on a website. This matches what was reported by one of the companies that first tested the ad format.

“Our customers are increasingly calling us on their mobile devices to get an insurance quote,” said Jason Johnson, the Marketing Director of Clearlink Insurance, in a Google blog post. The great part about call-only ads is that they give us the ability to bid based on the value of a call so we can meet the specific ROI goals that we have set up for sales that come through the phone.”

These ads also are flexible with how the text of the ad can appear. Each line of text can be hidden in order for the entire ad to look its best on any mobile phone. Business owners can tailor ads with creatives like “speak to a specialist today” or “call to make an appointment” to let consumers know the ad will let them speak to a service provide without having to visit a site first. This sort of convenience is what mobile consumers want.

There are some limitations to the new ad format. Currently, call-only campaigns are available for ads targeting the Search Network. It should also be noted that it’s still pay per click, not pay per call. Business owners are charged each time someone clicks the ad, even if the person decided not to make the call. However, call-only campaigns only show on mobile devices that can make phone calls. This means every click the advertiser pays for could have been a phone call to the business.

Getting people to call a business directly is a good tactic for mobile marketers and call only ads work toward that goal. For businesses where calls can be more valuable than clicks, the call only ad format is something to consider. For more recent changes to Google AdWords, read this article on the new in-store sales metrics tool Google recently introduced.


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