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Call Extensions: An AdWords Manager’s Best Friend

White Shark Media

11 years ago



We all know that call extensions are a useful way to get your phone number on your AdWords ads. Actually, it’s the only way to show your phone number in your ads since Google began disapproving ads with phone numbers in headlines, descriptions and even display URLs.

But I think only few of us REALLY know how useful they are!

Call Extensions in the Real World

In a test run on one of my clients, 65% of calls I received during a one-month period were strictly from call extensions! This means that more than 200 desktop users performed searches and called the ad extension number directly, WITHOUT CLICKING ON THE AD! So these calls were (technically) free!

What would have happened if this particular customer did not have call extensions enabled? He would have cancelled long ago, that’s what! Most of his calls were the result of call extensions!

Are AdWords ads now being used as a phonebook? Do users pick out the best ad and call directly without even clicking through to the website? And if so, what does this mean for all our landing page optimization efforts?!

Ok, ok. So I may be exaggerating, it might not be the end of the advertising world; but we cannot deny that call extensions can affect AdWords performance immensely.

Call Extensions Can Decrease Your Cost Per Acquisition

Returning to my previous example, this customer received 580 calls in one month, including calls to numbers assigned exclusively to the ad extension. This means that number is found only on the call extension; if a customer were to click on the ad and be redirected to the website, a different number would be shown and the customers call would not be counted as a call extension conversion.

In the example above, 377 phone calls (65% of 580) were a direct result of call extensions. 377 calls! That’s A LOT!

Now, let’s say that customer’s monthly ad spend is $3,900, or about $70 a day. When we divide our ad spend by 203 calls (35% of total calls) attributed to clicks, we have a cost per call of $19.21. Not bad!

BUT, when we divide that same number by 580 calls, our cost per call drops to $6.72! And this is NOT BAD AT ALL!

If we close 1 out of every 4 calls, not unheard of, our cost per acquisition would be $26.88!

Now, this is a HUGE difference. This can be the difference between a client deciding to stay or leave.

These extra clicks would not have been received had call extensions not been enabled. And they wouldn’t have been counted had call tracking not been provided. So make sure you have a good call tracking service!

Now that we see the benefits of Call Extensions, let’s take a look at them in detail.

Enhanced Call Extensions

With Google’s enhanced call extensions, we are no longer limited to assigning a number at the campaign level. We now have the option to assign numbers at the ad group level.

All you need to do is navigate to the Ad Extensions tab and click on any particular ad group in a campaign and you will see the options below:

call extensions best friend 1

Also, with enhanced campaigns, we are given the option to target mobile devices that only show the phone number. We can also choose to target desktops where the website URL and phone number is shown.

call extensions best friend 2

Use a Google Forwarding Number or Install Call Tracking

With call extensions, you are given the option of using a Google forwarding number. This will allow you to use Google’s Integrated call reporting. Otherwise, use your own phone number with a call tracking service.

If you are a business with a budget to contract a call tracking service provider, then by all means, DO SO! The wealth of data you will receive from them is immeasurable! Actually, it is measurable and that’s the huge benefit you get from such services.

But, if you do not have the budget for hiring a call service provider, you can use Google’s forwarding number to be able to see which keywords and clicks convert to calls.

Those that don’t convert should get booted, and the result will be a higher ROI due to less wasteful spending.

As you can see in the above screen shot, we can also schedule call extensions. This allows us to show different phone numbers at certain times. For example, you could change your phone number after business hours when your answering service takes over. This will assure you do not miss any calls!

Enhanced Call Extensions Allow Us to Target Mobile Devices Only, Desktops and Tablets Only, or All Three Devices

call extensions best friend 3

I recently called a Google rep to get some help setting up these new enhanced campaigns (Hi Cat!), and below are the instructions she provided:

If Targeting Mobile Devices:

  • Check the Mobile box in the “Edit Phone Number” window.
  • Set Device Preference to Mobile Devices.

call extensions best friend 4

If Targeting Desktops and Tablets:

  • Leave device preference blank.
  • Show extension on desktops and tablets.

Businesses targeting both desktops and mobile devices can assign one call extension to desktops and one call extension to mobile devices.

More Bang for Your Buck

Call extensions will allow you to get more ‘bang for your buck’ by increasing the number of calls you receive throughout the day.

This is because, as we saw from the example above, many people are calling the phone number directly without clicking on your ad; meaning these calls technically don’t cost you anything!

These clickless calls don’t deplete your daily budget and therefore allow you to appear later into the day, attracting more impressions, customers and (clickless) calls.

True, you may suffer a bit as far as CTR is concerned, but in the end, I’m pretty sure our customers are more interested in calls than CTR.

More Reasons to Use Call Extensions

Recently, Google announced a change to how they calculate ad rank. Now “Ad Rank will also take into account a third component: the expected impact from your ad extensions”, which means if you would like to improve your Quality Score, add additional ad extensions to your ads (say that 5 times fast)!