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Creating a Call Only AdWords Campaign

Since I first wrote about Click-to-Call only a year ago, my opinions on the matter have changed. As is often the case in life, the more you learn the more you question your previous assumptions. Since that time, it seems as though there may very well be more con’s than pro’s, when it comes to trying to create a call only campaign. This may be an option that you still want to experiment with, but as you do – Keep these things in mind: What are the Pro’s and Con’s of creating a call only AdWords campaign?

More Phone Calls To Your Business:

Pro: Click to call only may very well generate more click-to-call clicks from mobile devices for your AdWords campaigns. If phone calls are the goal of these campaigns, you may think: “Awesome! More phone calls is exactly what I want – How could there possibly be any con’s to that!”

Con: A click-to-call click is just that, a click which initiated a phone call. That does not mean that the click-to-call click was intentional, or that a phone call was completed or received. When you use click-to-call only, any click on the ad will result in an initiated call. If the user’s intent was to click through to the website by clicking on the headline of the ad, an initiated unintended phone call may provide a “bad user experience”.  Not only may you not get the call, you may get charged for a click which didn’t even result in a visit to the website.

The Solution:

There are several things you can do to try and prevent unintentional initiated click-to-call clicks, When creating a call only AdWords campaign:

1. Device targeting. Selecting all mobile devices is not enough to create a click to call only campaign. Devices such as an iPod Touch are an example of mobile devices which are capable of searching the internet, but not capable of making a phone call. Remember that your device targeting at the campaign level determines what devices your ads can show on, and the call extensions settings determine how your ads are displayed when a call extension is shown. If you target all mobile devices, then ads still may show on devices that are not capable of making a phone call – Regardless of the call extension settings.

2. A call extension must be shown with the ad. If your ad rank is not high enough to show a call extension, or another ad extension(s) is (are) shown in lieu of your call extension, then none of those clicks will result in a click-to-call. If you are trying to create a call only campaign, then make sure your call extension is your only ad extension. In addition, don’t try to “low-ball” your bids for this campaign. Find out what an acceptable cost per call is, and bid accordingly. Then segment the campaign by device, and click type to see what the ratio of mobile impressions to mobile click-to-call impressions is. Every impression for a mobile device over the the number of click-to-call impressions are impressions that could not possibly result in a click-to-call click.

3. Target only carriers capable of processing a phone call. In most cases, if a wi-fi network is available, then odds are that a carrier (cell phone service provider) network is also available. However, if the mobile device capable of making a call cannot make a call is only connecting to the internet through a wi-fi connection, then that device will not be able to initiate a call from the ad. There are so few instances where this may be an issue, the potential impression share that could be lost due to opting out of wi-fi is minimal. Consider opting out of wi-fi as a safeguard to prevent any more impressions that could not meet your goal of a call only campaign.

In Conclusion:

Just because an option or tool is available in AdWords, doesn’t mean you have to use that option. Creating a call only AdWords campaign with a 100% ratio of total clicks : click-to-call clicks, and 100% of those clicks resulting in intended completed phone calls may not be a possibility. After all, when do 100% of the clicks on your AdWords ads result in a goal completion (with any kind of volume)? If you still want to experiment with creating a call only AdWords campaign, by all means do! Just remember that AdWords advertising is always an ongoing process, and try not to get frustrated if you don’t immediately get the results you desire. 🙂

6 Comments
  1. Thanks for this info. Lots of good details. One thing that I just emailed my Google support team about is the disclaimer of ” Call forwarding does not work on campaigns with CPA or autobid” Most I think dont realize this. If you enable call forwarding it will be overlooked if you enable Autobid or Conversion optimizer.

  2. Call forwarding extensions do absolutely work with CPA bidding. However, you can NOT show call forwarding call extensions with CPC auto bidding. The documentation is not correct, and unfortunautely, still doesn’t seem to have been changed. I wrote about automatic bidding and call forwarding extensions here (before the official google documentation about about auto bidding existed), but will update the post to note that call forwarding extensions do absolutely work with CPA bidding.

  3. Hi

    The way I was taught by the Google technician I work with is that if you open ad extensions and then click on the number to edit it, you have a choice of selecting under “Show the following links”: either “Both my website and the phone number,” or “Just the phone number.” And if you select “Just the phone number,” then the only option surfers will have, when they see your ad,” is to initiate the click to call. I heard from someone that a Google research survey indicated that 95% of people who initiate the click to call, which initiates the charge, actually complete the call. Do you agree with that figure?

  4. NO. If you have call tracking software, or even just google call forwarding extension (call metrics) data, you may find a 30-50% initiated click to call clicks to completed phone calls ratio at best. Would you believe the fox who tells you the henhouse is safe, or might you go and check, at least occasionally?

  5. I agree. That 30% to 50% of mobile click to call are incompleted. I got an official answer from Google here. When I complained about the status Quo: https://www.en.adwords-community.com/t5/Measure-results/Mobile-clicks-to-call-vs-Tracked-phone-calls-mobile/m-p/115904#M4874

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