How to use Call-Only campaigns in Google AdWords

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On February 20 2015, Google AdWords introduced call-only campaigns. As this feature is still relatively new, a lot of people are still trying to get their head around what exactly call-only campaigns are, as well as how and when they should be used. With this in mind, we thought it might be helpful to try to answer some of these common questions so that you can begin making the most of this new feature!

What are call-only campaigns?

Call-only campaigns encourage people to call your business by prominently displaying the phone number in the headline of the ad, as well as having a ‘click to call’ button. This differs from previous ‘call extensions’ that would just show a ‘click to call’ button on mobile, and a number as an ad extension on desktop. With call extensions it was difficult to exclude desktop traffic and prevent clicks through to the website. The ads in call-only campaigns are specifically designed to only show on mobile devices that can make phone calls, with no option to click through to the website. This means that none of your budget will be ‘wasted’ on clicks through to the website when your aim is to drive phone calls.


When should they be used?

Reasons for using call-only campaigns may include:

1) The average value of calls are significantly higher than the value of a click through to your website, often due to phone calls converting at a much higher rate or the ability to upsell on phone calls.

2) Your site is not mobile-friendly, meaning that that mobile traffic on your site does not convert.

3) Having a complex product or service where potential customers want to (or need to) talk to a person.

Possible reasons for not using call-only campaigns, or just using call extensions:

1)  On-site conversion rates are high on mobile.

2) Not having the resource to deal with an increased volume of calls.

3) Calls from your customers are very time consuming and conversion value from calls is less than the time investment.


Setting up call-only campaigns

Call-only campaigns are set up the same as any other campaigns – you just have to ensure that you select the ‘call-only’ campaign type. You can change your existing campaigns over to this type, but we would only recommend this if is a campaign that is already focused on calls from mobile. With other campaigns, we would recommend that you either start from scratch, or duplicate your existing campaigns, change the campaign type to ‘call-only’ and change out the ads to be call-only.

How to set up Call-only campaigns

Also, don’t forget to adjust your campaign scheduling to fit the hours that your business call centre is open!


Writing ads to drive calls

Once your call-only campaign is set up, you will need to create new ad copy. The ads are similar to regular search ads, except the phone number replaces the headline. This means that the ad description lines of your exiting ads may not be appropriate for this new ad type. Instead of having the key information and keywords in the headline, this will need to be in the first description line. The second description line should be used to encourage the potential customer to call by having a call to action such as ‘call a local specialist today.’

Setting up call-only ads.


Measuring the calls you receive

As call-only campaigns only result in ‘click-to-call’ clicks, not website clicks, the number of clicks reported at a campaign, ad group, and keyword level represents the number of times the ‘call’ button was clicked. However, this does not record how many of these actually resulted in a call being completed. In order to get more information about the calls you are receiving, you will need to select the option of using Google forwarding numbers when you create a call-only ad.

How to set up ads with Google forwarding number.

You can then view details about the calls through adding call detail columns as well as by going to the dimensions tab and selecting ‘call details’.

Finding call details in AdWords for call-only campaigns.

NB: Unfortunately, Google forwarding numbers can only be used in Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US.

For more information about call-only campaigns, visit the Google AdWords Blog or contact Search Republic.

Leanne discovered her passion for marketing and data during her Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in Marketing. Leanne’s wide knowledge of digital marketing, in particular paid search, SEO and social media, has flourished after working alongside some of the best minds in the industry at Online Republic and Search Republic. She has passed all of Google's qualifications and prides herself on staying up to date with the latest industry news and trends.

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