Is your search campaign taking advantage of Google Call Extensions?

Call Tracking

Local companies are a good example of advertisers whose paid search goals include receiving phone calls. A recent study showed that 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results.

Often there is no comparison to talking to a live person. This can be the case when a prospect is searching for a business in the service industry, as well as other verticals like travel, auto, finance, etc. The days of simply including the advertiser’s phone number within Google paid search ad text may be gone but call extensions enable an advertiser to still have a phone number appear with their ad.

Google AdWords Call Extensions are an ad extension format that allows searchers to call a business directly from the paid search ad. There are several ways to configure call extensions depending on your needs, as well as some challenges in navigating Google’s reporting of their results.

Using call extensions, your number can show on desktop searches as well as mobile searches in the form of a clickable button. This can be customized to show only on mobile devices. The cost is the same as a regular ad click, you can use your own actual number, or a Google forwarding number.

With the forwarding number, you can view call insights which include call time, duration and area code.

As with all ad extensions, which also include location, seller ratings, reviews and site links, Google uses several factors to determine whether and how they will show. These include ad position, rank, keyword quality score and max bid. If you have several ad extensions enabled there is a chance not all of them will be shown.

When it comes to reporting results, AdWords offers call details if using a Google forwarding number, as well as many data views which offer great information but also can cause some confusion. Google has made some changes to call extensions over the past weeks which improve how results are viewed from within the AdWords interface. For example, call conversions are now tallied into the total of regular ad click conversions, instead of being shown separately in a call conversions column.  Additionally there is a ‘phone call conversions’ column that displays only phone calls longer than a user-specified minimum duration. Another view under ad extensions differentiates clicks to call from call conversions, which offers insight to calls where the user may have clicked to call but chose to not to go through with placing the call when their mobile device’s dialog box appeared. The conversions view under the ‘Tools’ menu in AdWords also shows the conversion data broken out by ad clicks and phone calls. So when tracking phone calls, Google offers a lot of reporting insight but requires some digging to see the full picture.


Google AdWords Call Extensions offer a valuable extension to your paid search efforts which allow searchers to reach an advertiser and convert by phone from search ads. Local and other businesses that value leads in the form of phone calls which are already using Google paid search, can add value to their existing efforts by using call extensions.

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