Forget Clicks, Call-through Rate Could be New CTR Controlling Ad Position

AdWords Call Metrics are now available to all advertisers in the US and Canada. Launched towards the end of last year, call tracking has been limited to a small number of advertisers in the AdWords innovations program who expressed an interest in using Ad extensions.

The service works by auto-generating unique toll-free forwarding numbers to your business line and tracking the calls on every unique number.

Call Tracking numbers in Google AdWords ads

Now, the feature has been renamed, enhanced and made available to all advertisers across the US and Canada. The new service also introduces a new type of pricing for certain types of calls, so be sure to swot up on the details below:

AdGroup Level Call Metrics

Earlier this year the quality of call metrics data Google could provide was improved to include new data such as:

  • Call start time
  • Call end time
  • Call duration
  • Call status (missed or received)
  • Caller area code

However, this data could only be provided at a campaign. With today’s announcement, call tracking data can now be monitored at the AdGroup level.

Following the recent rollout of more robust mobile ad targeting, which enables specific targeting options for every type of mobile device including tablets, you will be able to see calls were received from mobile clicks-to-call and how many were manually dialed after the ad was shown on a desktop, notebook, or tablet computer.

New Pricing

To use call metrics you will have to agree to a flat-rate $1.00 USD charge to be applied to all calls made via the unique forwarding number which originate from desktop, notebook or tablet devices. This charge will replace the traditional click charge as search users will no longer have to click on an ad to call your business.

However, in the case of mobile searchers, where calling is integrated into the browser such that users can simply click the hyperlinked number in the ad to automatically dial your business, the normal click charges apply.

In conversation with Surojit Chatterjee, AdWords Product Manager, Chatterjee explained to Search Engine Watch (SEW) that as mobile users essentially click an ad, it made sense not to change the pricing, but in the cases of desktop searchers who can pick up the phone and call an ad directly from the search results, a charge needed to be applied in order to provide this new Ad extension capability on a large scale.

Previous experiments with call tracking proved successful for advertisers and yielded some interesting results. Displaying details for name, address and phone number (NAP) did not result in less clicks on ads, but instead seemed to improve click-through rate (CTR) whilst also boosting the number of calls made to the site. So now the main focus for AdWords is to give us much data back to the advertiser as possible. Consequently the $1.00 USD charge has enabled Chatterjee’s team to respond to advertiser feedback and invest in deeper call metrics at an AdGroup level as outlined above.

Call-Through Rate Will Eventually Affect Ad Position

The important word to note here is EVENTUALLY. Without reserve, Chatterjee told SEW that the call-through rate currently has no impact on the Ad Rank calculations that Google AdWords employs to determine ad position and cost-per-click (CPC).

Nonetheless, Chatterjee told SEW that there is a plan to release a new type of bidding which will allow bid per-call greater than $1.00 USD, adding that “in future it will affect the rank, and at that point we will provide more details.” The aim now is for advertisers to start experimenting with how the new metrics work against the current flat-rate charge and calculate what their future bids are likely to be in order to get off to a flying start when call-through rates and per-call bids start to affect ad position.

For now, advertisers should focus on ascertaining the quality of calls, timing of inbound calls and look at which areas they are coming from in order to calculate a  budget for call-in conversions. Vijay Malavia, Associate Search Director at Razorfish, who manages the search campaign for ADT said that, “Since we’ve started using Call Metrics, we’ve seen average daily call volume in the ADT call center increase. Quality of inbound calls has been solid — duration and conversion metrics are consistent with other sources. Having integrated reporting has made it much easier to project the total value ADT is getting from both calls and clicks from AdWords. And that’s helped us make better optimization and budget decisions.”

Getting Started

To get started, sign into AdWords and click on the Ad Extensions tab. Select Call Extensions (previously named Phone extensions) in the shaded View drop down box. Select your country, then enter the business phone number where you’d like to receive calls for this campaign. Finally, select the check box for Call metrics.

Call Extensions in AdWords

You can also find more details and answers to in Call Metrics FAQs on the AdWords Help Center.

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