Build Your Skills: Google AdWords Call-Only Campaigns for Local Marketers

For some time now, the majority of paid search clicks and impressions have been on mobile devices, and for the last two quarters, mobile paid search spending has eclipsed desktop spending.


Because the majority of paid search ads are now on phones, why not take advantage of this opportunity and encourage potential customers to call you? According to Google, 70% of mobile searchers click to call directly from the search results to connect with a business.

Even though so much business these days can be conducted via the web, phone calls are still an important channel for research and purchasing — especially for local businesses. Sending people to your website is great, but it could also distract them from doing what you really want them to do and that is to call you. As a local marketer, you can use this engagement to build valuable one-on-one relationships with your customer base.

Google Call-Only ads will only appear on devices that can make calls. Clicks on these ads will only generate phone calls, not visits to your website. The intuitive insight might be that Call-Only campaigns are just for call-oriented businesses, but Google research has shown that this ad type can work across industries.

These campaigns can be particularly effective for advertisers that don’t necessarily have a mobile-optimized website with a great user experience. Local businesses with complex offerings might even find more value with talking through their products and services with potential customers versus relying solely on a website to sell.

How to Build a Google Call-Only Campaign

Step #1: Click the Campaign tab for the Search Network Only option.


Step #2: On the next page, select the Call-Only campaign option and name your new campaign


Step #3: Create your ad copy as you would with any paid search text ad. Note that the Verification URL is the page on your website where your phone number is listed. This lets Google verify that the phone number you list is yours to promote.


Step #4: Push your campaign live and start receiving calls. Manage bids, budgets, and other settings as you would any Google search campaign.

And now your phone should start ringing.

Google Call-Only Campaigns Best Practices

  • Bid to value, don’t just use your regular paid search bid. When setting your bid, make sure you take into account the value of what a phone call means to your business. This might be (or not be) worth even more than a click to your website so put some thought into what those bids will be so you don’t overpay for calls. Additionally, don’t underpay and miss out on calls that might go to a competitor instead.
  • Match the ad copy to the context. Use relevant call-only text in your ads so that consumers immediately understand that they will be calling your business. For example, speak to one of our specialists now or call for more information are great calls-to-action (no pun intended).
  • Don’t pay for voicemails. Make sure you use ad scheduling to only show your Call-Only ads when your business is open and answering calls. Google doesn’t know when you are there or not there so don’t waste your budget on calls made when you’re not answering. You can choose both the days of the week and hours in those days.
  • Be ready for those calls. Each call is going to cost you something, so be prepared for a bump in inbound calls. If you get overwhelmed, you might want to slow your campaign spend a bit until you can staff it appropriately.

Use the Google Forwarding Feature

When building your ad, use the Show my ad with a Google forwarding phone number so you can get detailed call-level reporting that you wouldn’t get by just listing your direct line.

Customers won’t feel any disruption as their calls will get routed through a Google forwarding number to your business line. This feature lets you track calls within AdWords with individual call durations, area codes, and other metrics that will help you optimize your Call-Only ads over time. You will be able to better understand the most valuable ad creative and also fine-tune your bids to the value generated by your inbound calls.

According to Google, the benefits of Google call tracking include:

  • See which keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns are best at driving the most valuable phone calls to your business
  • Understand your return on investment (ROI) and make better-informed decisions about your ad spend
  • Use automated bid strategies (such as target CPA) that automatically optimize your campaigns according to your business goals

What information will you get with Google call tracking?

You’ll find the following details available for each call to your Google forwarding numbers:

  • Start time
  • End time
  • Duration
  • Caller country code
  • Caller area code
  • Status (missed or received)
  • Call source
  • Call type
  • Campaign
  • Ad group
  • Search keyword
  • AdPhone cost

Learn more about analyzing call data from the Google Help Center article on this topic.

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