Pay-per-Call: Google Introduces “Call-Only” AdWords Units
February 20, 2015 | Contributed by: Greg Sterling
Recognizing the importance of calls to local and many national merchants, Google is allowing AdWords advertisers now to bid on “Call Only” ads. This was discovered by Philly Marketing Labs. Here’s the official blog post.
Advertisers can use a Google tracking number or their own (as in call extensions). Previously Google required a landing page or website to enable a click-through. These ads only provide an option to call a business.
The ads show a phone number and a call button. Google says that advertisers who only want calls should use this format and can bid exclusively on calls.
Previously AdWords clicks or calls (via call extensions) were billed as clicks. Marketers paid the same price regardless of whether users called or clicked when the calls option launched several years ago.
Google’s belief at the time is that savvy marketers would start bidding up the value of those clicks because it was really calls they were after, which are inherently much more valuable than clicks. But by not creating a pure pay-per-call (PPCall) unit at the time Google sidestepped issues around call quality or duration.
Marchex previously estimated that mobile call extensions were a roughly $4 billion revenue driver for Google (and Bing) in 2014. In 2013 Google said that 70% of mobile searches have used the click-to-call button. Local services was the largest category generating calls at the time.
Now (or finally) Google has created a pure PPCall offering. While this meets the needs of advertisers who want calls and want to avoid clicks or worrying about landing pages, it’s probably also intended to boost the pricing of those ads by getting marketers to use call value as the bid calculus.