The New Google AdWords Feature You're Not Using But Should Be

Google recently launched a new AdWords feature called Call Metrics, currently available in limited release, allowing AdWords advertisers to measure the quantity of phone calls generated by AdWords ads. This is long-overdue functionality from Google AdWords, having spawned multiple call-tracking vendors over the years. With the growth of mobile search, as well, Call Metrics now opens greater opportunity to effective, trackable mobile search advertising.

How It Works

After enabling Call Metrics on a Google AdWords account, Google auto-generates a phone number through Google Voice for each campaign and adds that phone number to the ad copy.

When a searcher sees the number in your ad and places a call to that number, Google reroutes the call to your own company phone number and tracks statistics like call duration. Advertisers can then see these statistics in the Google AdWords interface. In the near future, Google also plans to add information about the area codes of the callers, which can be helpful when trying to geotarget your campaigns.



Who Stands to Benefit Most from Call Metrics

Salespeople will tell you that they'd much rather have a live lead on the phone that a digital lead. Any company that uses inbound phone calls for sales will definitely benefit from the use of Call Metrics. Because not many companies are using it right now, Call Metrics also helps your ad stand out because it features extra, unique information.

Most importantly, though, Call Metrics provides much-needed tracking information for calls, closing the online-to-offline conversion-tracking gap. While Click-to-Call has been a Google AdWords feature for some time, allowing advertisers to let mobile users click on a phone number to call the advertiser directly, a non-mobile version of this offering has been missing. Click-to-Call does not extend to the desktop and the metrics didn't show call duration. With Call Metrics enabled, searchers can now see your phone number even on desktop-based searches (not just mobile-based searches) and call duration is also tracked.

The Initial Results

After only one week using Call Metrics, one client who sells insurance realized 11 phone calls averaging nearly seven minutes in length. That tells us that the ad respondents were likely qualified leads, since the average respondent didn't immediately disconnect, but rather, based on the metrics, appeared to engage with the salesperson on the other end. Overall, as a start, this seems to be a worthwhile feature to employ for this client.

Other Indicators to Check

What else can Call Metrics teach us? For companies with an inside sales team or telesales department, Call Metrics can help indicate which time of day is most effective for calls based on number of calls and call duration.

It can also serve as a signal on what hours the company is receiving calls. For instance, if the company runs AdWords ads in the evening, does the company begin receiving calls during those times? If so, it might be prudent to employ an after-hours sales team or a call center strategy.

More Improvement Needed

While the existing Call Metrics offering is a great start, there's still more that needs to be done to perfect the offering. For instance, if the searcher clicks on the ad and reaches the advertiser's website or landing page, there is not currently a way to easily show the same phone number from the ad on the landing page. Therefore, if a searcher clicks on the ad and uses the advertiser's regular phone number instead of taking an action to convert online, the call will not be tracked via Call Metrics. There may be technical ways to work around this issue as an advertiser, but currently there is no easy code snippet provided by Google to dynamically change the advertiser's phone number on the landing page to match the one shown in the search ad.

How To Enable Call Metrics

To find out if you're eligible to participate in Call Metrics, look for the setting under "Phone Extensions" in the "Ad Extensions" tab.  If you don't see Call Metrics as an option there, you can also request access to the Call Metrics option by filling out a request form.

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