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Google’s New Call-Only Campaigns: Everything Search Marketers Need To Know

by Travis Fairchild | February 23, 2015

Click-to-call is the dominant ad format for mobile search. Earlier this month, the Marchex Institute released a study estimating that consumers would click-to-call from search more than 1 billion times in 2015 and advertisers would spend more than $4 billion.

It may be time to revise these estimates upwards as Google AdWords’ latest changes signal a further commitment to phone calls as an ad format. Essentially, Google is reintroducing an ad format that was available when Google first allowed phone calls in mobile ads. Read their announcement here, which also includes some new data that 70% of mobile consumers call a business from a mobile search.

This change is the strongest signal yet that mobile performance is all about the phone call. Advertisers now have three distinct ways to bid on phone calls.

#1 – Click to a mobile landing page to call

#2 – Call Extension

#3 – Call-only

With that, here is everything search marketers need to know about this new ad format.

  • Call-only ads allow advertisers to create ads that are targeted only to mobile devices that are call enabled
  • These ads will be click-to-call only, meaning that consumers will not have an option to visit a landing page.
  • Call-only ads are now a biddable event.
  • Before this change, there was a single Google forwarding phone number at the ad group. Now, advertisers can assign phone numbers at the ad level to allow testing for multiple call-only ads.

A screen capture of the interface is below:


Now more than ever, with three ways to bid for phone calls and Google’s emphasis on the ad format in mobile, advertisers need a comprehensive, complete way to view call outcomes (sale, new customer, conversation) by keyword to optimize CPA. Marchex Call Analytics for Search provides 100% attribution for all phone calls from paid search and supports all AdWords ad types.

This additional option of “call-only ads” emphasizes the importance to marketers of having an enterprise-class call analytics platform to optimize investments in paid search.   For years, enterprise marketers wouldn’t be caught dead without Web analytics, the same is now true for call analytics.

If you have any questions for us about this new ad format, or about Marchex Call Analytics for Search, please reach out to me at tfairchild at marchex dot com.

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