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Click-to-Call & Paid Search: Best Practices And Secrets From The Pros

The original post appeared in both Search Engine Land and Marketing Land

5 marketing experts share what you can do right now to transform your click-to-call campaigns

Research from Google has shown that the most common response to a mobile local search is a phone call.  Advertisers have caught on, widely adopting click-to-call ad units in Google and Bing. In fact, consumers are expected to click to call directly from paid search ads to the tune of $4 billion in advertising spend in 2016.

How does a marketer maximize ROI from paid search click-to-call ads? Marchex sat down with five experts to find out their pro tips that can give your click-to-call campaigns that certain je ne sais quoito stand out from the competition and drive leads and conversions to your business.

Erin Sagin, PPC Evangelist and Community Manager at WordStream

Upgrading the call experience takes the place of landing page CRO.

With click-to-call campaigns, searchers are bypassing the mobile landing page experience altogether, which is fantastic for advertisers who don’t have the resources to optimize their mobile landing pages. However, because you are now connecting searchers directly with a representative of your company, you must ensure that your team is prepared to deal with an influx of incoming calls. I recommend running test calls to understand and improve your callers’ experience and closely monitoring call volume to be sure you are sufficiently staffed. If you do not have around-the-clock coverage, you may even want to use day-parting so your campaigns are only running during business hours. In a nutshell, for advertisers running click-to-call campaigns, call center staff training will take the place of landing page CRO.

click to call options on mobile search results

Brad Roberts, VP Digital Marketing & e-Commerce at Allconnect

Use a call analytics provider to automatically score every phone call.

Some of Allconnect’s biggest opportunities for optimizing click-to-call campaigns in paid search occurred for us when we were able to automatically score every single phone call automatically using call analytics. Specifically, we understand from our call analytics partner whether or not the call was likely a conversion piped directly into our automation platform, which allows us to better optimize our bids and keywords just like we would an e-commerce campaign. We’re even starting to optimize the call center based on this data.

diagram how search ad leads to phone calls

Lucy Williams, Data Scientist at Marchex

Landing page abandonment may be the wrong metric to look at.

When call campaigns go to a landing page, many consumers will not follow through with a phone call. Your initial reaction may be to focus on call-only campaigns; however, this overlooks the importance of consumer research in determining conversion rate.

Prospects who click through to the landing page may not end up calling as frequently, but those who do have a greater understanding of your business, are more informed about your products and may be more likely to result in a conversion. In fact, callers from a landing page are sometimes twice as likely to buy, whereas click-to-call prospects are twice as likely to call.

At this point, it is up to the business to decide which prospect works better for their business model: a higher call volume with a lower conversion rate, or a lower call volume with a higher conversion rate.


Amy Bishop, Director of Audits, Onboarding and Training at Clix

On landing pages, make the phone number visible and clearly clickable.

It’s incredibly important to understand the quality and quantity of calls in order to allocate budget and to optimize toward the best ROAS possible. There are a few different ways to do this. If using call extensions, it’s beneficial to set length-of-call standards for conversion tracking. This helps to weed out junk calls to ensure that you are optimizing toward quality traffic. It’s also beneficial to track calls (click-to-call, at minimum) in your site analytics platform to be analyzed and reported among other on-site data points. Last but not least, you should understand the value of a call based upon close rates and sale values, so that you can allocate budget and optimize accordingly, especially when other conversion factors are also in play.

My tip for increasing click-to-calls: keep the phone number in mind when optimizing landing pages. In addition to the placement on the page, creating a button around the phone number can increase visibility while also allowing visitors to quickly identify the click-to-call functionality for ease of conversion.

call tracking numbers diagram

Rudy Moreno, Director of Search Engine Marketing, Operations at Marchex

Your keywords can impact call-only vs. click-to-landing page.

Your keyword selection for your campaigns is integral to get the best optimization and the best ROI. I recommend using branded keywords for your call-only campaigns and more generic, broader keywords for enhanced campaigns with call extensions.

The reasoning for this comes down to which prospects are searching for you. People who use generic keywords like “local plumber” or “nearby car repair” are in a research phase of the conversion funnel. They want to gain more information and decide where they’re going to get value and see benefits from their purchase. You have the opportunity to provide them that information in your landing page copy. While they’re on that landing page, they also have access to a call button, which makes for a good customer experience.

Conversely, those who are coming to your ad based off a branded search query are more likely to make a purchase from you. They’ve done the research, they know what they’re looking for, and you want to give them that direct route to your sales funnel.

brand search deeper funnel than generic search

Next Steps

And there you have it. Pro-Tips from the pros themselves. Implementing all of these tips will give you a leg up on your competition, while ensuring that you are providing a top-notch experience for your customers. Go for the gold with your click-to-call campaigns, deliver a stellar ROI and reach prospects who are searching for you in the most effective way possible.

To find out more about how to maximize your mobile search click-to-call campaigns, read Marchex’s paper, “The $4 Billion Blind Spot: Why Search Marketers Need Keyword Attribution for Click-to-Call.” Or check out our product, Marchex Call Analytics for Search.