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Google AdWords Shake Up Rules For Telephone Numbers

If you’re currently displaying your business telephone number in the copy of your Google AdWords PPC ads then you’re going to want to read this very timely article regarding some important changes…

Google have just announced a feature called “Call Extensions”, which allows people to click-to-call your business straight from your ad on a mobile device in order to make it easier for your customers to get a hold of you when they need to.

This works on smart phones, tablet devices as well as desktop computers. For the former, your ad will include a “call” button that the user can tap that will instantly click-to-call the number you choose. This will appear in a Google Search, Google Mobile App, Voice search and on Google Maps listings.

On a tablet or desktop computer, however, your number will only appear if you’re using a legacy call extension that uses forwarding phone numbers or upgraded call extensions. You can read all about these here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there…

The biggest change is this: In two weeks time you will longer be able to display a telephone number within the copy of your ad. Google are telling us that you’ll need to use the Call Extensions feature as described above instead. This change will be rolling out to anyone creating new ads in the next couple of weeks, and by April 2013 any ads that still have phone numbers already displayed in them will be disapproved by Google.

What can you do to counter this?

This change has come as a bit of an ache, as putting your phone number in the copy of your ad has actually been proven to reduce cost per phone call (proven with Mediahawk’s software), but by refining your marketing process you can still get around this.

If you’re using a call tracking number, be sure to place this in the new call extensions feature so it’s mobile ready. Investigate the other options if you still want to be contactable straight from the SERPs.

The best way to do this is by having an incredibly compelling CTA on your advert that will get the user to click through to your landing page, making this page pull the marketing weight on the other side. This puts the prospect through a guided process through your website and will increase likelihood that they will pick up the phone to call you.

Once you make sure your landing page and ad are relevant to the keyword you’re targeting, you’ll find that your quality score and position in the SERPs can increase while CPC decreases. PPC should be used as a channel for driving high quality traffic, not a platform for selling.

Refresh your AdWords strategy before April creeps up on you – whether that be optimising your website or taking advantage of the legacy or upgraded call extensions.

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