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  • Joe Karasin

Google Call Ads

One of the more powerful ad types Google has offered over the years are call-only ads. These ads were designed to get consumers to call your business directly. They would only display on devices that could make calls (i.e. smartphones). Earlier this year, the name was changed to Google Call Ads. In principle, they are the same. But there is one key difference which we'll discuss below.


Call-only Ads were simple. They had one main headline that featured your phone number, and then a second headline to let the consumer know what they were calling about. This was an incredibly potent tool, as social media ads do not have the call option built into their platform. Certain types of businesses could capitalize on the need to get someone on the phone ASAP.


For example, not too long ago, I had a client that owned a towing company. They would do mostly junk car removals, but also did emergency tows. We ran a call-only campaign to promote the emergency tow business. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer in that scenario. You have a car that won’t move, it’s dark out, and you just want to get the car fixed and back home. Are you going to research the various towing companies, comparing reviews and pricing models? No. You are going to call the first number that pops up when you Google “need a tow”.


And that is precisely what happened. The emergency towing business grew by over 70% over the course of the year. Most towing companies weren’t willing to spend the money to promote their business on Google. This company was, and it was worth every penny.


How Call Only Ads Worked

The call-only ad was interesting, as it actually took TWO clicks to get the phone call. A consumer would click the ad. The phone would open the call application with the number, and the consumer would then push the call button.


Google would charge for the first click, not the call or the conversion. This could lead to a scenario where you would have 100 clicks on the ad, but only have received 10-30 calls. But being charged for all 100 clicks could get expensive.


However, the user was faced with a choice upon clicking...call or not. No website. No form to complete. Simply call and speak with a live person. If you own a business that benefits from inbound calls, you understand the power of this type of advertising.


The Update

Cut to 2020. Google is now enabling a final URL option to be included in your call ads. This means that when your ad displays, the consumer will be able to either click the call now button, or be taken to your website.


What does this mean? Early case studies show that the CTR’s for these new ads are hovering around the same as call-only ads. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the prior iteration led to a number of wasted or false clicks, due to the number of consumers that would not press their call button.


The URL option adds a secondary path to earn a conversion (and potential business). By driving the searcher to either call directly or visit a landing page, a business owner might be able to create a lead from a contact form. In addition, by adding a call button on the landing page, you give the consumer an opportunity to call you after verifying information, making them more comfortable.


But what about the total number of calls from ads? There hasn’t been a real increase in calls, and in some cases, the number of calls has decreased. This might be due more to the fact that younger consumers are less likely to call someone than fill out a form or use messaging to interact with brands. (We’ll cover the removal of messaging extensions in another post).


The Bottom Line

For many businesses, the inbound call ad is still going to be a high converter. There are plenty of business models where a phone call is the most appropriate method of lead generation. Something else to consider is intent. If you are looking for less volume, but higher intent customers, then these ads might also be a boon for your business.


Practically speaking, I have seen these ads do wonders in several industries. In particular, lawyers tend to do very well with inbound call marketing. Emergency services, such as urgent care clinics are another business model that lends itself to call ads.


Are you hoping to increase your inbound call volume, and want a professional to help you achieve your goals. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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