Not too long ago I wrote about the top 3 new PPC features I saw as the killer opportunities for this year.

Within 30 days of writing that post, Facebook introduced the ability to do native FB website remarketing right inside the Facebook Power Ads editor – circumventing FBX middlemen like Adroll.

Barely a month later, Google have dropped a bomb by introducing one of the most desired US Adwords features that Aussie advertisers have been asking for for years: Google Call Fowarding inside Adwords.

Curiously, Google have been very quiet on this (at the time of writing, Australia doesn’t appear on Google’s official Call Forwarding documentation) however this feature is so useful this has now become my fifth top PPC feature for 2014.

* Photo Credit: aizuddindanian via Compfight cc

Google Call Forwarding now available in Australia

Adwords Call Extensions now with Call Forwarding

What is Call Forwarding?

Essentially, Call Forwarding within Adwords allows an advertiser to use a Google-given phone number in their ads which, if clicked or dialled, will then redirect to the advertiser’s actual phone number, but trigger a conversion inside Adwords.

The Google Call Forwarding number will track inside Adwords:

  • Direct calls from Google searches on Smartphone (as per current, ‘Click to Call)
  • Manual calls from those typing in the forwarding number
  • Phone call impressions (number of times phone number was seen)
  • Phone through rate
  • Phone call details such as: start time, end time, duration etc

New Adwords Call Forwarding Metrics

How is it different to current Call Extensions?

Current call extensions allow advertisers to enter their existing phone number and for this to be seen on their Adwords ads. If the ad is shown on a smartphone, the number is converted to a clickable ‘Call to Click’ button giving mobile searchers the opportunity to call the advertiser at a touch.

With these existing Call Extensions, Conversions are only counted when the ‘Call to Click’ button is touched – manual calls dialled by users are *not* tracked. Also additional Phone Call Details (start time, end time, duration etc) cannot be tracked with current Call Extensions.

How much does Google Call Forwarding cost?

Making use of Google call forwarding is free, with ‘Click to Call’ touches being charged at CPC rates (same as with existing Call Extensions) – however usage requires agreeing to the Google Voice terms and conditions and privacy policy.

What are the pros and cons?

The main cons are that searches performed on Desktop or Tablet (where the phone number is *not* turned into a clickable call button) will show the Google Call Forwarding number instead of the advertiser’s actual number. Further, any searcher who calls the Google Call Forwarding number (either by clicking a ‘Click to Call’ button or manually dialling) who then stores this number will not be saving the advertiser’s actual number in their phone.

Also note that if a searcher lands on your website as a direct result of your ad, and dials the number shown on your website (as opposed to the Google Call Forwarding number in the ad), this will *not* be tracked.

For the above reasons Google Call Forwarding may be undesirable for certain advertisers.

On the positive, Google Call Forwarding is ideally suited for those businesses whose macro website conversion has been an enquiry/leadgen form submit (typically service based businesses). Now previously missed phone call conversions can be accounted for properly and a truer picture of the total effectiveness of leadgen through both web *and* calls can be tracked.

btw, Even though I’m posting this today, this is definitely *not* an April Fool!

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Pooja Parge

A good post! Can you expand on this more, with the Website Conversion tracking they now have in place? This apparently solves the problem you listed towards the end of the post.