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Google Ads Call Tracking & Call Extensions Guide

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At IronMonk, we’ve helped a ton of clients effectively increase phone calls from their Google Ad campaigns. However, before we get there, we always need to ensure Call Tracking conversions are setup properly.

Google Ads call tracking is a feature that allows you to measure the effectiveness of ads in generating phone calls to your business. By tracking calls as conversions, advertisers can better understand how their online advertising efforts lead to phone calls. Here’s a detailed overview on the benefits and on how to setup call tracking for your Google Ad campaigns:

How to Set Up Google Ads Call Tracking

  1. Create a Call Extension or Call-only Ad:
    • In your Google Ads account, navigate to “Ads & extensions” and then to “Extensions”.
    • Click the plus button to add a new extension and choose “Call extension”.
    • Enter your business phone number or set up a Google forwarding number for detailed tracking.
  2. Enable Call Reporting:
    • Use a Google forwarding number to enable call reporting. This provides detailed reports on call duration, start and end time, caller area code, and whether the call was connected.
  3. Set Up Call Conversions:
    • Go to “Tools & Settings” and under “Measurement”, click “Conversions”.
    • Click the plus button to add a new conversion action and select “Phone calls”.
    • Choose among the options for calls from ads, calls to a phone number on your website, or clicks on a number on your mobile website. We’ll explain the difference between each in the next section of this article.

Different Types of Google Ads Call Tracking

ability:

Call Tracking TypeKey FeaturesBenefits
Calls from Ads (Call Extensions/Call-only Ads)Direct call option from ads. No website visit required.Immediate engagement from search results. Captures high-intent leads. Ideal for mobile users ready to engage.
Calls to a Phone Number on Your WebsiteUses dynamic number insertion. Tracks calls post-website visit.Comprehensive path tracking (ad click to call). Insights into website interaction. Accurate conversion attribution.
Clicks on Your Number on Your Mobile WebsiteTracks clicks on call links/buttons on mobile site. Requires users to be on your mobile site.Insights into mobile site’s call prompts effectiveness. Data on mobile user experience. Targets improvements to increase mobile site call conversions.
Table comparing the different types of call tracking options on Google Ads

1. Calls from Ads Using Call Extensions or Call-only Ads

  • Description: This tracking type is directly integrated into your Google Ads. Call extensions add a phone number or call button to your existing ads, making it easy for users to call your business. Call-only ads are designed specifically for mobile users, displaying only on devices that can make calls, and encourage users to call you by tapping the ad.
  • Benefits:
    • Immediate Engagement: Allows potential customers to contact your business directly from the search results, reducing the steps needed to reach you.
    • High Intent Capture: Users who call directly from an ad often have high purchase intent, making these leads particularly valuable.
    • Specific Targeting: Ideal for mobile campaigns where immediate calls are desired, maximizing the impact of ads on users ready to engage.

2. Calls to a Phone Number on Your Website

  • Description: This method involves tracking calls made to your business after a user clicks on your ad and lands on your website. By using dynamic number insertion, your website displays a unique Google forwarding number to each visitor, which allows Google Ads to track calls back to specific ads, keywords, or campaigns.
  • Benefits:
    • Comprehensive Tracking: Captures the full path of customer engagement from ad click to website visit to phone call.
    • Insights into User Behavior: Provides insights into how users interact with your website before making a call, which can inform both website and ad optimizations.
    • Attribution Accuracy: Enhances the accuracy of conversion attribution, helping you understand which parts of your online presence drive phone calls.

3. Clicks on Your Number on Your Mobile Website

  • Description: This tracking focuses on users who click a phone number link or call button on your mobile website. It’s a form of tracking that specifically measures the effectiveness of your mobile site layout and content in prompting calls.
  • Benefits:
    • Mobile Optimization Insights: Offers valuable data on how well your mobile site encourages users to initiate a call, which is crucial for optimizing mobile user experience.
    • Targeted Conversion Data: Provides clear, actionable data on mobile website performance, allowing for targeted improvements to increase call conversions from mobile users.
    • User Experience Feedback: Acts as indirect feedback on the mobile user experience, indicating whether users find it easy and intuitive to call your business from their mobile devices.

Implementation Considerations

  • Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI): Essential for tracking calls to a phone number on your website. DNI technology swaps your standard business number with a Google forwarding number for users coming from your ads, enabling detailed tracking without altering the user experience.
  • Google Forwarding Numbers: These are unique phone numbers provided by Google that forward to your business phone number. They’re key to tracking calls accurately across all types of call tracking in Google Ads.
  • Conversion Tracking Setup: To effectively use these tracking types, you must set up conversion actions in your Google Ads account. This involves defining what constitutes a conversion (e.g., call duration) and can vary based on the type of call tracking used.

By leveraging these different types of Google Ads call tracking, advertisers can gain a nuanced understanding of how their advertising efforts drive phone calls. Each tracking type offers unique insights, enabling advertisers to tailor their strategies to capture high-intent leads, optimize their online and mobile presence, and ultimately drive more valuable customer engagements.

Benefits of Google Ads Call Tracking

  • Improved ROI Measurement: Enables precise measurement of return on investment by attributing phone calls directly to specific ads, keywords, or campaigns.
  • Optimization Opportunities: Insights from call data allow for the optimization of ad campaigns, ad scheduling, and bidding strategies based on the calls generated.
  • Customer Insights: Collects valuable data about the callers, such as the call duration and the geographic location of the caller, providing insights into customer behavior and preferences.
  • Comprehensive Conversion Tracking: Offers a more complete picture of conversion actions taken by potential customers, especially for businesses where phone calls are a significant conversion path.

By leveraging Google Ads call tracking, advertisers can make data-driven decisions to refine their marketing strategies and improve the performance of their campaigns. Setting up call tracking involves configuring call extensions, call-only ads, and conversion tracking within the Google Ads platform, each tailored to capture different types of phone call interactions related to your advertising efforts.

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