- January 13, 2017
Google’s long-heralded “mobilegeddon” has finally arrived, and Google is ready for businesses to get on board the mobile-first mindset - even if they have to force a few hands in the process. We’ve already talked at length about the huge and growing influence of mobile search on Google’s search rankings, as well as Google’s steps to make connecting with businesses through text messaging that much simpler.
The push to encourage easier mobile connections between consumers and businesses is hardly a surprise - especially with Millennial mobile phone ownership rates somewhere around 97-percent. That’s why it’s no surprise that Google will soon be automatically enrolling all existing mobile AdWords Ads with call extensions for businesses.
What Are Call Extensions?
Starting on February 6, 2017, call extensions will show automatically on all mobile AdWords ads - provided, of course, those ads take users to landing pages with a phone number prominently placed. If the phone number listed for your business isn’t accurate or easily found, this could prevent your call extension from functioning and result in missed leads and sales left unfulfilled.
Call extensions allow your number to be automatically listed with your ad, usually as a clickable call button which automatically dials straight to your business. Pair with location extensions and you’ve got one powerful tool - great for reaching a local audience, but only if used accurately.
Each click of your call extension button is priced like a regular PPC click, meaning the process can easily integrate into your existing PPC campaign. And because you can count calls as conversions by turning on call reporting in your AdWords account, this actually makes it easier to track your conversion rate for easy analysis of your call campaign’s efficacy.
Google also allows you to set numbers to show only when your business can take calls, meaning you can silence the calls outside of business hours and have them automatically start again when you’re once again ready for business. This, too, needs to be set manually, and should be taken care of before calls start coming in.
There’s Still Plenty Of Power In A Phone Call
As much as Google’s insistence on the power of voice calls may seem outdated, the truth is that phone calls still hold a powerful place in the sales funnel - even for those shoppers who may not otherwise prefer to engage in a physical call.
Google wants help businesses tap into the voice-to-voice mobile market - and for good reason. According to a 2016 call data study by Invoca, up to 65-percent of people prefer to contact a business with a phone call, and these phone calls can generate conversion rates as high as 50 percent. And according to Google, mobile search engines “are predicted to drive nearly 33 billion clicks-to-call to businesses globally, almost 19% more calls than from mobile landing pages alone.”
The power of voice calling has been known for so long it’s almost taken for granted - and that’s probably because it’s a better system for explaining nuances, responding to individual customer complaints, and addressing uncommon or specific questions a customer may have. Calls limit interactions to one-on-one, providing the customer with 100-percent of your attention. Google knows that this is what customer are looking for, and they’re not afraid to force a few hands to make access to calls easier for searchers.
What If I’m Not Already Set Up?
The official implementation date for call extensions across AdWords isn’t until Feb. 6, and those businesses that don’t wish to receive phone calls from your mobile search ads need to indicate so in AdWords prior to this deadline. But we really do recommend simply setting your call extension up, and luckily it doesn’t take too much effort.
Implementing call extensions on your ads should be a simple process, and may even have already happened automatically for landing pages with a well-placed phone number. Some numbers, like fax machine or vanity numbers - won’t work, but toll-free, standard, mobile, shared-cost, or non-standard cost numbers can be used and even paired with a toll disclaimer.
You can set your number through your AdWords account, under Ad Extensions. If you’re dealing with a lot of numbers at once, Google makes it easy to add and edit call extensions in bulk. And don’t forget to set your device preference to “mobile preferred” to ensure your number is displayed on mobile phones and not just on desktop. These changes are easy to make, and all fit in well with the general recommendations of any good AdWords mastery guide.
If you’re still not sure about how to get your business set up with call extensions, or if you’re having trouble understanding what this can mean for your business, Altos can help. Give us a call or get in touch and we can make call extensions start working for you.