AdWords offers Click-to-Call

Google sent out a email notification today that is advising of a new feature coming soon for AdWords advertisers who allow their adwords campaign to be shown on high end mobile devices such as iPhone, Droid, Nexus One and Palm WebOS. This AdWords click-to-call feature seems to be closely related to existing offerings by AdMob which Google purchased recently for $750 million.

The email sent out by their AdWords team is shown below:

Dear AdWords Advertiser,
We’re pleased to announce that beginning in January, your location-specific business phone number will display alongside your destination url in ads that appear on high-end mobile devices. Users will be able to click-to-call your business just as easily as they click to visit your website. You’ll be charged for clicks to call, same as you are for clicks to visit your website.
How will phone numbers appear in my ads?
Based on the customer’s geographic location, the phone number and closest business address will appear as a fifth line of ad text when the ad appears on mobile devices with full HTML browsers (e.g. iPhone, Android, Palm WebOS).
Where will I be able to see the results?
At launch, you’ll be able to view calls from your ads on your Campaign Summary page within AdWords from the “click type” segment option under the “Filter and Views” drop down.
How will I be charged for phone calls I get from my ad?
The cost of a click to call your business will be the same as the cost of a click to visit your website.
What actions should I take?
If you’d like your ads to show location-specific phone numbers when displayed on mobile devices, make sure that your campaign is targeting iPhones and other mobile devices with full HTML browsers, and that you have included phone numbers with your business addresses in the locations under your Campaign settings.

If you would prefer your ads not show phone numbers, simply remove the phone number from the business listings included in your campaigns targeting mobile devices.
We hope this new feature enables you to connect more easily with your potential customers.

A very Proactive move by Google

This is a very proactive step by Google to capture more mobile market share but also allows for business to gain more direct feedback about their campaign effectiveness in generating calls.  The interesting point is that Google has monetised what can already be done for free on organic listings and when a number is shown within a website.

The click-to-call is similar to a pay-per-call but enables this to be done for the cost of a single click, where pay-per-lead can be much more expensive.  This step can possibly reduce the requirements for business to use services such as ReachLocal who offer phone tracking via 1300,1800 numbers.

But where does this put popular toll numbers which have been used in the past to track phone calls? Searchengineland articles have discussed in the past the issues with using toll numbers as search engines seem to struggle to confirm and cross match your Name, Address and Phone if you have multiple contact numbers.  This is more likely too affect Local Search and regional SEO campaigns as you no longer have a constant local contact number listed.

It will be interesting to see how Google AdWords works with SMEs using Google Voice for their phone tracking solutions and if it will offer extra features unique to Google voice as it allows business to have local contact numbers for each region.

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