Google Call Only Ads

Our Point Of View on Google Call Only Ads

Google now has a new ad type called "call only ads" that have a unique ability to only allow the searcher to tap on your ad to call your phone number directly. With mobile searches now outnumbering desktop searches, this type of ad will show up to the smart phone users that are now eclipsing the desktop users who are unable to make a phone call. This type of ad makes sense as users will be able to get to the business or service they are searching for faster. - or does it? We put these new ads to the test with a few of our SEM clients offering them the opportunity to try this new advertising option.

The call only ads have a similar format to the expanded text ads that they have two description lines and a large header. They do require you to have a phone number - that must be verified with google before your ad can go live and your business name. Display and verification URLs are also required, but they will not direct the searcher to your website from the ad click. They will only be able to call you, hence the name "Call Only Ads".

How do call only ads perform compared to regular text ads?

We wanted to test how call only ads performed against standard text ads to see if the cost-per-acquisition (or call) (CPA) is lower for the call only ads. In addition, we wanted to see how the Cost Per Click / Call (CPC) would compare as well. 

We ran this test for 1 month with both the call only and the standard text ads having very similar ad text. The main difference is that the call only ads only allowed the searcher to call the business and that they will only run for mobile searchers. The standard ads will run on both the desktop and the mobile platforms. We also kept in touch with the businesses to see if they are seeing the results on their end.

The call only ad test results

After one month, we noticed that the CPC for the call only ads was 48% higher than the standard ads. This meant that in order to even be seen- or get a call, we had to bid higher to ensure the ad was being served. For the conversions, we noticed a decrease of 45% in CPA favoring the call only ads. This is due to multiple reasons though. The call only ads are registered as a conversion after speaking with the business for 10 seconds at minimum (agreed upon by the client). The standard ads had call extensions, but usually searchers would click on the ad, explore the businesses website, and then call them from there (outside the ad). These calls outside the ads were NOT tracked for this experiment.

It would look like the call only ads have an advantage due to the much lower CPA, but after checking with the client, they had noticed that the quality of the calls they received had noticeably decreased while the test was running. So although they were getting more phone calls, they were using more time neurturing them to see if they will schedule an appointment. These callers had not seen the client's website and only knew as much as the 2 lines of ad text would allow.

Our point of view on the call only ads

Our opinion is that the call only ads should be used to send callers to a line that is specifically for customer service. These callers have not explored the businesses website and will take more neurturing before they convert. They will not have the knowledge of which product or service they want right away as the only interaction with your business they will have at this point is a single ad 

if your business needs to have your customers feel more comfortable or requires alot of detail for your product or service, you might be better off with standard ads.

If your business thrives on phone calls where all of the neurturing is done over the phone, this may be a good option for your business. 


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