How to Use Call Extensions in Google Ads
This blog post will cover what call extensions are, how to add numbers to respective campaigns, and ways you can use that data later on! Here are you steps you’ll learn to take for using Call Extensions:
✅ Select your phone numbers; personal, business, or redirect
✅ Create a spreadsheet to keep track of each number
✅ Log in to your Google Ads account
✅ On the left-hand panel click Ads & extensions
✅ Click Extensions
✅ Click the blue circle with the white plus sign inside to set up your first number
✅ Select the Call extension option
✅ Choose Account, Campaign, or Ad Group
✅ Turn on Call Reporting
✅ Enter your phone number or other applicable fields under Advanced options
✅ Save your number and you’re done!
Businesses of any size should have a number of ways that potential customers can reach them. Some folks prefer email while others prefer speaking with someone directly. By adding a phone number to your Google text ads, you offer an additional communication gateway that is highly effective. Texting or emailing back and forth can feel incredibly redundant when you can explain things further and/or point out other UVPs that align with what a potential customer is looking for.
When in doubt, give users the option to make that hotline bling…
What Are Call Extensions?
Simply put: Call extensions allow you to add a phone number to your ad. The part I love about them is that when a call extension pops up on an ad, it still gives a user the option to click the ad to go directly to the website or they can click a button to call your business.
Our friends at Google say, “If you attempt to include a phone number elsewhere in your ad text, it may lead to the disapproval of the ad, so if you would like to include a phone number, it is best to use a call extension.”
💡 Remember that a click-to-call action is the same as a user clicking on our ad headline, so in both instances we are charged the same cost for either action. It’s important to ensure your phone lines are running and users can reach the necessary party so you don’t waste advertising spend!
Here’s an example of a call extension on an ad, highlighted in red:
How to Set Up Call Extensions in Google Ads
You have your phone number and you’re ready to rock… but wait, what if you don’t want to use your personal cell phone number? Or what if you have only one call center location but want to show a number with an area code to a respective geographic area? That’s no problem at all!
If you want to mask your phone number and use a “fake” number or have a large list of numbers for respective area codes, you’ll need to look into a call forwarding service like Jive or Grasshopper. If you’re a larger business then you’ll likely want to leverage a more robust system like Marchex, CallRail, etc. that offers the same services as Jive/Grasshopper but includes some additional features.
Also, if you’re adding in more than a dozen or so numbers, it will be easier to upload them via Google Ads Editor. Seems like a daunting task? Reach out to us and see how we can help ease the process!
However, once you have your numbers squared away you can dive in and start adding numbers to your Google Ads account.
Create a spreadsheet that has a few columns to keep track of Google Ads campaign name, forwarding phone number, and then phone number that ultimately receives the call. This will help big time if you need to troubleshoot or change numbers in the future!
Once you’re in the Google Ads interface, the process is straightforward. You should have your shiny new spreadsheet created, too, making the number addition process seamless.
Check out the left sidebar within the user interface to find the Ads & extensions section. Click that.
You’ll then see three options: Ads, Extensions, Automated extensions. Click Extensions.
Next, I like to filter to the Extension type which is right next to the blue circle with the white plus sign inside. Click the little funnel and search for Extension type or click Extension type if already available.
Filter for Call Extension only and click apply!
Great! Now we’re going to actually click the blue circle with the white plus sign inside and then click the Call extension option to add your number. If you don’t see the blue circle anymore, it’s because there’s a filter being applied to the view. Follow the pale blue line where it says Extensions type all the way to the right and click the X.
You’ll have three options for where you want to add your phone number:
- Account - Select this if you have only one call forwarding number and you’re OK with showing this number on any ad regardless of location, search keywords, etc.
- Campaign - Select this if you have different phone numbers. It will be up to you to decide how many numbers you want based on your Google Ads campaign structure. If you segment campaigns by geographic region then you’ll likely want one per campaign. However, if you group campaigns by keyword theme, for example, then you may be able to get away with adding one phone number to a group of 4 campaigns. Check off the campaigns you’d like to include in this particular call extension.
- Ad Group - This is if you want deep segmentation and visibility into your phone number data on an ad group level which is where our keywords are placed. Beginners warned! Check off the ad groups you’d like to include in this particular call extension.
After you’ve made your selection, you’ll just keep Create new selected and add in your number.
Next, you’ll see this little section under where you’ve been typing away:
💡 For the Conversion action, select either Use account settings (Calls from ads*). If someone has previously created a call extension in your account, then Google automatically builds this conversion action for you.
However, if your settings don’t look like the above, then you’ll probably see this message. Fear not!
Go ahead and click Turn on. You’ll then be confronted with this dialogue box where you can tick On and then click SAVE.
Now you should see that your settings are the same as the previous screenshot. Don’t sweat it if your conversion action doesn’t have the asterisk on it. That will happen after Google works their magic.
Lastly, you can click Advanced options and you’ll see the following:
If there’s a chance that someone will use a computer or tablet to call your business, then you can leave Device preference unchecked. However, as most calls typically come from a Mobile device, I would recommend checking that box!
The Extensions scheduling section is perfect if you’re running a promotional campaign for a specific period of time and are using a phone number that points to a separate sales team or dialers, for example.
Finally, the Days and hours portion will be used if you’d like the call extension to show during a particular time of the day.
You’re done! Click SAVE!
What Can We Do With Call Extension Data?
If you choose a call tracking system that can report on phone call length plus a CRM that’s able to digest phone calls from leads or customers, then you can really mash data together for additional insight!
At Seer, we’ve worked with clients to leverage all three data sources to build a dashboard that shows us exactly how many of our in-engine Google conversions actually result in leads from phone calls. This has been incredibly valuable, as when we initially launched call extensions, it was nearly impossible to prove if users clicking on our call extensions were resulting in business. The real result? It turns out that the click to CRM lead ratio is equal to, if not higher than, form submission ratio which occurs after a user clicks our ad, goes directly to a landing page and fills out a form. Pretty neat!
You can also start to tie in call length to see which geographic regions or campaign/ad group themes are responsible for tying up phone lines for your sales team. For example, imagine if you realized that your team was wasting over 1.5 hours each day taking phone calls from a specific keyword theme that has never resulted in a sale? From there we can conclude that you either need to remove the call extension from that campaign/ad group that’s aligned with those keywords or stop bidding on those keywords all together. We listen to the data!
Seer Can Help You With Data Too!
Curious to learn more about how Seer can make your hotline bling to help your business? Get in contact with us and let’s chat!