Google have announced imminent improvements to AdWords in the UK that include a Call Metrics service that will allow our clients to track leads generated by phone numbers used in their campaigns.
The new system will allow for much more detailed reporting on both hyperlinked click to call leads currently seen across our mobile campaigns but also now numbers dialled manually after seeing a desktop/tablet ad such as the example seen below:
Google uses a unique forwarding number which is attached to specific Google ad campaigns allowing for the system to gather much more granular information in real time, including volume of calls, call duration and the number of calls by area code.
As part of this there is a now an addition to the standard bidding for clicks. The "Bid Per Call" feature lets advertisers bid separately for clicks that direct users to their websites as well as those that generate phone calls to their business. This means that the current ad rank is being shaken up to take into account bid per call:
"Today, a combination of your ad's Quality Score and max cost-per-click (CPC) bid determine your Ad Rank, which influences your ad's position. But with bid-per-call, your bid for phone calls and phone call Quality Score can directly factor into your Ad Rank, too. Higher ranked ads are more likely to be seen and can therefore generate more phone calls (and clicks, too)."
There is a minimum charge of £1 per call for the call forwarding service and this can be increased with Bid-per-call to increase the Adrank. This determines the highest price you're willing to pay each time a user manually dials the Google forwarding number included in ads.
Bid-per-call does not apply to ads shown on mobile devices. Phone calls generated from clicks-to-call on ads shown on mobile devices will continue to incur the norma CPC. This is being rolled out now across both the US and UK and all advertisers will be eligible assuming they meet the minimum number of clicks and calls (which of course they don't advertise).
I think this represents a real opportunity to tie up online advertising with call based conversions, especially on advertisers where the click to call feature is working well and calls are a key conversion.