Google launches call measurement on AdWords

Two new additions to its platform will enable small, medium and big businesses to measure how their click-to-call ads are faring.

With phone books largely a product of the past, online search is how almost three-quarters of Canadians access clickable contact information for businesses. And now Google has added more clarity for media planners looking to measure how exactly the functionality is being used as a part of their digital campaigns.

The company has (finally) added call forwarding numbers to its suite of ad products in Canada, the 13th global market to get the functionality after it was introduced in the U.S. last year.

Call reporting gives businesses a sense of what part of their campaign is effective, explains Amit Agarwal, product manager at AdWords. “It allows you to not only measure ROI but also to optimize and tweak your calls.”

Once activated, the new feature will allows businesses to measure how viewers engaged with click-to-connect buttons in its Google search ads. Google unveiled the product over a year and a half ago to U.S. clients and started beta testing in Canada a few months ago.

Businesses already using call extensions (adding a clickable call button to an ad) and call-only campaigns (where the ad only clicks through to a phone number) will be able to leverage the measurement information attached to those calls once they apply Google’s forwarding number service. A unique phone number is assigned to that call when a caller clicks to connect, the business gets the following feedback: the area code attached to the caller, the duration of the call, and whether the call was answered.

The feature is particularly useful for those with a service-centred small business like a plumber or a house-cleaning service that doesn’t have a website presence, or bigger businesses whose websites aren’t as up-to-date or categorized. It’s also useful for larger companies that have customer-service call centres like beta-testers 1-800-Got-Junk and belair direct.

Using the feature is particularly helpful to connect 1-800-Got-Junk clients with a service representative while on the go,  reports Keegan Morrison, pay-per-click account manager. “This gives us vital information on which campaigns are driving the right calls and how we can better invest our advertising spend.”

Anne Fortin, Belairdirect’s SVP marketing has reported that the measurement information has helped the company understand that callers who interact with their customer service professionals for more than 10 minutes are most likely to sign up for an insurance policy. website screenshot_FINAL (1)Businesses also have access to Website Call Conversions (see image, right), a tool that can attribute the navigation path of a phone call. Was the call initiated because of a specific key word search? If so, this tool can give that info back to the business giving key insight into what part of the advertising budget is driving business and return on investment.

In September 2013, Google published a report that it had commissioned Ipsos to research and write on the relevance of click-to-call for mobile users. The study, in which 3,000 people were surveyed, revealed that 70% of mobile searchers use click-to-call.