vintage dial phone
Google plans to add businesses phone numbers to mobile search ads. PHOTO: michael joakes

Marketers using Google AdWords should brace for more phone calls.

Starting Monday, Google will automatically add businesses' phone numbers to mobile search ads. Google will use the phone numbers businesses already have for mobile landing pages.

Google AdWords offers brands a way to advertise through text-based search ads, graphic display ads, YouTube video ads or in-app mobile ads.

More Insights on Call Performance

Google claims the move will not only generate more phone calls from search but more metrics, too. In an email to Google AdWords customers, Google told marketers they will be able to get detailed reporting insights about call performance, including duration, call start and end times, caller area codes and whether the call was connected. 

Marketers can also set up call conversion tracking in order to determine which parts of campaigns drive the most valuable calls.

In an interview with CMSWire, Mark Sullivan, director of demand generation at CallRail, said the move will benefit marketers because it's "positive news for those of us preaching call attribution for a long time." CallRail provides call tracking data.

Google wants more businesses to take advantage of click-to-call directly from their ads, Sullivan added. 

"Businesses get the benefit of phone calls," Sullivan said. "We've been saying that phone calls are the new clicks for businesses that want them. We think this elevates the phone call in Google AdWords quite a bit, and it's bringing a lot of marketers into call attribution and click-to-call that have not jumped in. It's an overall positive win for marketers for especially location-based businesses."

Mobile Search Rules

In the email to AdWords subscribers, Google officials said mobile search is expected to drive nearly 33 billion clicks-to-call to businesses globally this year, almost 19 percent more calls than from mobile landing pages alone. 

Marketers that include phone numbers prominently in their mobile landing pages will still have that feature. Only now, that same phone number will be added to an advertisement that appears through a mobile search.

"Many marketers want phone calls more than they want walk-ins if they do have a brick-and-mortar stores," Sullivan said. "And this is Google sort of catching up. Google doesn't have to innovate too quickly on the ad front because they're the biggest name in the search-based advertisement game. I think we'll see a big push in this next year to building click-to-call in more advertisement formats."

Marketers can actually opt out of this option. They can do so through the Google Ad extensions tab before Feb. 6. 

Protecting Metadata

Google made a related move that began Jan. 19. AdWords started then displaying local ads with the local phone number from that advertiser’s "Google My Business account."

Invoca's Sean Storlie, in a blog post, recommended customers opt out of that program to ensure "continued ability to track calls and optimize based on the keywords and other metadata." Invoca provides call tracking and analytics.

Google said marketers had to opt out by Jan. 19. It is unclear if they still can opt out. 

In another note to Google AdWords users, the AdWords team recommended not opting out because it "may reduce your ad impressions and call volume, while making it difficult for users to reach you."