Adwords announced a new bidding method for ads targeted to desktop or tablets which are using a Google forwarding number phone extension. This displays on desktop and tablet devices as a non-hyperlinked phone number. To enable tracking of users who then go on to manually dial the number, Google’s forwarding number gathers data whilst connecting with the business’ number.
CPP (cost per phone call) bidding now allows advertisers in the UK and USA to set a separate bid where the above criteria are met (starting from a minimum bid of $1 which is the call fee). Together with the CPC bid for the ad, its quality score and the quality score of the phone call (which uses historical phone through data), CPP will be used to calculate ad rank. This represents another step in Google’s commitment to mobiles and the importance of phones in the user journey, as well as the connection between mobile and desktop searches.
This is also placing a value on using call extensions on desktop or tablet search where they can’t be directly dialled. By making them accountable (through Google call metrics) but also part of determining ad rank, advertisers now have an incentive to use this.
This will work well where the end conversion from the landing page would have been a phone call anyway, and bringing that forward into the ad and bidding high for the call will enable more conversions for advertisers who value calls. Conversely, advertisers could end up paying for clicks and calls from the one impression. Since starting max CPP costs are $1, overall costs may rise if your CPCs are typically lower than this. Furthermore, you may want to consider if missing the click through step is advantageous to the business as consumers may need some crucial information found on the landing page prior to calling.
Google are not only monetising call extensions further but also trying to turn the search engine results page into a directory listings type page and getting advertisers to pay them each time a call is referred through. This rivals the likes of Yell, if advertisers see the listings potential aspect. Advertisers need to judge if this is a useful action for their advertising goals.