Google Adwords gets more accountable with call tracking

Tracy Steffensen

Updated – June 2016. Most businesses at some point have dabbled in using Google Adwords to drive leads and sales to their business. The results can often be mixed, as not everyone knows how to fully utilise this powerful marketing platform.


There are so many ways that you can control your AdWords ad to ensure greater success. A key way is to add a call extension to your ad to drive more calls to your business.

Call Extensions allow you to include your phone number in your text ads to make it easier for your potential customer to contact you directly. But how will you know if a customer called you after seeing your Adwords ad?

Google recently added a new conversion tool which lets advertisers know which clicks lead to calls. It’s called the Google Web Call Conversions, and it’s a very
useful conversion tool for brands to accurately measure their return-on-investment (ROI).

With Call Conversions, advertisers will be able to know where their calls are coming from and understand which keywords and ads are driving the most valuable calls.

Here’s how it works:

1. You must have:

  • An AdWords account. You can sign up here if you don’t have one.
  • An active call extension. If you don’t have one, you can set it up in the Ad Extensions tab in your AdWords account.
  • A website. This is where you’ll put the conversion tracking code, called a “tag”.
  • The ability to edit the HTML code of your website.

2.Google AdWords will provide you with two code snippets that you need to add to each page that you want to use for website or mobile site call tracking. To generate the first code you need to identify a conversion you’d like to track (i.e. “Orders” or “Book Now”). The second code snippet will replace your own phone number with a Google forwarding number. Wherever this code is placed, the tracking number displays. It’s important to note, however, that display network only campaigns don’t support forwarding numbers or calls as conversions.

display network adwords.jpg

3.Once you have the codes in place, check if the conversion is now working. Click on your actual AdWords ad and you should see your phone number replaced with the Google forwarding number which is unique (it changes every time someone views your site) and customisable (color, font and size of the numbers). Additionally, you can modify your conversion counting window up to 90 days after a click. Previously, AdWords only counted conversions occurring within 30 days after a click. Now, when a visitor clicks on your Adwords ad, the unique Google forwarding number that is going to be generated will continue to display to him/her for up to 90 days so you can track conversions on any future calls s/he makes.

4.Reporting on website call conversions is available in Call Details and through standard conversion reporting. Google will provide the number of calls you’ve received and other details such as the area code, length of the call, and so on.

This feature is currently available only to advertisers in these countries.

How can it improve your marketing?

This new feature of Adwords will not only help you understand which campaigns are effective in bringing customers to your business, but will also tell you which products or services they are interested in, and which marketing techniques are working for you. From these wealth of knowledge, you will then be able to:

  • Assign different values to certain pages of your website. (i.e. Calls from the “Order Now” page might be more valuable than calls from your “About us” page)
  • Optimise your keyword bids to drive more valuable calls by using Target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) or Target return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).

Prior to website call conversions, brands didn’t have the ability to track ROI when website visitors clicked through ads and called their contact centres. Now that it’s here, it would be counterintuitive to not take advantage of this tool.

You can learn more about setting up website call conversions here.

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