Google Ads Call Tracking: Everything You Need To Know

Google Ads Call Tracking COVER
Ravi Davda Rockstar Marketing CEO

Written by Steve

Jun 8, 2022

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According to HubSpot, 76% of people who conduct a local search using their smartphone end up visiting a physical place within 24 hours. And 28% of those people end up making a purchase. So, you can see the importance of the mobile world in digital marketing.

Our focus today is going to be on something more specific within the realm of mobile marketing, and that is phone calls. Google Ads allows businesses to track their phone calls to see how they relate to their clicks and conversions. That’s what we’re going to explore in this article.

First, what is Google ads call tracking?

Google Ads call tracking is a type of conversion tracking that allows businesses to closely follow how many prospective customers called after seeing or clicking on a Google ad.

Google Ads Call Tracking – Uses

This is the perfect feature for any advertiser who is looking to drive phone calls to their business. It allows them to have a better understanding of how their digital marketing efforts are helping drive those calls.

Plus, Google Ads can show you which search keywords are driving the most calls. You can also access performance breakdowns about these phone calls based on: demographics, location, and your ranking.

Combined together, this data can help you further improve your placements. And once you do that, you can drive in more cost-effective calls, leads, and eventually, conversions.

Types of Google ads call tracking

Google Ads allows advertisers to follow their phone call conversions in four major ways:

Calls from ads

You can track calls made directly from call-only ads or call and location extensions. You can set a minimum call length. And every call that lasts as long as that minimum or longer counts as a conversion.

Calls made to a number on your website

Google Ads also allows you to track calls that were made by people who click on your ad and then proceed to make a call. Google Ads places a forward number that gets displayed on your website, and anyone who calls it is registered.

Again, you can set a minimum call length, and any call that surpasses that length is counted as a conversion.

Calls made to a number on your mobile website

This is very similar to the previous type. The only distinct difference is the fact that Google Ads only tracks these as clicks. In other words, they don’t track the calls themselves but rather the number of people who click on the phone number, button or link.

Import call conversions

Lastly, Google Ads allows advertisers to import call conversions that they’re tracking in another system. This method gives you more control over which calls count as a conversion and which don’t. For instance, you can choose to only track calls as conversions when they include a sale.

Additionally, you can attach the respective values of these sales. This enables to you get more information about which ads are driving the most valuable calls.

How to set up Google ads call tracking

How to Set Up Google Ads Call Tracking

In your journey to set up Google Ads call tracking, your first step should be to create a conversion action. It goes as follows:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account
  2. Click on the tools icon found in the upper right corner of your page
  3. Under Measurement, click on Conversions
  4. Click on the blue + button
  5. Click Phone Calls
  6. Select Calls from ads using call extensions or call-only ads, then click on Continue

Next up

  • In the Category drop-down menu, select a description for your conversion action. This selection allows you to segment your conversions in reports. In other words, it enables you to group similar conversions together
  • Next, in Value, select Each phone call is worth and enter a value. You can also choose not to assign one
  • In Count, select whether you want to count every or one conversion per ad click. Every is best for sales while One is best for leads
  • Now, you get to choose your Call length. Enter in seconds how long a phone call needs to last in order to be counted as a conversion
  • Then you get to choose the Conversion window. This refers to how long after an ad click you want to track conversions. It can be anywhere between 1 and 60 days
  • Lastly, click the Attribution model. This setting allows you to choose how each conversion is credited. It can be the last click made by a customer before converting, the first click, or a combination of both.
  • Click on Create and continue

Tracking and measuring your calls

Using the Google Ads call tracking feature is completely free if you have a running Google Ads account. It can help advertisers gain better insights into how their advertising efforts are driving calls.

Conversion tracking allows marketers to pinpoint the exact keywords, ad groups and campaigns that drive the most calls.

Additionally, Google Ads enables advertisers to track website call conversions to ensure that they get complete data.

Optimisation efforts

The Google Ads call tracking system, combined with other features from Google Ads, allows users to optimise the performance of their ads. They can come up with better bid strategies for their ads, especially the ones containing a call extension. Indeed, this tool is extremely powerful and, once utilised correctly, can make for some excellent ads.

Extend your reach

Google Ads can increase your visibility in more ways than just mere web presence. When combined with call tracking, Google Ads will give you a better picture of whom you’re reaching as a business. Only with such information can you pivot your business choices in the right direction.

Indeed, call tracking is not only useful for PPC ads but for search engine optimisation (SEO) as well. This is because keywords are at the heart of both these approaches. Yes, with Google Ads, your business is somewhat guaranteed to appear at the top of search pages. However, such a benefit will be a whole lot better with call tracking involved.

Google Ads call tracking does not come flawless; it has its issues, starting with:

The most obvious limitation to Google Ads call tracking is the fact that it is exclusive to Google Ads, namely the Search Network. In other words, you won’t be able to measure the call conversions that image ads on the Display Network generate, for instance.

Additionally, let’s assume that you promote your business to other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo. Google does not allow you to use its forwarding numbers to track your call conversions. This leads to incomplete data, which is very much useless in this day and age.

Limited to a number of countries

Although Google Ads is available in most countries around the world, call tracking only exists in around 30 countries (as of 2022). This means that millions of businesses out there are restricted from tracking their Google Ads campaigns calls.

No caller information

This is yet another crucial limitation of Google Ads call tracking. This refers to the fact that you can’t know much about your audience by using call tracking. Since Google prohibits the collection of personal data, businesses cannot depend on its call tracking to gain information on the profiles of their customers.

Limited call analytics reports

The data delivered in the Google Ads analytics report can be considered by many to be incomplete. Yes, you get to measure the number of inbound calls in a specific duration. However, you can’t access the numbers of callers, the date of the phone call, region, frequency, and more.

Third-party solutions

The solution to most of the limitations that we have listed above is third party tracking software. These solutions usually provide much more data about calls than Google itself. Of course, the only caveat to this is the fact that they cost money. Google Ads call tracking, on the other hand, is completely free.

Google Ads allows you to integrate many of these 3rd party solutions if you wish to do so.

Let us help you with Google ads

If you’re feeling stuck with Google Ads, fret not, as we can help. Book a discovery call with us today, and one of our Google Ads experts will get in touch shortly.


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