The wildly successful PPC giant Google AdWords unveils yet another addition to their arsenal of online advertising options.
In Google’s words:
We’re pleased to announce that beginning in January, your location-specific business phone number will display alongside your destination URL in ads that appear on high-end mobile devices.
Users will be able to click-to-call your business just as easily as they click to visit your website.
How will phone numbers appear in my ads?
Based on the customer’s geographic location, the phone number and closest business address will appear as a fifth line of ad text when the ad appears on mobile devices with full HTML browsers (e.g. iPhone, Android, Palm WebOS).
Where will I be able to see the results?
At launch, you’ll be able to view calls from your ads on your Campaign Summary page within AdWords from the “click type” segment option under the “Filter and Views” drop down.
How will I be charged for phone calls I get from my ad?
For now, the cost of a click to call your business will be the same as the cost of a click to visit your website.
Personally, I see prices increasing as the feature gains popularity and acceptance, then leveling off eventually. It’s fair to say this might take time: AdWords prices are still climbing, and these types of phones are still approaching market saturation.
Phone calls initiate much more personal contact. Clicking “back” on your web browser to close out of a website is one thing, but hanging up on a live human is quite another. The value of the contact is potentially higher.
What actions should I take?
If you’d like your ads to show location-specific phone numbers when displayed on mobile devices, make sure that your campaign is targeting iPhones and other mobile devices with full HTML browsers. You must also include phone numbers with your business addresses in the locations under your Campaign settings.
If you would prefer your ads not show phone numbers, simply remove the numbers from your ad campaign locations or un-check mobile devices under the Campaign Settings tab.
Apparently they’ve been working on this feature for several years, filing a patent for click-to-call or “call on select” in 2004. They experimented briefly with the technology in 2007 with Google Maps, which was wildly popular with a small crowd of mobile users at the time.
In fact, Google’s wildly successful growth and innovations have driven Marketing Pilgrim to speculate on “intervention” from either competitors or government who view the search giant as “too pervasive and too powerful”.
Odds are, this new incarnation will be well worth watching! More good news for businesses interested in mobile advertising; you don’t even need a mobile-specific site to use these ads on smart-phones.