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Someone Hacked my AdWords!

Posted by Steve Cameron
Steve Cameron
Steve Cameron is the Director Owner of Advent Communication. With more than 25 years experience he has a deep...
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on Thursday, 25 April 2013 in Google

We've seen this a lot recently. People suddenly see a phone number on their Google AdWords ads - and it's not their number.

The first reaction is usually "Someone hacked my AdWords account!" - In truth, you probably did it yourself.

The most likely explanation is that you have the Google forwarding number activated in your Call Extensions.


Take look in your account under Ad Extensions and use the drop down menu to navigate to Call Extensions. This is slightly different in the legacy campaigns - so you might not see exactly what we show as this is the new enhanced campaigns format - but the options are the same.

If you have selected the option to use a Google Forwarding Number - then this is the number you're seeing in your ad - one of Google's pool of numbers allocated to your ad. They receive the call and then forward that call to your linked number.

Before you jump to the conclusion that this is just another part of Google's slow process of world domination you might want to consider why they are doing this - and how it might work for you. If your ad appears with a phone number, someone might simply decide to phone you directly from the ad. If the searcher is on a mobile device they may simply click to call. Either way you don't get a visit to your website, so your Analytics tool cannot attribute the call to a campaign, ad version or keyword. With the Call extension you get this report.

And - for the sake of transparency - Google can charge you for the call as if it were a click.

Google recently stopped telephone numbers from appearing in ad copy - ads with phone numbers in the text have been disapproved (if yours are still running it's just a matter of time) so if you want users to call you, you'll need to add your number through call extensions - and if you do - it's a good idea to track these calls to help optimise your campaigns.

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