We have been experimenting with Call Only Campaigns in Google AdWords.
Call Only Campaigns are like regular search campaigns but they are only eligible to run on mobile phones. Basically, a user sees your ad, clicks on it and their phone app opens with your number pre-dialled.
And it doesn’t matter where a user clicks. There is a Call Now button on the ads, but wherever they click, the result is the same – they are primed to place the call.
At this point we find many people panic. They simply weren’t ready to place a call to your business. They were expecting to be redirected to your website and then have the opportunity to browse your offer, find out a little more about your company and then… maybe… give you a call.
Instead, most people simply drop their phone and wonder how they did that…. “Surely I didn’t hit the Call Now button, or did I ??”
I’m sure that this is something users will get used to over time – and I’m equally sure that there are some situations where that is exactly what you want. If you’re searching for a locksmith or a tow truck then this might be a perfect scenario. But it you wanted to find a cosmetic surgeon, you might not be quite ready to talk to one!
The Call Now button is misleading, since a click anywhere on the ad will trigger exactly the same event. Your phone gets ready to place to call. Hit the headline, the descriptive lines or even the web address, and you get the opportunity to place the call, nothing else. And, by the way – it is important to know that as soon as the ad is clicked you pay for the click – regardless of whether the call is placed or not. If I had clicked on a Call Now button, I would be expecting to, well, Call Now – but it is clear that this is not what is happening.
And now there is an added complication. We use Call Tracking Metrics – a fabulous service the dynamically swaps the telephone number on the website if the visitor is an AdWords (or whatever source we choose to configure) visitor. When they make the call, we can track back to see which campaign, ad group, ad and keyword triggered the visit.
This is fine… until we try to get our ads approved by Google. We are asked to provide a “verification url” which is essentially a page on our website (if the number is not on the landing page) so that Google can see that the number is, indeed, ours. After all, they need to be sure that this is the regular number we are using and that we are not somehow redirecting callers to some dodgy call centre.
But our tracking number is not on our website. It only appears when the nice people at Call Tracking Metrics swap it over. And so, the verification fails and our ads are disapproved.
The solution – and it is not elegant, but like most things unelegant, it works flawlessly – is to generate a page on your site that carries the tracking number. This page does not have to be linked to anywhere on your site, and it need not have any other information. You simply need to be able to link to it. This is one we have recently prepared for one of our clients:
Just to cover ourselves, we have the number in a couple of formats – one with and one without the parentheses and hyphens – one exactly as Google suggest the number should be listed – (201) 555-5555. We add the url for this page as our verification page and bingo – our ads are approved.