Could Call Only Ads Help You Generate 57% More Phone Leads Too?

Are you looking to generate more phone leads for your business? Then call only ads which Google released on the 20th of February 2015 might be a great solution for you.

This new advert type allows searchers to call you directly from your adverts instead of having to visit your mobile website. Here is an example below where you will see that the headline of the advert has been removed and in its place is your phone number. This way on mobile devices when users click on your headline you will be called.


One cool thing about call only ads is that they shorten the conversion funnel because users no longer have to go to your website to find your phone number. Instead they can call you directly from the ad. The result of this is an increase in the number of phone leads by 57%.


Image Credit: Wordstream

In this detailed guide I’m going to be showing you three things that will help you generate more call leads. Firstly I’m going to explain who call only ads are for and who they are not for. This is really important as they work well in some industries and very poorly in others. Secondly I’m going to be sharing with you 6 of our most effective strategies for maximising the number of calls that your call only ads generate. Finally I’ll be walking you step by step through how to install call only ads so you can implement them in your own accounts.

Who are call only ads for?

The truth is that call only ads are not for everyone. If you apply this strategy to the wrong campaign it will perform poorly.

Generally they work well in industries where calls are fundamental to new business and users wouldn’t need information on your website before they will make a call. A great example would be a taxi company where users are likely to just want to call and would not be interested in visiting your website.

PPC Hero ran a test where looked at the number of people who called directly from ads using the old click to call function which is very similar to call only ads. Here were the results that they found.

HVAC: 22% Mobile Click-to-Call Rate
Foundation Repair: 18% Mobile Click-to-Call Rate
Law Firm: 15% Mobile Click-to-Call Rate
Towing: 45% Mobile Click-to-Call Rate
Limo Service: 14% Mobile Click-to-Call Rate
Chiropractor: 3% Mobile Click-to-Call Rate

You will see that the only industry that click to call would be effective in out of the ones that they tested was towing (roadside recovery). In other industries such as HVAC, law firms and chiropractors searchers would want more information before they would want to make a call, so using call only ads here would significantly decrease the number of enquires that you would receive.

The key to working out if they will work in you is to test them on a small budget to see if they are effective. If they are then scale up your campaigns and if not shelve them.

5 Killer Strategies for maximising the number of calls from call only ads

1) Optimise your ads to generate more new customer inquires

When running call only ads it is important to track the caller intent. When call analytics provider Marchex analysed their data to determine the reasons for users calling they found that only 19% of calls were from searchers who were making a purchasing enquiry.


Image Credit: Search Engine Watch

There was also a staggering number of short calls which in many cases will be where there somebody has accidentally called you from an advert. One way to avoid these calls being counted as conversions is to to require a minimum call duration for it to count as a conversion. Which I will be teaching you how to do this later on in this article.

You will generally find that some adverts and keywords will generate a larger proportion of each type of keyword. For example branded searchers are likely to generate more customer service calls than keywords that have commercial intent. To keep track of your caller intent you will want to make sure that your sales team logs the purpose of the call so you can look to optimise your campings to generate more of the types of call that have value to your business.

A very smart way to weed out almost all of your customer service calls and increase your conversion rate is to apply RLSA to your call only campings. The will allow you to add something known as a campaign exclusion where you can stop your call only ads being displayed to people on your existing customers remarketing list. You can learn how to do this by reading our RLSA article

 2) Only show ads when you are open to maximise lead conversion rates

A key mistake that a lot of advertisers make is that they run their call only ads when there business is not open. The problem with this is that if there is nobody to answer the phone these is a much lower chance of converting the enquiry into a customer! If a customer leaves a voicemail and then you follow it up the graph below will show you the chances of closing the lead decrease significantly over time.


Image Source: Marketing Charts

Instead you need to create an ad schedule that will pause your call only ads when no one is around. Here is a step by step guide to doing this.

STEP 1. Within your call only campaign go to the settings tab and then select the ad shedule sub tab as shown below.


STEP 2. To select what times you want your ads to be displayed click the +ad schedule button as shown below.


STEP 3. You should then see a screen that looks something like this. Select the hours that your business is open to take calls and then click “save”. You should now only be running ads when your business is open and you have somebody ready to take your calls.


3) Use call tracking so you can measure the performance of your call only ads

Tracking the performance of your Adwords campaigns is fundamental so that you can test different ad copies and accurately measure the ROI of your call only ads. To track the performance of your call only ads you will need to create a new conversion action, which I will walk you through.

STEP 1. Go to Tools along the very top grey menu and then select conversions.

STEP 2. Click the red + conversion button

STEP 3. Select the third option “phone calls” and then when prompted to select the first option within the popup which is “Calls from ads using call extensions or call-only ads”.


STEP 4. Give your conversion pixel an appropriate name, for example “calls from call only ads”. Next enter the value of the call to you if you know this value. Once you have done this you need to select the call length that you want to count as a conversion. to elevate accidental calls you may want to set this to 30 or 60 seconds so you only count a conversion when you get a viable lead.

The count option is quite important. If you want to count unique leads, for example if one ad click leads to three purchases, that will count as one conversion then use the “one” option (which we recommend for most advertisers). Or if you instead want one ad click leads to three purchases to be counted as three conversions then select the “every” option.

Select a conversion window that is 30 or 60 days and set the category to leads. If you would like to see the phone calls be added as leads in the conversion column select include in conversions column. Once you are happy with your settings click the save and continue options.

4) Use local area numbers as they covert twice as well as 800 numbers

There was recently a study done by Engineready that showed that users were considerably more likely to call if they saw a local area calling code (for example 0114 for sheffield UK) as opposed to a national toll free number (for example and 0800 number).

There research showed that local area number code generate more than twice as many conversions as national toll free numbers. There research can be seen below.


Image Source: Engineready

Local numbers can be bought relatively cheaply either through call tracking providers or telecoms companies and can then be set up to forwards the calls to your main call centre number. If you generate a large number of calls per month then it may be worth investing in these.

5) Analyse and learn from your call data

Adwords columns

Phone calls will be added as a conversion in the conversion column within your Adwords account. However you can also see additional call details within the Adwords editor interface by adding the calls details columns. These will allow you to see additional information about your calls such as the number of phone impression, phone calls, Phone through rate (this is similar to CTR), Average CPP and phone cost.


Dimensions Tab

However if you wish to learn more about the calls then there is a report within the dimensions tab that you will find useful. To see a breakdown of your calls go to the dimensions tab within your account and then from the dropdown click View: Call Details.

This report will give you the following information that will help you appraise if your call only campings are working effectively. The start and end time of the call, whether or not it was answered, the duration of the call, the callers area code, whether it was click to call or manually dialled and finally the source of the call.


If you would like to record your calls then you will need to use a third party piece of software such as call tracks or infinity tracking that will allow you to record these using one of their numbers.

How to setup call only ads

STEP 1. Call only adverts must be created in their own separate campaign as the call only settings are set at campaign level. When creating a new campaign. To create your call only campaign you must select “search network” and then the “Call-only – Ads that encourage people to call your business” when choosing your campaign type.


This is the only thing in the campaign settings that is unique to call only ads. enter the rest of your campaign setting as you normally would.

STEP 2. Once you have built your campaign the next step is to create ad groups. As you would with your standard search ads you need to tightly group your keywords and write highly relevant adverts.

STEP 3. Once you have created new ad groups with tightly themed keywords the next step is to write your ads. This is where call only campaigns differ from standard search ads. Instead of having a headline your advert will instead just display your phone number and the name of your business.

In the first section you should enter the name of your business, for this you have up to 25 characters. You should then enter your phone number. If you are segmenting your adverts by location then it is a smart option to use location specific phone numbers.

For example the calling code for sheffield in the UK is 0114 so if you were to display ads in sheffield we would suggest buying a 0114 number.I’ve discussed this further in the 6 strategies section of this guide.


The description lines 1 and 2 should be used to explain the features and benefits of your product or service. For more information on how to write better ad copy click here. It would be wise to include a call to action at the end of the description that tells users what to do next which in your case will be to call now!

The display URL is a great place to add the keyword that your ads will be appearing for to make your ads appear more relevant to the searchers and consequently increase CTR and calls.

For example if the keywords within your ad group are based around PPC management as ours would be then you might want to add this at the end of the display URL. For example our display URL for our ppc management ad group would be

The verification URL is the page on your website that contains the phone number that you have entered. For example the homepage of Clicteq contains our phone number 0800 907 8275 so this would be sufficient if we had used this within our ads.

Once you have created an advert within your ad group you are ready to go. Make sure that you always add at least 2 adverts per ad group that are being tested against each other so you can improve and iterate your ads.


If you have a business that is build largely around calls then call only ads can be an effective way to increase the number of leads that your business generates by cutting out the extra step of a user having to visit your website. However that being said they do only work in some industries so it is crucial that you test this on a small budget first if you are unsure if it will work well for you.

By applying the 5 strategies that I have taught you within this article you should be well on your way to avoiding the common pit falls that many advertisers fall into when creating call only ads.

Thank you for reading, if you have any questions please feel free to post them below and I will do my best to answer them!

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Search Engine Journal, Econsultancy and Certified Knowledge. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

2 thoughts on “Could Call Only Ads Help You Generate 57% More Phone Leads Too?

  • HI. i am running a call only campaign for a chiropractic office and like you said response has been poorly so far. it gets a lot of impression but low conversion. maybe i should switch to regular campaign.check out my website, tell me how likely you would call from this website

    • Hello Sam, I think that for your industry taking people to your website would be best. If you are going to do this though I would advise that you create some very targeted landing pages and include features such as click to call on mobile devices to generate more calls.

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