How Call-Only Ads Can Make Cash Registers Ring


Businesses that use pay-per-click marketing now have a powerful new tool at their disposal: Google’s Call-Only PPC ad format.

Google introduced Call-Only ads earlier this year after calculating that some 70 percent of mobile searchers call a business directly from mobile search results.

Naturally, the Call-Only format is simple: short copy, call button and, of course, big blue phone number at the top. Your URL is also shown, but inactive, as the format only allows for calling. One quick tap dials your company directly, sans the traditional splash page side-trip.

Search Engine Watch considers the new option an ‘upgrade’ for marketers who want more phone traffic. “While call extensions are an effective way to promote your business phone number in an ad, Call-Only campaigns have taken it a step further… [they’re] specifically targeted for businesses whose focus is phone calls.”

Once caveat: when running Call-Only ads, make sure your support staff is aware and onboard; remind them to put their best foot forward with every incoming call. Courtesy is king. And nothing will torpedo your efforts (and your ROI) faster than a rushed, rude or cavalier team member answering your phone.

Who Should Use Call-Only Ads?

Many businesses already use PPC ads in their integrated marketing mix. A previous Marketing Tango post covers PPC basics, including benefits and terminology. If you’re not using paid advertising, Google’s AdWords Center offers everything you need to set up and manage an account.

But are Call-Only ads really right for your type of company? If direct calls deliver higher ROI than a visit to your website, then yes, Call-Only ads are certainly worth a try.

Companies in the ‘Urgency’ Business

The obvious candidates for Call-Only ads include businesses that cater to busy mobile consumers searching for food, drinks or entertainment. Restaurants, for example, that offer takeout or accept phone-in orders and table reservations can surely benefit from Call-Only advertising.

But the new format might also favor companies whose business centers on handling more urgent situations, such as those that require a rapid response or professional intervention. Examples include:

  • Plumbers: It’s easy to imagine a panicky homeowner grabbing a cell phone and searching for help repairing a broken water pipe, clogged toilet or leaky bathtub.
  • Walk-In/Urgent Care Centers: Most people will call 911 for life-threatening matters but may search local listings for care and treatment for minor accidents and mishaps.
  • Pet Emergencies: We all love our pets and want immediate care when something unexpected happens to them; Call-Only ads put vet/care center numbers right at pet owners’ fingertips.
  • Locksmith: who hasn’t had the helpless, sinking feeling of being locked out (and willing to pay almost anything to get back in)? And who hasn’t immediately reached for their cell phone, hoping against hope that the local locksmith will answer the call?

Call-Only ads aren’t for everyone. They aren’t particularly good for brand or image building, for example. But with a little planning and a modest budget they can make the phone–and maybe even your cash registers–ring more often.

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