On February 20th, 2015, Google introduced Call Only Campaigns. These campaigns use a mobile only ad type that when clicked initiates a phone call rather than a website visit. In theory, this is a great idea. Advertisers are now able to bid on a phone call, rather than a website visit.
For advertisers who have been sending traffic to their website in the hopes of getting visitors to call, this seems too good to be true. And, in a way, it is. Now that this campaign type has been out for a few months, we can begin to see that, unfortunately, most clicks never lead to a phone call. Let’s see how it works.
How It Works: Google Call Only Ad Campaigns
As users place Google queries on their mobile phone, they can now encounter Call Only ads at the top of their search results. These ads use a phone number as the headline to emphasize that a call is being placed.
When a searcher clicks on a Call Only ad, they are taken to their phone’s keypad screen. For convenience, and to help prompt the call, the advertiser’s phone number is automatically populated. However, a conversion requires the user to perform an additional click of a button to begin the call.
While this hurdle may seem easy enough to clear, we can now see that very few people are actually clicking the button to place the call. Considering that people have been clicking on mobile ads for years and arriving at websites, this is pretty predictable. When the click instead takes them to their keypad screen, the first reaction is to back out of the call.
At Forthea, we set up a Call Only campaign in the last month. This campaign yielded eight clicks at $13.90 per click. However, of those eight clicks, only one resulted in a call to the advertiser, raising the cost per converted click to a whopping $111.19.
In order for this program to fulfill its promise of providing calls by the click, Google will need to begin a program similar to “invalid activity” adjustments. These adjustments help to sort through any activity that artificially inflates costs in other Google advertising campaigns.
Until Google can normalize costs, early adopters of Call Only ads will be spending the bulk of their money on clicks that yield no phone call or website visit.
If you’re ready to build your interactive marketing strategy with Forthea, contact us today.