162 billion. That’s how many times consumers will call businesses by the year 2019 according to BIA/Kelsey.
Mass mobile adoption has opened the floodgates for phone calls, and in response, Google has been making sure advertisers are equipped to take advantage. First they added call extensions, then call tracking from the landing page, and most recently, call-only campaigns.
Call-only campaigns make driving and tracking calls super simple, but they take some getting used to. You can’t slap your traditional PPC strategy onto your call-only campaigns and cross your fingers that it will work.
Here are 10 tips to ensure you’re getting the most from your call-only ads and campaigns.
1. Use the URL
Call-only campaigns have less real estate to work with than traditional PPC ads. You don’t have a headline (your headline is your phone number) and you don’t have a landing page. This makes your URL all the more important. Try adding a CTA or keyword to the end of your display URL. Use those 35 characters to reinforce your message!
2. Test Your Copy
The ad copy on your call-only campaigns should be highly targeted and concise. You only have two lines of 35 characters, so be sure to include a CTA that encourages people to call you. As with click ads, it’s also a good idea to include the keyword in your ad copy.
3. Start by Bidding High
If you’re launching a new call-only campaign, it’s better to bid high. You may lose money at first, but you’ll gain valuable data that will pay off when you’re optimizing. Plus, when it comes to AdWords, it’s hard to dig yourself out of a hole so you want to make sure to secure the top one or two position right off the bat.
4. Target Call-Centric Keywords
Make sure you’re targeting keywords that appeal to the segment of your audience with the highest likelihood of calling. These could be location-based keywords for customers looking to visit your business, or keywords that resonate with customers farther down in the purchasing funnel. You may also find that people prefer to have a conversation when purchasing certain products or services (like bigger-ticket items).
Remember, call-only ads don’t let people click through to your website, so your keywords have to target people with high intent who want to get quick answers or to take immediate action without research.
5. Schedule Ads Strategically
You don’t want to drive phone calls to a voicemail or unmanned call center. Use a manual bidding CPC strategy so you can limit your call-only campaigns to only run during business hours. You can even look at peak call times and days so you can take advantage of trends in consumer behavior and preferences and adjust your bids to ensure ads appear during those times.
6. Use Location Targeting
If you’re a local business, location targeting is key. Make sure you’re using a local phone number and that calls are automatically routed to the store or branch nearest to the caller’s location. You may find that some geographic areas refer more callers, or higher quality calls than others, so it may be worth increasing your bids for people in that area.
7. Calculate Your Call-Through Rate
Remember that not all clicks lead to phone calls – but you are paying for all clicks. Once someone clicks a call-only ad, an auto dialer will appear on their phone screen, which they then must click to make the call. Figure out how many clicks actually result in phone calls so you can optimize your bids based on calls versus clicks.
A large disparity between clicks and calls (or a high call abandon rate) could mean your audience does not want to call and you might need to rethink your ad copy or keyword strategy.
Note that if you use Google’s forwarding numbers and call reporting you can add a phone-though rate (PTR) column to your reporting. PTR shows you how many times your number is called (through the call button or manual dialing) as a percentage of total impressions.
8. Measure Call Quality
Counting calls isn’t enough when trying to optimize bidding, measure performance, or calculate ROI. Look at which calls are actually turning into customers. You can easily do this with a call intelligence solution that tracks the outcome of a phone call. If you’re using basic call tracking, from Google or a third party-vendor, you can look at call tracking metrics like call duration to get some understanding of call quality.
Once you understand quality, you can begin optimizing your bids to increase quality traffic instead of just volume. If you don’t measure quality, you could actually be driving negative ROI by referring calls that waste your sales agents’ time.
9. Don’t Forget the Caller Experience
The calls are flooding in. Job well done! Now it’s time to get the most out of each and every one of those calls. Don’t lose potential customers with a long or confusing phone menu. Make sure calls are automatically directed to the right location or sales agent who can best help. If you can personalize the caller experience based on the keyword or campaign that referred the call, all the better.
10. Retarget Unconverted Calls
Syncing call data with your retargeting campaigns and retargeting lists for search ads (RLSAs) empowers you to retarget your audience more effectively because your messaging and overall strategy are based on their online and offline engagement history. If you know a phone call didn’t turn into a sale, you can hit them with a retargeting ad.
Callers tend to be highly engaged, quality prospects, so they’re a perfect fit for retargeting. Plus you will eliminate the risk of retargeting someone with a discount offer who already converted over the phone.
Any company that does business over the phone should be using call-only campaigns. People seeking an actual conversation are your most valuable prospects, so don’t neglect them and don’t miss an opportunity to test and optimize to maximize these calls. Can you think of a better use of your AdWords dollars?
About the author
Amber Tiffany is a marketing manager at Invoca with a background in SEM, lead generation, and content marketing. Invoca is a call intelligence solution that helps marketers learn who's calling and why.