AdWords: Google announces changes to call extensions

Google has sent out a bunch of notifications to advertisers about upcoming changes to call extensions. Over the course of two emails to AdWords account users, the search giant is prepping advertisers for a couple small, but significant, changes to how it automates the ad extension.

The first change rolled out earlier this month and the second is coming in the first week of Feb. So here’s the lowdown on what to expect as Google tweaks its implementation of call extensions.


Location extensions to include Google My Business phone numbers

The first change affects ads that are running both call and location extensions. This is the change that rolled out on Jan 19 and Google is a little vague on the details. Here’s the email that’s been going around:



Essentially, the change affects ads that use location extensions but don’t use a phone number for that specific location in their call extension. In these cases, Google says it might automatically insert the local number from your Google My Business account. Presumably, the “might” means this will only happen for advertisers that provide this information on Google My Business, but that’s our guess only.

Why is the important? Well, a lot of advertisers don’t use local numbers in call extensions because Google hasn’t figured out how to track them. So this change will also make it impossible for you to use call conversion tracking by forcing you to use local numbers.

If you don’t use call conversion tracking on ads running both location and call extensions, then the change will have no impact on you at all. However, it’s a significant change for anyone that does or might need to in the future.

Automated call extensions to pull phone numbers from landing pages

The other change to call extensions rolls out on February 6th, 2017, and this only affects ads showing for mobile searches. What’s interesting is the change will affect ads that aren’t using call extensions.

Following the date, Google will automatically create call extensions for your ads if there are prominent calls-to-action including phone numbers on your landing pages. Again, this will only affect ads showing for mobile searches, where Google says automated call extensions could increase both CTRs and conversions that follow.

The change also means you’ll be able to get “detailed reporting insights” about calls generated from the automated extension. And, unlike the localised number change we mentioned above, this one will allow you to set up call conversion tracking without any issues.

If you don’t want Google to automatically generate call extensions in these cases, you can opt out of the system and also manually opt out on specific campaigns and ad groups after the change comes into effect.

So that’s all we know at this stage and we’ll be sure to keep you updated if any more information comes to light. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with any questions you have about ad extensions or other AdWords queries.


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About the Author

Google Adwords Partner and Facebook Ads specialist with a difference! 15 years experience in business, a qualified accountant and an MBA amongst other digital marketing qualifications. A wide range of experience across industries such as Manufacturing, Telecoms, Financial, Hospitality & Health & Beauty.

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