Upcoming Changes to AdWords Call Tracking Reporting

Like many of you, I have taken advantage of Google AdWords’ call extensions for numerous paid search campaigns. Though I wouldn’t refer to ‘click-to-call’ as a godsend, it certainly has had a positive impact on phone conversions for some of the advertisers on my roster.

One of the drawbacks, though, have been the limitations Google has provided us in terms of defining what exactly a “call conversion” means. You can set the minimum time, sure, but that only begins to delve into the possibilities when looking at call tracking for conversions.

I received an email over the weekend from Google, as some of you may have as well, which may help to get a bit more granular with our call tracking capabilities. Coming soon (though, conspicuously, no exact date has been given), AdWords call tracking reporting is getting a much needed upgrade.

Instead of simply choosing one minimum length, SEM managers will now have the ability to create separate conversion actions for calls of various lengths. For example, if a call lasts 30 seconds, that would be named “Conversion 1”; calls lasting two minutes may be named “Conversion 2”, etc.

Though the email from Google gives an example of this in terms of 2 products, here’s a practical application of this I may even use myself:

Say your advertiser receives, generally, 3 types of calls: new customers, customer support, and “erroneous” calls (calls for other companies with similar names). From analyzing our third-party call tracking reporting, I know that, on average, “erroneous” calls last less than 90 seconds; new customer calls last up to 5 minutes; and customer support calls are typically the longest, ranging from 5-15 minutes or more. Within AdWords, I can set each of these identifying calls up by name, so I have a better understanding on what ad groups are driving certain types of phone calls. Certainly, this isn’t a perfect science, even in the classification of calls, but its definitely better than the current AdWords call tracking reporting.

In addition, for those who manage campaigns on an ROAS (return on ad spend) basis, you have the option to apply this bidding strategy to your campaigns to maximize call conversions. This is perfect for advertisers who solely or mainly value the phone call itself.

While certainly nothing revolutionary, I do like that Google is making even small changes to its call tracking product, as this will become even more significant as this year turns into next, when mobile ad dollars are expected to rise significantly.