AdWords Call Only Campaigns

When using Google AdWords you will have the ability to create what are referred to as AdWords Call Only Campaigns. I was recently asked what kind of success I had experienced with these type of campaigns so I thought I would write a little bit about what they are and how to use them.

First of all, “AdWords Call Only Campaigns” is not a campaign you will find listed as a type of campaign when you create a new campaign. Call only campaigns are the result of building your campaign and ads in such a way that that they focus on generating phone calls to your business. You might start by choosing to create a Search only campaign; you would then try setting your maximum bids to a level that is a third of what you would expect to pay to be listed on the first page of the search results and then adjust your bid upwards by 300% for mobile devices. Doing this will limit your exposure on desktop computers while at the same time keeping your bids high enough to rank well on mobile devices.

You would then what to ad a call extension to this campaign. Ad extensions are never guaranteed to display and if you want to focus on getting phone calls you want to be careful before adding too many extensions. Space on mobile devices is more limited than that on a desktop so you want to make sure that if there is space available it is your phone number that shows. You will also have the option of setting your call extension to only allow clicks to call when someone clicks your ad. This means they will only be able to call you when clicking your ad and they won’t be taken to your website. Personally I do not recommend this option as it might be annoying to those searchers who would like to visit the website first.

Create Ads That Are Mobile Friendly

Another good practice when building an AdWords Call Only Campaign is to create ads that are mobile friendly. Mobile ads might be shorter and more to the point since mobile searchers can be easily distracted. Your calls to action should be more geared to phone calls. A good call to action might simply be “Call Us Now!”.

It is also a good practice when targeting mobile devices in general to targeted shorter keywords and keyword phrases. Not all people are completely used to searching on their phones so they tend to type in shorter searches. They might search for “pizza” instead of “fast pizza delivery in Chicago”.

Now, as far as the success I have had running AdWords Call Only Campaigns, it has varied depending on the business I am advertising. Call only has worked very well for locksmiths, car services, and dentists. These are industries where the searcher may not expect to find the quick answers he is looking for on a website and would rather just speak to a live person. For industries such as real estate or ecommerce people want to see visuals before speaking to anyone and a call only campaign might not work as well.


One thing you always want to keep an eye on when running an AdWords Call Only Campaign is the “click type” under your segment options. Click to call is a two step process. The initial click loads the number into your mobile device but the caller still has to complete the call. This can lead to a lot of charges for clicks with few phone calls. You need to keep tabs of how many “click to calls” it takes for you to receive an actual call. As long as you are aware of this number and factor it in to your ROI you should be fine. Make your advertising decisions based on data not assumptions.