Tracking Google Ads Call Extension Calls From Keyword to Conversion to Revenue

Blair Symes Senior Director of Product Marketing, DialogTech

Google Ads call extensions (GCEs) enable you to include a clickable phone number in your search ads, giving searchers the ability to call directly from the SERP without visiting your website. If consumers call your business as part of the buyer or patient journey, then GCEs are probably both a huge opportunity and a huge challenge for your marketing team.

Google Ads call extensions can be an extremely effective way to drive conversions from search. However, as I will go over shortly, data shows that most GCE calls aren’t high-quality sales leads and don’t convert to appointments or customers. Without the right data on GCE calls to guide your optimizations, it can be difficult to get the results and ROI you want.

There are solutions that can help you capture and activate the data you need to drive the best results from GCEs. Let’s do a deep-dive into Google Ads call extensions and explore the data options to consider.

Google Ads Call Extensions Are a Powerful Tool for Driving Call Conversions

The marketing opportunity with Google Ads call extensions is clear: GCEs are the easiest way to drive phone call conversions from paid search. Instead of risking dropoff by forcing searchers that want to talk to you to take the extra steps of clicking through to your site and finding a phone number, GCEs generate an immediate call directly from your search ads. Your sales agents or locations then get connected in conversation with a live caller they can convert to an opportunity, appointment, customer, or patient.

Google says the mere act of having a call extension appear in a search ad increases its clickthrough rates. And for businesses in industries where consumers call to ask questions, book appointments, and place orders, not having a call extension in your Google search ad is a big risk — especially if your competitors’ ads have them. You could be losing business by not providing that immediate call option in the SERP.

The Value of Calls From Google Ads Call Extensions Can Vary Greatly

The marketing challenge with Google Ads call extensions is in knowing how to make the right optimizations to drive the best results. Because results from GCE calls can vary greatly from business to business and from keyword to keyword. You need to optimize closely or else you risk wasting budget driving the wrong types of callers.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a closer look at the data. At DialogTech, our AI-powered call tracking solution attributes and analyzes millions of calls to businesses from Google Ads every week — from both call extensions and websites. When we compare results from GCE calls versus callers that clicked on a Google paid search ad and called from the website, most calls are coming from website visitors:

  • Percent of Google Ads calls that are from call extensions: 29%
  • Percent of Google Ads calls that are from website visitors: 71%

This makes sense, as GCEs aren’t displayed in most ads — plus searchers often want more information on a business before calling and click through to the website first to look for it. But when we compare the sales lead quality from GCE callers versus website callers, we also see that callers from GCE as a whole aren’t as valuable:

  • Percent of Google Ads calls from call extensions that are sales leads: 20%
  • Percent of Google Ads calls from website visitors that are sales leads: 31%

So overall, Google Ads advertisers generate fewer calls from GCE than from website visitors, and a lower percentage of those GCE calls are sales leads. Why then would you want to offer call extensions in your ads at all? First, because they do a good job converting those searchers ready to call — and if your ads don’t do that, your competitors’ ads will. Second, because GCE results vary from industry to industry and keyword to keyword — and GCEs are very effective for some. For example:

  • In auto repair, GCE calls are only about 20% of Google Ads call volume, but in insurance and dental they are around 50%, and in senior care, GCE calls outnumber Google Ads calls from website visits nearly 2 to 1.
  • In physical therapy, half as many GCE calls are sales leads compared to Google Ads calls from website visitors, but in home services, more sales lead calls come from GCE than from website visitors.
  • For one DialogTech customer in logistics, 90% of their GCE calls for branded keywords were from job seekers — so they removed call extensions from those keywords. For another customer in healthcare, they get twice as many patient lead calls from GCE for non-branded keywords as from branded keywords. And for a customer in insurance, a higher percentage of GCE calls from branded keywords are sales leads than from non-branded keyword calls.

Marketers Need the Right Data to Succeed With Google Ads Call Extensions

So that’s the opportunity and challenge with Google Ads call extensions. They can drive good results for many businesses, but you have to monitor your results down to the keyword and manage your optimizations closely. Otherwise, you risk wasting your budget diving high volumes of calls that aren’t contributing to customer acquisition and revenue.

Marketers should understand the results they are getting from GCE calls at the keyword level to measure ROI and know what adjustments to make to improve results. That’s true whether you are doing your own bid adjustments manually or handing over the reins to Google’s smart bidding algorithm or a bid management tool like Search Ads 360.

Google Connects GCE Calls to the Keyword But Not to the Caller or Their Value

The data Google provides for call extension calls is limited. Google can tell you how many mobile GCE calls you are driving from your keywords, but they don’t identify who each caller is or provide data on the lead quality, conversion outcome, and business value of the call or how much revenue it drove. Without that qualitative data, costly challenges can arise, including:

  • Uncertain ROI: Marketers will struggle to measure the true return on their Google Ads spend.
  • Uncertain Bid Strategies: It’s hard to know what the right bid amounts are for each keyword to drive the best return.
  • Unclear Call Extensions Decisions: It’s hard to know which keywords you should increase your spend on to ensure Google displays a call extension more frequently — and which ones you shouldn’t. It’s also hard to know if you should be showing call extensions at all for certain keywords.
  • Lost Opportunities: You might mistakenly pull the plug on keywords that are expensive but are also generating highly-profitable sales or appointments from GCE calls.

How DialogTech Tracks GCE Calls From Keyword to Conversion to Revenue

DialogTech is the only call tracking solution that captures the Google click ID (GCLID) for mobile calls from Google Ads call extensions. Capturing the GCLID is important. It enables DialogTech to accurately connect a mobile GCE call to both the caller and the keyword. (No one — including Google — attributes desktop GCE calls to the keyword, but the good news is that the overwhelming majority of GCE calls are from mobile.)

Other methods such as using caller ID are flawed and attribute the wrong keyword 30% to 40% of the time — any optimizations you make on that data is asking for trouble. But DialogTech has proven to get the right keyword for 87% or more of all mobile GCE calls, and for that small percentage of calls where DialogTech’s call tracking solution can’t get the right keyword with certainty, it won’t guess. It simply attributes the call to a GCE without specifying the keyword, enabling you to optimize on the keyword data you get from DialogTech with complete confidence. 

What’s more, because DialogTech knows who the caller is and what keyword drove their GCE call, it can connect that data to the call’s intent, lead quality, conversion outcome, and downstream revenue to enable you to do some truly impactful keyword-level optimizations. DialogTech does this using two methods:

  1. AI-Driven Conversation Intelligence: DialogTech’s AI analyzes every phone conversation and call experience at scale to measure if the call was answered, if the caller was a sales lead, their product/service interest, the quality of the lead (regardless of whether they converted on the call or not), if the call resulted in a conversion, and more. The benefit of this AI data is its immediacy. For many industries, revenue generated from a caller can take days/weeks/months to be realized after their call. With AI, you don’t have to wait; you can activate insights from the conversation in Google Ads, Search Ads 360, and more to fuel more impactful optimizations to ensure you hit your goals.
  2. Revenue Matchback: The ultimate value of any call is the downstream revenue it helps businesses generate. Because DialogTech captures both the caller’s identity (GCLID, caller ID, and other identifiers) and the keyword that drove their Google Ads call, it can connect those callers to downstream revenue captured in CRMs like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics or other systems of record. Linking GCE and other Google Ads calls from keyword to revenue enables you to quantify the true marketing ROI for each keyword and make smarter optimizations to increase revenue and lower customer acquisition costs.

Benefits of Using DialogTech’s Call Tracking for Google Ads and GCE Calls

Better data powers better decision-making and results. With accurate data on the volume and value of calls from Google Ads call extensions and website visitors from DialogTech, you have the insights you need to:

  • Make Smarter Bids and Bid Adjustments: Now that you can quantify the value of calls from both GCEs and website visitors at the keyword level, you (or Google, if you use Google Ads smart bidding) can determine exactly what changes to make to drive better results. That includes allocating the right bid amounts for each type of call to get the best return, determining when to show call extensions and when not to, and segmenting callers into the best audiences based on their intent, lead score, and outcome of their call.
  • Increase Revenue and Return from Google Ads: Taking this data-driven approach to Google Ads will help you not just optimize on what works, but eliminate spend on what doesn’t. You should see an initial increase in revenue and a decrease in customer acquisition costs fairly quickly, and then continued optimizations using accurate data will enable you to drive incremental improvements each month.
  • Prove the Business Impact of Your Google Ads Spend: Marketers are always asked to prove the value you are driving to your business, your locations and franchisees, or your clients if you’re at an agency. Capturing the volume and value (leads, conversions, revenue) of the calls you are driving from GCE and other channels/campaigns will help you do it.

Sample DialogTech report of the volume, value, and outcome of Google Ads call extension calls by keyword

More Resources to Help You Drive Better Results From Calls From Google Ads

Google Ads call extensions offer marketers a big opportunity to drive more conversions and customers, but you have to manage your spend and keyword strategy closely. By getting accurate data on both the quantity, quality, and revenue from GCE calls at the keyword level, you have the insights you need to hit your goals and generate the best return from Google Ads.

If you want to learn more strategies for calls from Google Ads, first watch our on-demand webinar with Google called 60-Minute Masterclass: Google Ads & Phone Call Conversions. Then you can also download our playbook on Driving Appointment Calls From Paid Search After COVID-19.

Want to learn more strategies for calls from Google Ads? Download our playbook on Driving Appointment Calls From Paid Search After COVID-19.

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