How to Set Up Inbound Call Tracking in Google Ads

If you’re building a business that relies on funneling customers towards making large transactions, then sales calls are the lifeblood of your business.

These days, it seems that most business focus solely on social media marketing or e-mail marketing to turn more prospects into customers. So if you think phone calls are a thing of the past, consider these facts:

Sales calls are one of the best ways to build trust with potential customers. The truth is, if you’re selling a subscription product, high-ticket consulting, or any other expensive product or service, you simply can’t get customers to commit to a purchase after just a few Facebook ads and e-mails.

People need to know who’s on the other end of the computer screen before putting their hard earned money down. They need to feel like they can trust you should something go wrong and they need customer service or even a refund.

That’s why getting people on a sales call is such an important part of a good marketing funnel.

Learn More: How to Create a Marketing Funnel that Generates Sales (Templates Included)

When potential customers are ready to buy, they should be able to contact you or your sales team with little or no friction.

For example, at Single Grain, we put our phone number at the top of the page so anyone interested in marketing services can give us a call at any time.  

How to Set Up Call Tracking in Google AdWords

But one thing that’s even more important is creating a system around generating sales calls instead of just following random tactics.

It’s easy to place a phone number on a site, sit back, cross your fingers, and hope that people call. But how do you keep track of the number of people who are finding your number through the site? How do you know where they’re coming from? How do you know what they’re searching for? How do you know what they care about?

If you know these details, then you can get more targeted with your advertising. You can put your ads in front of the right type of customers who are searching for specific keywords so that you boost the number of calls you get and sell more high-ticket products.

Many business owners use Google Ads to drive more people to their site or get more sales calls. But the problem is, many don’t have any idea what the ROI of their Ads campaign really is.

For example, how do you know whether someone called your business as a result of your Ads ads without asking them?

Google allows you to measure the number of calls you get from visitors who land on your site as a result of an ad from one of your Ads campaigns.

Jeremy Foster, director of marketing at 1000Bulbs, found that Ads was driving twice as many calls to his business as previously thought. He even found that customers who call directly from his site tend to spend over five minutes on the phone.

Data like this can help you close more deals in a shorter amount of time by targeting the right people.

In another example, Paige Polatas (a B2B marketer), said that tracking call conversions helped her invest in Ads more wisely and ultimately get a 147% increase in Ads call volume.  

Elan Hasson, digital marketing and information manager at People’s Trust Insurance, found a 79% increase in total calls attributed to Ads after tracking the sales call ROI of his Google Ads campaigns.

In this post, I’ll show you how to set up Google’s call tracking feature on your site so that you can measure how your Ads  affect your call volume.

But first, let’s talk about how call tracking actually works.

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How Call Tracking Works

Suppose a visitor clicks on a Google Ads ad that leads them to your website.

Once on your site, they spend some time researching your products, maybe skim through your blog, and check out your testimonials. Then they see a phone number listed at the top of the page. They’re interested in knowing more, so they decide to call.

How to Set Up Call Tracking in Google AdWords

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According to the Google Blog, they’ve launched a new feature called “website call conversions” that inserts a forwarding number on your website that measures the calls made by anyone who clicked on your Ads ad. Even if they dial the number directly from their phone, you can attribute the call conversion back to the keyword and ad that pushed the customer to call.

Google does this by providing you with a snippet of code that you add to your desktop or mobile site. For each Ads ad click, a new forwarding number is generated. The number is displayed to the user for 90 days to track future calls from that specific visitor.

On mobile devices, call extensions are displayed as “call” buttons that allow users to contact businesses directly from the search results page.

How to Set Up Call Tracking in Google AdWords

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On desktop, advertisers can leverage call extensions to show their business phone number in a slightly different way.

How to Set Up Call Tracking in Google AdWords

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If customers don’t call from the number displayed in your Ads ad but call the number on your website instead, you can still track those calls. According to Search Engine Land, a quick solution here is to display your own unique number that isn’t being used anywhere else — so you know exactly how many people are calling as a result of your Ads ad.

A slightly more sophisticated approach is to set up call tracking on Google so that new numbers are shown to different users who click on your ads.

The call tracking system essentially measures your total monthly visitors and, based on that, it calculates how many phone numbers need to be dynamically displayed in order to show a different number for each click.

The last place where you can include your business’s phone number on Google is on Display Ads.

If you want to show trackable phone numbers in display ads, you’ll have to add the numbers manually. This way, you’ll still have a good sense of whether display advertising is driving calls for your business.

Next, we’ll talk about the different steps to setting up call tracking in Google Ads to tie your sales calls to specific keywords that customers searched for.

Free Bonus Download: Want to download a handy checklist version of this post? Click here to download it free.

How to Implement Google Ads Call Tracking

To gauge how many calls your ads generate, you’ll need to first set up conversion tracking for your site.

Here are some benefits of implementing conversion tracking for your business:

It helps you better understand how well your keywords, ads, ad groups, and campaigns are working for your business. According to Google, conversion tracking also allows you to take advantage of automatic bid strategies such as Target cost-per-acquisition and Target return on ad spend. These features help you automatically improve your campaigns.

Read More: How To Set Up Google Ads Ads in Google Maps

There a few requirements you need to meet before being able to set up call tracking on Ads:

  • You need an active call extension or call-only ad. Before or after creating a call conversion action, you’ll need to have at least one call extension or call-only ad. You’ll have to use a Google forwarding number with “count calls as phone call conversions” selected.

The first thing to do is to sign in to your Google Ads account.

From there, click the “Tools” tab, and select conversions from the drop down menu.

How to Set Up Call Tracking in Google AdWords

From there, click the “+ conversion” button to add a conversion action.

How to Set Up Call Tracking in Google AdWords

From there, select the “phone calls” option.

How to Set Up Call Tracking in Google AdWords

  • Select “calls from call-only ads or ads using call extensions.”
  • Then, click “name,” and enter the name of the phone call conversion you want to track. For example, you might want title it something like “sales calls” or “inbound customer inquiries.”
  • Then, click “value.” Enter a value for each call, or select “don’t assign a value” if you’d prefer not to count one.
  • Next, click on “call length.” You can enter the minimum length, in seconds, that a phone call needs to last to be counted as a conversion. This way, you’d only be counting legitimate conversations you’re having with potential customers, not disconnected calls, wrong numbers, etc. From there, click “done.”
  • Then, click “count.” You can select whether to count every click or one conversion per ad click. If you’re tracking sales calls, “every” is better, but “one” is better for leads.
  • Next, click “conversion window.” Conversion windows are how long after an ad click you want to track conversions. It could range between one week and 60 days.
  • Then, click “category.” Here, you can select the category that best applies to your conversion. The choice here is used to segment your conversion reports, and can be changed later.
  • Finally click “go to call extensions” or “go to call-only ads.”
  • Before you can implement call tracking for Ad, you’ll need to have a call extension or a call-only adOnce you set that up, you can select the call-only ad or call extension that you want to use.
  • For call extensions, click the pencil that’s next to the phone number you want to edit. Next to the “show my ad with,” select “A Google forward phone number and use call reporting.”
  • Next, click “Advanced.” Next to “report phone call conversions,” check the box to “count calls as phone call conversions.” From there, select the name of the conversion action you just created.
  • For call-only ads, choose the call-only ad you want to use and click the pencil. Next to “show my ad with,” select “A Google forwarding phone number and use call reporting.”
  • Next to “report conversions,” check the box to “count calls as phone call conversions.”
  • Next to “conversion action,” select the name of the conversion action you just created.
  • Finally, save the ad.

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Sales calls are the bread and butter for many businesses. Local SMBs that sell consulting services or SaaS businesses that sell higher priced subscription products need to give customers the option to call them so that there’s some level of trust built before making the purchase.

Learn More: Irv Shapiro on Why Using Phone Numbers as Part of Your Ad Campaigns Can Double Conversions & Reduce Ad Spend by 10-30% [podcast]

Inbound calls matter even more for local businesses. Consider these facts:

So those who close deals over the phone but don’t use Ads to get their number in front of the right people are leaving money on the table.

In a world where most marketers are focused on social media and up-and-coming platforms, it pays to also stick to tried-and-true methods.

By setting up call tracking in Google Ads, you could skyrocket the number of calls you get to your business, and ultimately increase your bottom line. Need help? Contact a Google Ads specialist

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