What Are Call Only Ads?

In the spring of 2015, Google introduced to the advertising community “Call Only” ad campaigns, which allowed advertisers the option to advertise to their audiences on mobile enabled devices with the exclusive end goal to generate phone calls (similar to what call extensions provide) but without having to necessarily give prospects the option to visit their websites in addition.

Call only Ads

If you would like for me to set you up with a free call only campaign that gets your phone ringing like never before, then you can request that from me here


Why Call Only Ads Are Important

Call only ads have been touted in the PPC community as a way to gain an edge on your competition by removing friction in the sales process and weed out information seekers while doing it.

Eliminating the requirement of your audience members to visit your website to call you does in fact work to increase click to call conversion rates in many cases if in a niche where call only campaigns work well.


Situations Where Call Only Ads Can Work

If what you are offering is a fairly low-risk commitment, commoditized, and/or where your prospects are an extreme hurry to do business, a click to call campaign will likely work well for you.

I normally run click to call for national or regional campaigns where I wish to attract a large number of people around a general search topic. Drug rehab referrals, litigations, politics, or any other general/high-volume market services where prospects can be quickly pre-qualified on the phone are good examples where call only campaigns can excel.

Your ad copywriting skills are paramount to make these campaigns work well for you.


How to Set Up a Click to Call Campaign That Lowers Cost Per Acquisition Costs

First, build a website. Yes, Google still requires you to have a website to run a click to call campaign.

Next (and this step is optional), get a call forwarding number from CallRail.com and set it up to record and forward your calls generated by your call only campaigns, so you can personally verify the calls AdWords is sending you.

Once this is completed, follow the normal process for setting up your call only AdWords campaign inside the Google AdWords interface:

New Call Only Campaign Setup Setting

New Call Only Campaign Setup Setting


Call only Ad Copy Development Screen

Call Only Ad Copy Development Screen

When choosing which keywords to use with your campaign, I recommend starting out broad with your targeting, as the ad itself will do the pre-qualifying for you and can place you in less competitive auctions overall. This is how call only campaigns give you the edge over your competition specifically.


+drug +rehab

+alcohol +rehab


“drug rehabilitation center”


How to Determine Ad Performance With Click to Call

Google has its own tracking mechanism to record phone calls that originate from your call only campaigns. This is similar to how normal call extension tracking works via the Google AdWords ad interface under the campaign dimensions menu.

Call only Campaign History and Performance Metrics Report

Call Only Campaign History & Performance Metrics Report

One thing to remember when running call only campaigns (like normal call extensions) is that ad clicks are no guarantee of actual phone conversations. Your ads merely port the advertised number into the user’s phone so they can hit the dial button and actually call you.

My experience is that if you target your campaigns correctly, you should be able to realize a click to connection rate north of 50 percent.

click to call rate

You Can Easily See in Your Dashboard How Many Opportunities Are Being Generated (This is Also My Conversion Rate)

It’s good policy to set your goals for your call only campaigns to trigger after 30 seconds or 90, depending on what niche you are in, via your Goal settings menu.

Setting High Goal Conversation Threshold

Keep Track of Actual Opportunities by Setting a High Goal Conversion Threshold


Summary & Final Thoughts

As a rule of thumb, if your ads are written correctly with the right ad call to action (which is pivotal in click to call campaigns), you should be able to qualify one in five of your “clicks to call” or one in 10 of your “clicks to call” leads over time.

If you are exclusively running paid search ads and are regularly tapping your daily budgets, then you should experiment with exclusively running call only ads now to see how they handle your ad budget alternatively. If you are like me, you can likely lower your cost per lead by 50-100 percent by running call only vs. standard search ads in a niche where it works.


Corey Zieman

Paid Search Strategist

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