What is a call extension?

What is a call extension?

A call extension is an ad extension in Google Ads (formerly AdWords) that will show your phone number alongside your ad and encourage prospects to call your directly. On mobile this can show up as a “click-to-call” button.

How does a call extension work?

One of many “ad extensions” you can run within Google Ads, call extensions append your phone number to your ad on the SERP. You can add these phone numbers at an account level, campaign level, or ad group level depending on what works best per the size and structure of your account.

These call extensions won’t always show up though. Google chooses to show extensions it believes will most likely improve the performance of the ad. Additionally, Google has a minimum Ad Rank that your ads must meet in order to show and your ad has to be showing high enough on the SERP. Google only has a limited amount of page real estate above the organic listings to show ads, so only the top position ads (typically 1 and 2), are able to show extensions.

Who should use call extensions? And When?

Any advertiser looking to receive calls to their business should be using call extensions. This ensures that in addition to seeing compelling ad copy and your website URL, prospects who’ve searched for your brand or product see your business phone number, and if they’re so inclined can call it. This is especially important for local businesses and mobile campaigns surrounding localized search queries.

How to set up a call extension:

To set up a call extension you’ll need to navigate to the “Ad Extensions” tab and select “Call Extensions” from the “View” dropdown.

adwords call extension set up

Once that’s selected you’ll have the option of adding an extension at either the account, campaign or ad group level.

adwords call extension set up

Whether you set up your call extension on the account, campaign or ad group level is dependent on several factors:

  • The size of your account
  • The structure of your account
  • How you want to segment your call data

If you’re a small business offering one or two products setting up call extensions on the account level is likely a good fit. This means that the same call extension will run with every ad in your account. This also makes sense for any business that is only using one phone number.

If your account is relatively large, with multiple campaigns broken down by brand keywords, product types, etc. and you have multiple tracking phone numbers, adding your call extensions on the campaign level is likely your best move.

Adding your call extension at an ad group level adds one more level of specificity if you have dramatically different ad groups living within one campaign. If that is the case you can certainly add your call extensions here, but in a lot of instances, the better choice would likely be to reorganize your campaigns so that one number works for each campaign.

Once you’ve selected where you want your call extension to go, it’s time to actually create it. You’ll hit the “+Extension” button and then the “+New Phone Number” button to bring up the setup screen.
adwords call extension set up
Here you can input the number you’d like called, whether you want call reporting turned on using a Google forwarding number if you’d prefer this number to show on mobile devices, and when you’d like the ad to show.

If you want to enable call reporting, which will create a conversion in your account for each phone call made, click “On” for “Call Reporting” and select “Count calls as phone call conversions.” You’ll also have to create a conversion action to associate with these calls.

You have the option to schedule the times when your call extensions show. If you’re only manning the phones at your business during certain hours, scheduling here is an easy way to make sure your number is only listed while you’re able to take calls.

Once you’re finished here you’ll click save and you’re done!

Call extensions and call reporting are an important part of generating results via Google Ads as well as reporting on those results to clients. When you’re running call extensions in Ads there is some insight you can get from these calls in the “Dimensions” tab, but to really delve into these calls and gain actionable insights, it’s helpful to work with a call tracking vendor so you can generate multiple numbers, listen to call recordings and evaluate the quality of calls as leads.