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Google’s new Adword policy – NO phone numbers in PPC ads & Sitelink extension

If you are already having an adwords account of your own or are managing adwords / ppc campaigns for others you would have noticed Google has officially started notifying Adword customers that ads using phone numbers in adtext & sitelinks extensions will be disapproved starting April. (and no it’s not April fool prank ). For those who are not yet well versed with adwords, I would simply say that a very important  feature of adwords was the ability to use phone numbers on ads and sitelinks making it easier for a mobile search users to reach the advertisers.

Earlier this week in a formal announcement Google said, “In the next few weeks, we will no longer allow phone numbers to be used in the ad text of new ads. Advertisers who would still like to promote phone numbers in their AdWords advertising can use the call extensions feature. We’re posting this alert now to provide adequate lead time to make ad changes.

In April 2013, we will begin to disapprove ads that were using phone numbers in their ad text before the March 2013 policy change. We are making this change to foster a safer, more consistent user experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.”

The latter is one of the key goals of Google and given the increase in mobile usage and the future prospects of mobile, Google wants to monetize the click to call feature and what better time than now.

The “Call” button is only displayed on smartphones and can be seen on Google’s search, Voice search, Google Mobile App or Google Maps for Mobile. On desktops, laptops and tablets, ads appear with a phone number that is not clickable. With this change when a user searches on Google using their smart phone or GPS enabled handheld device they would be directly able to make a phone call, using the call extension, the advertiser would be charged the same as for a standard click on the ad.

Here’s small example of this new extension would work in different devices

Desktop and/or Laptop :-

Before :-


Picture1After :-


Picture2Image 2 – The 1st PPC ad is only using the Call Extension & hence the phone number is in-line with the headline.

While – The 2nd ad in image 2, is using location extension – One thing to note is if you have location extensions and call extensions both enabled for the same ad, users near your business will see the address of your business as listed in the location extension, which is the only implication it seems where only one extension will show.

The good thing about this feature is that it will give the advertiser more room to use the character space and describe more about the service/product rather than wasting it mentioning the call no.

Mobile & GPS enabled hand phone:


Picture3The flipside for advertiser is that they will now be charged for clicked links & calls made from PPC ads, whereas previously they would slip telephone numbers into the text of their advert description and benefit from potential customers accessing their contact details without having to click on the URL.

Advertisers, particularly small businesses, will need to consider call extensions when setting their PPC budgets. In addition, in order for call extensions to show “your ad group will have to receive a minimum number of clicks … and a minimum number of calls to show a Google forwarding number”.

Google added, “Call extensions are best for you if you have a national service center, or if your business isn’t tied to a specific physical location.” We’re awaiting clarification on what these statements mean for local businesses. In the meantime, prepare to remove phone numbers from your text ads by April Fools Day.

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