Google introduced “Click to Call” in January as a component of its location extensions offering in mobile. Advertisers were permitted to include a phone number associated with a physical location, which would then show on high-end smartphones as an additional line of text.
When the user clicked the phone number and initiated a call the advertiser would pay the cost bid for a click, in the same way as if there had been a click on a URL. However there’s a great deal more value delivered through a call in most cases.
The advertiser was originally required to associate a telephone number with a physical address to utilize Click to Call. Now Google has decided to expand the scope of the offering to any advertiser. There is now no need for a physical address. That means calls can be directed to call centers and more easily utilized by “national” advertisers.
Google told me previously that click-through rates (“CTRs”) on these ads have been from “5 to 30 percent better” than other AdWords CTRs in mobile. Even the URLs in these ads get more clicks, according toSurojit Chatterjee, Product Lead, Local Mobile Advertising, Google.
He added that this expansion of the Click to Call program is partly being driven by national advertiser interest. “There was a tremendous response from large insurance companies, travel and rental car companies and healthcare, among others,” said Chatterjee. “There has just be a great response.”
Google believes (and hopes) that smart advertisers will start bidding more aggressively on these types of ads. But for now they remain a bargain relatively speaking. As I said previously, it’s a call for the price of a click.