Google Opens Up Call Metrics, Plans Bid-For-Calls Marketplace

This morning Google is announcing that its Call Metrics call-tracking capability is going to be generally available to all US and Canadian AdWords advertisers. Call Metrics is not to be confused with mobile Click to Call ads, though Call Metrics is available to Click to Call mobile advertisers as well.

Below is an example ad (ADT) using Call Metrics call tracking on the PC.

Powered by Google Voice, AdWords advertisers simply check a box to assign either a toll-free or local tracking number to their campaigns. The inclusion of the phone number doesn’t impinge on the AdWords character count. This has been cited to me by a couple of SEMs as one of the benefits of using Call Metrics vs. third party call tracking.

However other call tracking firms offer features not yet available in Google Call Metrics (e.g., Marchex, Telmetrics with call recording and transcription). In addition SEM platform Kenshoo already offers what it calls “call conversion optimization,” which tracks phone calls and optimizes bids on ads that are generating the most phone leads.

When Google Call Metrics first launched in early beta last November it was free. In April of this year Google began to charge $1 per completed call.

Google’s Surojit Chatterjee said that during the limited beta period Google has connected more than five million calls with an average duration of about six minutes. He said that Google had seen “very good response so far” and was “very optimistic about this program.”

As with Click to Call on mobile devices, Chatterjee said that ads with phone numbers in them often see higher CTRs on the PC. He added that even with the phone numbers there’s been no reduction in the number of clicks for Call Metrics ads. However Call Metrics is fundamentally not about driving higher CTRs it’s about giving advertisers visibility and tracking on “offline leads” being generated by AdWords.

Eventually call-through rates will likely be incorporated into Google’s scoring and ranking of paid-search ads, although that’s not going to happen in the near future. What’s also likely is a bid-for-calls marketplace on the PC. One already exists in mobile because advertisers can opt-out of PC distribution and bid only on mobile calls.

This would mark the arrival of PPCall advertising on Google and would exist in parallel with traditional PPC bidding. In other words advertisers might bid one price for a click and one price for a call. However Chatterjee cautioned that such a move was not imminent. Still, it would mark a major and potentially very powerful new element in AdWords.

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Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Google: AdWords | Google: Analytics | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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