Call-Only AdWords Campaigns To DRASTICALLY Increase Calls

Posted in AdWords, Search, SEM

The case is true for many businesses: Phone calls convert and ultimately close at a much higher rate than other conversion types. AdWords call-only campaigns (when implemented correctly) are the perfect tool to increase mobile phone call traffic — drastically. However, they often leave users hanging with a few questions:

  • Which keywords do I use?
  • How can I run call-only campaigns seamlessly with other mobile traffic?

After numerous rounds of testing, we’ve discovered effective solutions and best practices that lead to optimal call-only campaigns. The secret’s in the strategy.

Keyword Selection

By capitalizing on current keyword inventory for both brand and non-brand, call volume can really take off. The key to success is actually quite simple: Identify the campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ultimately queries that are bringing in phone calls. How do you do that? Let’s take a look.

Step 1: Export a Keyword Report

Export a keyword report with a significant look-back — one year is ideal for most accounts, but it can vary based on account volume. Segment the report by ‘month’, ‘device’, and ‘click type.’ If you’re not tracking phone calls or using call extensions at this point, activate both to begin collecting data.


Step 2: Pivot Table Set-Up

Next step: Create a pivot table that shows keyword performance by ‘device’ and ‘click type’ with ‘month’ as the filter. Insert the most important metrics as ‘values’. Common metrics include CTR, CPC, Conversions, Cost/Conversion, and Conversion Rate.


Step 3: Analyze Keyword Performance

Begin by identifying the keywords receiving the highest amount of calls — these keywords indicate a user is likely further along in the buying process and is ready to buy… now! At this point, rather than implementing all of the high call volume keywords in the call-only campaign, start by choosing the keywords that perform best on a headline-to-call ratio.


As shown above, 59 percent of this keyword’s mobile volume is coming from phone calls at a significantly lower CPA. In this case, all phone calls are originating from a call extension. Putting this keyword in a call-only campaign with a call-specific ad would more than likely increase phone call volume significantly.

Step 4: Duplicate Keywords

Once you’ve selected the best keywords based on your goals, go ahead and duplicate them into the call-only campaign using call-specific ad copy enticing the user to call “now.”

Routing Mobile Traffic

By now it’s become apparent that running the same keyword in multiple campaigns will cause competition amongst mobile traffic. AdWords will not show the call-only ad in tandem with the standard ad; they will simply compete with one another. In many cases, due to the high value of a phone call, it’s worth eliminating or drastically reducing mobile headline traffic during call center hours in order to extract a higher amount of phone calls.

To properly route mobile traffic, run call-only campaigns only during business hours with a -75 to -100 percent mobile bid modifier on the matching standard campaign. Once the call-only campaigns are turned off for the day, remove the mobile bid modifier to fully open up mobile headline traffic for the remainder of the day. This process is most easily completed using a mobile bid modifier script. In the absence of scripting capabilities, this can either be done manually or a partial mobile bid modifier can run full-time.

Once routed properly, the best of both worlds emerge: driving mobile phone calls during business hours AND driving headline clicks after the call center closes.

The Results

Can it be true? Is it possible? How can mostly eliminating mobile headline traffic for a portion of the day be a good idea? If properly implemented, the results can be surprising. Here are the first two weeks after implementing our example keyword:

  • Spend stayed constant
  • Phone call volume increased 200 percent
  • Total mobile converted clicks increased 11 percent
  • Mobile CPA increased 3 percent


Ultimately, this strategy will re-allocate mobile conversion type from headline to phone calls. Due to the higher CPCs in call-only campaigns, CPA is almost always bound to increase slightly, which is easily justified in this case with close rates by conversion type. For our example keyword, close rates are almost 50 percent higher for phone calls, which means actual closed sales and cost-per-close became much better once call-only campaigns were implemented.

If a business’ lifeblood lies with closing phone calls, or even if phone calls provide a boost to revenue each month, it’s wise to take time to bring AdWords call-only campaigns into the mix. Do it right and it might be time to grow your sales team. 🙂