NEW Google AdWords Bid Per Call Strategy for Lead Generation

5 min. read | Last updated: May 29th, 2015

Have you heard about Google’s new bid-per-call feature in AdWords? Do you have a strategy for using it?

Google has long understood the value of phone call conversions. As early as 2007 my conversations with Google executives inevitably ended up in discussions of their plans to capture multi-channel conversions, specifically from phone calls.

Google has made many well-known moves in the phone space, including the launch of Google Talk, Google Voice and the most prominent acquisition: Motorola. Of course, we all know about their success with Android (and we’ve heard recently how badly Steve Jobs wanted to kill it).

Bid Per Call Now in AdWords

With Google’s announcement last week of new phone call bidding in AdWords, the company will be adding an important layer to their phone capability and to your lead generation toolset.

The feature will be rolled out in the US and UK over the coming few weeks. Previously, only ads shown on mobile devices had phone call options displayed. Once this feature is added, you will be able to add phone numbers to AdWords ads shown to users on PCs and tablets. Phone numbers will be added to ads regardless of the viewing device.

Many advertisers have resorted to using up some of their scarce ad characters to show a phone number, like in these examples:

Phone Number in AdWords Ad Example #1
Phone Number in AdWords Ad Example #1


Phone Number in AdWords Ad Example #2
Phone Number in AdWords Ad Example #2

With AdWords bid-per-call, phone numbers can be listed in addition to the regular ad text, like this:

New Bid-Per-Call Phone Number in AdWords Ad Example
New Bid-Per-Call Phone Number in AdWords Ad Example

This is big news! Lead generation advertisers can capture high value phone call leads and Google can capture a new stream of revenue and information.

Google AdWords Bid Per Call Conversion Strategy

Here are two major aspects to consider in crafting an AdWords bid-per-call strategy:

  1. How to optimize for the new phone number Quality Score
  2. How to optimize your landing pages and conversion funnel for phone calls

How to Optimize for Phone Call Quality Score

Here’s what we know already: Google will be using a merged Quality Score with a combination of landing page quality and phone call quality.

There’s already lots of fact and opinion available about the landing page quality component. What I’m more interested in here is the phone call Quality Score component.

How will phone call quality score be measured?
Google has told us that they will look at your phone call conversion rate as part of the new merged Quality Score. This means that your ad’s Quality Score will be rated higher if it gets more phone calls for each thousand ad impressions. Think of it sort of like your online Click-through rate.

We also know that Google will use other data that they have available to modify their algorithm. But what additional data will they use?

I believe the easiest additional metric for them to include would be call duration. If a caller stays on the line for more than a certain time threshold, say 60 seconds, Google could judge that they’ve been engaged in a relevant conversation. The percentage of conversations that are not relevant (and end early) could be considered your phone call bounce rate.

We also know that Google has developed advanced voice recognition technology and are likely looking for new ways to use it. I anticipate that they will analyze incoming calls across a variety of industries over the next few months for the purpose of identifying buying signals. Once they identify common buying signals, they could develop a predictive analytics algorithm that determines how useful a call is to the caller.

For example, they could analyze call conversations to look for these potential buying or “interest” signals:

  • Ratio of speaking time between caller and operator – maybe Google will find that a higher ratio of caller to operator talk time indicates a higher quality conversation.
  • Percentage of call that include interest or satisfaction words from the caller like thank you, how much, how many, how long, how fast.
  • Affirmative words from the operator: good question, absolutely, yes, you’re welcome, [keyword] mention, etc.
  • Can you think of other call indicator words that could signify a high quality, relevant call?

In addition to call analytics, once Google has the prospect’s phone number, (because remember, the call is being routed through Google,) they could also follow up immediately with an automated survey to learn about satisfaction.

Before starting with Google bid-per-call, make sure your phone-handling system is set up effectively. Have helpful, trained staff ready to take calls immediately and provide useful information.

Note: Do you know if your AdWords campaigns are set up properly? If you’re unsure, you should take advantage of WiderFunnel’s third-party AdWords Audit service. We don’t sell AdWords management so we can provide an unbiased analysis from a purely results-based perspective.

How to Optimize Landing Pages for Phone Call Conversions

As exciting as this announcement is, remember that most of your prospects will need more information than they get from a paid search ad in order to call you. Picking up the phone is a commitment that most won’t make unless they know your company or have already done some research.

Many of the Adwords phone calls will be used by existing customers and most of your good prospects will still need to visit your landing pages.

Landing Page Optimization Dramatically Lifts Phone Call Conversion Rates
We’ve run many Landing Page Optimization tests to optimize phone call conversions for B2B and B2C lead generation sites. For many of our clients, phone call leads are much more valuable than online form fill leads. If we can substantially lift the phone call conversion rate, it can have a huge impact on business results.

Example: B2B Lead Generation Landing Page Optimization for Phone Calls
When Merchant Warehouse needed to improve their landing page performance for phone calls and form fills, WiderFunnel’s multi-channel conversion optimization process worked for them.

We ran the original “Control” page through our standard Funnel Experiment process. We evaluated their Web Analytics data, analyzed the page with our LIFT Analysis, and executed full service experiments (including wireframing, graphic design, copywriting, HTML and results analysis). See below for a portion of the LIFT Analysis output.

B2B Landing Page Optimization Phone Call Tracking Analysis

The result is a winning page, shown below, that showed a statistically significant improvement of 15% lift in leads generated, which included phone calls and form fills. The result is more high quality leads for the business, without needing to spend more on AdWords!

B2B Landing Page Optimization Winning Page Result
Winning Page with 15% Lead Generation Conversion Rate Lift!


You can improve your landing page lead generation or e-commerce conversion rates too!

WiderFunnel works with high-traffic clients globally across industries and target markets including B2B, B2C, Enterprise and SMB. If you have lots of website traffic and are dissatisfied with your conversion rates, contact a Conversion Rate Expert Now to find out how we can help.

What do you think about Google Bid Per Call?

Are you planning on using AdWords phone call bidding when it’s rolled out? How will it affect your business? I’m interested to read your comments below.


Chris Goward

Founder & CEO

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