As a continuation from a post just a few weeks ago, “Google’s Ads Aren’t Numbered”, Google has taken a step further with the use of phone numbers. As of 2 weeks ago, AdWords users were no longer permitted to submit ad text that contained a phone number as this would be disapproved.
This morning, I was welcomed into one of our clients’ accounts with this lovely message:
The learn more link forwards you to this page: http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/176098?hl=en-GB&rd=1 .
However, the section that we should really be interested in is this: “Phone numbers and vanity phone numbers can’t be used anywhere in ad text or in a sitelinks extension because doing so is confusing to users who might be expecting to be led to a call session as opposed to a website. To let customers call you directly from your ad, use call extensions instead.”
So we have been warned and we have just a few weeks to implement the required changes, or we must feel the wrath of Google. Understandably, the use of a number in the ad text as well as using a call extension can seem a little pointless, especially from Google’s perspective. Despite the fact that we marketers think it is a brilliant strategy and really emphasises the user to make a call, this is Google’s own way of ensuring quality listings.
Instead of complaining, it’s important to develop a strategy quickly to prepare for another change in the AdWords horizon. The easiest thing to do would be to use the AdWords editor and replace the phone number with “us now” or “today”. Doing this doesn’t really add much to the ad so maybe it could be worth using dynamic keyword insertion to make the ad more relevant in terms of quality score and directly to the user. For arguments sake, let’s say you are a florist in Manchester. Your ad might now say: “Call Now for Manchester Florists”. In my opinion this looks very compelling and relevant, certainly more so than just “Call Us Now”.
We will be preparing for the new implementations by keeping our ads that have a phone number and introducing are newly revised ads, running them side by side. This will allow us to gather data and compare the two different ad formats, along with what substitution performs the best. Then when Google decides to implement these changes we will be fully prepared and won’t have to make any changes to the account.