Google Ads

Upgraded Call Extensions: What’s the Tradeoff?

By DOM Team| 3 Min Read | July 3, 2013

AdWords Call Extensions

If you’re an advertiser that takes inbound calls for sales or leads, call extensions provide an excellent opportunity for inexpensive and high-quality leads. For the same price as a regular click, you can connect searchers directly to one of your sales representatives. On computers and tablets this will require the searcher to pick up a phone and dial, but on high-end mobile devices a “Call” button displays which automatically launches the phone’s dialer when clicked.


Though once accepted as good practice, using phone numbers in text ads is no longer permitted. If you are running text ads that contain phone numbers, these ads have likely already been disapproved. If you’d like to continue displaying phone numbers in your ads, it must be done through call extensions (found within the “ad extensions” tab in AdWords). Considering the powerful new features available, it would be wise to move all phone numbers into call extensions anyway.

New features:

Campaign or Ad Group level extensions. Call extensions can now be set at the ad group level. Those set at the ad group level will trump any set at the campaign level. It is not required to set extensions at the campaign level.

Device Preference. By selecting the option “Mobile”, advertisers are now given the ability to display call extensions only on mobile devices.

Scheduling. Perhaps the most powerful new feature of upgraded extensions is the ability to schedule by day and time. In the Legacy format, call extensions were tethered to schedules defined within campaign settings. Now, each extension can be given its own schedule. So if you’d like your ads to run during off-hours but don’t want to pay for incoming calls when live operators are not available, schedules can be set accordingly.

More detailed reporting. Performance metrics are now provided for each ad extension. If Google forwarding phone numbers are used, call metrics such as conversions and call duration are also available.

Free Google forwarding phone numbers. Although these numbers are available in Legacy campaigns, they carry an additional $1.00 flat fee on top of regular click costs. In Enhanced campaigns this fee is waived and only normal click costs are incurred.

What’s the tradeoff?

For features such as ad group level extensions, reporting, and extension scheduling, there is virtually no downside if utilized correctly. Other features such as device preference and Google call forwarding numbers may warrant some consideration.

Device preference option: One advantage in choosing “Mobile” is that all clicks on call extensions will lead to calls. However, clicks on phone numbers from other devices will still lead to page visits; not to mention ads with call extensions take up more real estate. Finally, ads displaying call extensions on computers and tablets may still entice searchers to pick up a phone and call. So unless budgets are a concern, leaving the “Mobile” box unchecked may be your best option.


Google forwarding phone numbers: This option is often met with resistance from advertisers. While call metrics reporting is certainly attractive for account managers, the possibility of confusing searchers, customers, and salespeople is too great a risk for many advertisers. For companies with many salespeople and multiple phone numbers, this can be especially problematic.

No matter which new features suit your advertising goals, there is no reason to delay upgrading call extensions; after all, Enhanced campaigns become mandatory on July 22. Now that you understand some of the different functions and how to set them, go ahead and try out the new call extensions; the trade-offs are worthwhile.

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