Google Testing Call Extension Placement

By PPC Hero Ally | @Hanapin | guestblogger

It seems like the past 2 or 3 years we keep hearing “THIS year is the year for mobile.” Well it’s 2012, and we’re definitely seeing increases across the board in mobile traffic in PPC, and Google seems to be supporting this with more features and more testing. After running some tests this week on several mobile devices (Android and iPhone), we are seeing some very interesting “unofficial” tests in the mobile PPC landscape.

Call Extensions… “Is it true if you don’t use it you lose it?”

You could absolutely be losing phone calls if you’re not using call extensions and taking advantage of Google’s click to call feature in AdWords. Giving customers the option of calling you on the spot as opposed to visiting your website can increase your call volume dramatically, and it looks like Google agrees… and here’s why:

Call Extensions Example

This particular search was for “garage door repair San Jose”, a local search. As you can see, the top result is not the traditional display of Google AdWords’ call extension feature, as confirmed by my Google account rep. Google moved the call extension to the headline before the “pipe”, then inserted the actual headline (where we frequently see the domain), followed by the display URL below, and finally the description 1 and 2 lines. The second result is more normal, where Google will either show the call extension below the ad, or hyperlink the phone number in the ad instead. In a nutshell, it looks like Google is simply testing the effect of CTR and Click to Calls by swapping out the headline for the phone number. If Google’s data sees a dramatic difference in these two metrics, can we expect to see a change/option how Call Extensions are displayed across ALL accounts?

Why Is This Happening?

First, I was seeing this test only in states west of Arizona, but as of 4/26/12 I’ve been seeing this nationwide and more frequently. I also ruled out ad position, as I saw this occurring for ads in both the first and second positions. The easy answer would be that Google is just selecting random accounts to try this with; however, all of my accounts who have dedicated mobile campaigns with call extensions are not seeing this result. I have not noticed any changes in the settings for call extensions that could possibly allow you to opt in for this feature. Even after speaking with my Google rep, she was extremely intrigued by the results since she was unaware of any beta test that Google was running that directly related to this.

Ad Preview Tool – Discrepancy With Results

Also interesting to note, I could not replicate these results at all using Google’s Ad Preview Tool, but I was able to replicate the results easily using Mobile Moxie. It’s kind of like the Ad Preview tool for Mobile… but on steroids. Since Google’s own ad preview tool couldn’t replicate the results, it’s even more interesting.

Is anyone else also seeing these results? Feel free to leave your comments and feedback! I’d be happy to follow up once any official word on the test is brought to my attention.

(Image credit Precision Garage Door)

Justin Sous is a Search Engine Marketing Account Manager for A Second Opinion LLC. Entering the Internet Marketing landscape back in 2010 as a web analytics intern for a leading global rent-a-car company, Justin has now found himself a niche in SEM. For the past 2 years now, he has been managing PPC accounts for small to medium sized service businesses all over the USA on the Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter platforms. He has entered the freelance arena as well and can be contacted at