This week Bing unveiled the next set of enhancements for their ads. This time it’s call extensions, something I am very excited about.

What is the Big Deal?

Phone extensions are a tremendous source of traffic for some of our clients at Hanapin. The extensions not only draw attention to your ad, the offer an alternative way to contact your business.

This is especially important in select ecommerce markets or lead generation. Both generally offer higher priced purchases or a higher level of commitment. These could be higher education degrees, legal services, professional grade machines or equipment.

It is not that the web forms don’t collect interested parties but they are certainly limited in interaction. When trying to pick a university or other expensive service, it is not an impulse purchase, unless you are very well off or very irresponsible.

Having a phone extension allows interested parties to directly contact service members who can assist them with any questions and forward them to the next stage of purchase. Not only is it more helpful for the customer but it also increases trust and creates credibility by having someone ready to help. For this reason some of our lead generation clients report an enormous number of PPC leads actually come from phone conversions rather than the web page.

This is the reason we are strong advocates of call tracking services as well. Even if you don’t drive most of your sales or leads over the phone, having the phone number listed in your ad just gives the potential customer one more chance to make that initial interaction and connect with your business. Do you really want to turn down an easy sale or lead?

Implementing the Phone Extensions

Phone extensions are very easy to implement.  Simply go to the ad extensions tab in the interface or the appropriate section of the editor and you should see the new extension. Simply add the necessary info and you are ready to go. As a bonus, Bing now supports importing call extensions directly from AdWords, just another way they are making it easier to start or expand on Bing’s ad network.

The phone extensions will work similarly to the AdWords forwarding numbers.  This opens up new reports in analytics for these phone calls. This means advertisers will receive all the details on cost, clicks, impressions, and calls that are associated with the extensions. All of which will help you assess the value of phone calls to your business.

One of the coolest features is the call extensions are powered by Skype. This allows all users to automatically connect with your business whether they are on a desktop, tablet, or phone. This has the benefit of skipping the disconnect when desktop users sees your ad pull out their phone and call the advertised number. If you aren’t using a separate number for PPC or additional software it can be very difficult to figure out which calls are actually PPC leads. Even when ignoring this, the phone extension will automatically report the phone calls and related data in the Bing Ads reporting, making the data accessible without having to work a little Excel magic.

Have you had any success with phone extension? Let us know in the comments!

(HT to for the featured image)