Changes to How Google AdWords Handles Calls Counted As Conversions

Last week Google announced a change to how they will handle calls counted as conversions. This isn’t a sexy change that brings about some new feature, but is important all the same.

Before we talk specifics of the update, a bit of history is required. Last year during the aftermath of the Enhanced Campaigns rollout, there were several additions to AdWords that actually proved useful. Of those changes, I’m referring to the upgraded Call Extensions.

Call Extensions version 2.0 allowed for mobile only extensions, ad group level extensions and more to the point of today’s discussion – the ability to have a call counted as a conversion in the conversion column of your reports. The conversion would only be counted if it surpassed a minimum time limit or call length.

This was a great idea, but led to some confusion. For one, it was enabled automatically and advertisers suddenly saw a spike in conversions. This was bad on many levels, but consider the fact that most of us tracking calls already had systems in place to track them (Mongoose Metrics via Google Analytics, Acquisio, etc.). Secondly, there was no way to isolate call conversions from your online conversions. Again, great idea… just poorly executed.

Fast forward to today and we find that Google has listened and fixed many of these issues. The update is set to live later in April.

First off, call conversions will no longer be lumped with your other conversion actions. Secondly, each call-length that you set to trigger a call conversion will become a new conversion action saved in the Conversions section of your AdWords Tools tab.

Where this change gets really fun is that you can now assign a conversion value to each call length. What does this mean? Now you can create ROAS flexible bid strategies to optimize against calls.

Is this system perfect? Nope. Is it better than what we had before? You bet. Hopefully we will see Google continue to innovate and improve how they integrate call performance into AdWords.