AdWords Call-Only Campaigns: How Lawyers Can Get the Most Out of Google

February 29, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Google’s commitment to mobile is no secret especially after their announcement about mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in search.  Even before that algorithm change, Google introduced call only campaigns specifically designed to generate phone call conversions from users who are not interested in visiting a landing page to fill out a form.  According to Com Score, roughly 29% of search queries were performed on a mobile device (phone or tablet) making call only campaigns a very attractive strategy for the legal industry.

Why Mobile Click to Call is Important

Once mobile browsers that were actually usable hit the scene, mobile web browsing became more than the cumbersome novelty that it was born as.  Now mobile devices have become so powerful that consumers are using them as their go-to device for contacting local businesses at home and on the fly.

A study commissioned by Google on the mobile browsing habits of respondents aged 18-74 found that when phone numbers were associated with ads in search results, click through rates increased an average of 8%.  The study also pointed out that for 48% of mobile searchers the stage of overall “path-to-purchase” when click-to-call is most important is when they want to make their final purchase.

That last statistic is very significant.  When people call a business, they are usually ready to make a purchase or take some other big step forward in the purchase process.  For lawyers, that could mean consumers setting an appointment to talk about their legal situation.  This makes a well-configured click to call campaign a very powerful lead generation tool.

How it Works

Call only campaigns are configured in the same way search campaigns are except ads are not served for desktop searches and they are optimized for mobile device searches.  Otherwise lawyers set up campaigns and adgroups that contain targeting and keyword information just like search campaigns.  Optimization however is a different story (more on that in a moment).

Differences from search campaigns with phone number ad extensions:

  • Ads have less room for text (there are only two lines in call only campaign ads as opposed to 4 in search)
  • Unlike ad extensions for AdWords, phone numbers are replaced with call buttons making them easier for people to see and use
  • Conversion tracking is simpler: You can record conversions right from Google’s SERP as opposed to happening on your website.  This eliminates the need for installing conversion tracking code on a site and conversions can be counted as phone calls come in.  For example a call lasting longer than 60 seconds could count as a conversion.

Setting up A Call-Only Campaign

Call only campaigns are very easy to set up especially if you are already familiar with AdWords search campaigns.  Log into your AdWords account and go to your campaigns tab.

Click on the +Campaign button and select a new search network only campaign.

choosing call only campaigns

At the beginning of the campaign creation process, Google will ask you what kind of campaign you would like to create.  Make sure that call only is selected.

The next steps in the campaign creation process are pretty much the same as for creating search campaigns.  You will create adgroups, set targeting settings, set your budget and create your ad.  Since call only was selected at the beginning of the process, Google already knows to show your ad on mobile devices.  Make sure you set the right phone number where you want calls to be forwarded.

call only campaign selection

Here is an example of what ads look like on mobile (before the click):

call only ads live

Campaign Considerations

Call only campaigns can be very effective but there are some important things to consider if you want to get the most out of the feature.

Define your firm’s conversion:  A conversion on a call only campaign is a phone call.  When you think about it, just counting a phone call as a conversion without regard for length is a bad strategy.  There could be wrong numbers, irrelevant client inquiries or the call could simply be too short to convert someone.

Figure out how long a call needs to be in order for you to count it as a conversion in your data.  For example maybe a call only needs to last 90 seconds before you can say it is a real lead.  Some firms may need a call to last 5-10 minutes before they can legitimately say the ad worked at bringing in a new client.  Whatever that time frame is, set it in your account so you can get good information on your campaign’s success.

To add a new conversion tracking rule to your account go to tools -> Conversions and click the red +Conversion button.

conversion tracking

Choose phone call conversions from the options on the next screen

choosing campaign goals

In the prompt that appears choose the ad extensions phone option

ad extensions

Next you will set the call duration for your campaign.  The default length is 60 seconds.  You can also set many other values on this page.  Once you are satisfied, you will be prompted to pick the campaign where you want the conversion tracking applied.  Note that you will have to make your call only campaign first in order to assign the conversion to it.

assigning conversion

Tailoring Your Calls to Action

This may seem obvious but be cautious about how you write your calls to action for your call only campaigns.  In search, display and remarketing campaigns, the goal is usually to get people to click.  In a call only campaign, searchers are still clicking but they are not going to a landing page.  Calls to action like click here, apply now, contact us today, visit us now, etc do not really fit well.  Call only campaigns are targeted at people already looking to make a phone call.  Instead use CTA’s related to making a phone call (i.e. Speak to a legal specialist today, Call now, Talk to a professional now, etc).

Ad Scheduling

Scheduling of your call only ads becomes more important because the nature of their use is different.  People may browse on websites during evening or late night hours making the opportunity to generate conversions with form fills more likely.  Most people are not calling businesses (especially attorneys) late in the evening or during the night.  Unless your firm operates during late hours, you may want to schedule your ads to show during traditional business hours to save money and enhance the overall health of the account.

Schedule your ads to run during your normal business hours where someone will be around to answer the phone.  Of course you should also keep a close eye on your data to make sure you are not missing out on potential voice mails that could also be viable leads for new clients.  Ad scheduling can be configured during your new campaign creation process.  You can also go back in and do it afterward.

Call only campaigns can be extremely useful for the legal industry because people do not always want to fill out a form and wait for a response.  Lawyers may find it a better use of their money to generate phone calls from search as opposed to traffic to their site.  There is still a place for traditional search and display campaigns but call only ads fill that gap for people who just want to make a phone call.

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