Google Ads Call Tracking – Why Is It Needed And How To Implement

google call tracking

Google does a good job tracking lots of valuable information for websites, such as through the Google Ads dashboard and their Google Analytics software.

The Google Ads dashboard and Google Analytics can tell you a lot about how visitors interact on your website and how your website performs. Still, there’s one metric that it doesn’t tell you without setting it up and adding a bit of code to your website.

The metric in question is more for companies that look to acquire enquiries through their website and is such an essential metric to understand your total Google Ads return.

At the bare minimum, you need to be tracking the different ways you receive enquiries through your websites, such as contact form, email click (if you show an email address) and any other form of enquiry.

But if you receive enquiries through your website by telephone, then the metric you ‘MUST’ set up is Google Ads call tracking.

Tracking all the different ways potential buyers can enquire through your website, including telephone calls, provides two essential factors:

With Google Call Tracking, You Understand Your Total Return

You understand your total return with Google Ads, so you know how many enquiries your company has received and the advertising cost you pay for each enquiry.

Understand What Works And What Doesn’t Work To Improve your Google Ads Return

You understand metrics (such as which keyword, Ad, location and more) that work by providing enquiries and metrics that don’t work by just costing you money with no enquires.

Understanding your campaign metrics performance is critical to be able to optimise your campaigns over time to get the best performance.

Google typically works on the 80/20 rule. 20% of your keywords provide 80% of your enquiries. But the problem is, you don’t know which 20% are the right keywords.

So being able to track all the different ways potential customers can enquire on your website (even by telephone), over time, you can turn off the 80% keywords that just cost you money and leave the 20% that give you a positive return with enquiries.

How Does Google Ads Call Tracking Work

Setting up call tracking is very simple.

Whenever a potential buyer clicks through to your website, the phone number they see on your website is a Google forwarding number, typically the same area code as your business telephone number.

Whenever a potential buyer calls the forwarding number, Google registers a conversion (enquiry) against specific metrics, such as the keyword typed into Google and the Ad clicked, the location and more. The call gets forwarded to your business phone number so your sales team can answer it.

Before You Get Started

Before getting call conversion tracking set up, you need to have a Google Ads account with a campaign set up, a business phone line, and a business website.

How To Set Up Call Conversion Actions

The next step is to set up the conversion action.

When writing this article, click on ‘TOOLS & SETTINGS’ and under ‘MEASUREMENT’, click on ‘Conversions’.

Select ‘Phone Calls’ Conversion & Fill Out The Details

Click on the Blue Cross and select ‘Phone Calls’ then ‘Calls to a phone number on your website’ and ‘CONTINUE’.

Next, fill out the following:

  • Conversion Name
  • Value
  • Count (select ‘One’)

You can change other parameters to suit, or you can leave them as standard.


Adding Code To Your Website

To add code to your website, you have the options of:

  1. Install the tag yourself
  2. Email the tag (to your website developer)
  3. Use Google Tag Manager (advanced feature)

If you choose to ‘Install the tag yourself’ to your website, then follow on:

Global site tag

The next stage is to add the global site tag shown by copying and pasting it between the tags of every page of your website.

Phone snippet

Next, enter your phone number ‘EXACTLY’ as it appears on your website, and click ‘CREATE SNIPPET’.

Install the phone snippet – Copy and paste it between the page tags where your phone number appears right after the global site tag.

Click ‘NEXT’ to Continue.

Setting up Google Call Extensions

In the Google call extensions section, you add your telephone number to be forwarded.

Note: Call tracking and call extensions are available only in certain countries. That is because different countries have varying costs and number formats.

When writing this article, you can find ‘Google call extensions’ in ‘Ads & Extensions’, then ‘Extensions’ from the drop-down menu.

Click on the Blue Cross and select ‘Google call extensions’ from the drop-down menu.

Choose the ‘Account’, ‘Campaign’ or ‘Ad Group’ to add. Then choose your country, add your phone number and click ‘SAVE’.

You can do other advanced stuff here, but the above is all you need to do at this stage.

You need to test that your Google Ads Call Tracking is replacing your website’s existing phone number on your website.

Unfortunately, the only easy way to do this is to click on your Ad in Google.

First, wait a couple of days.

It’s essential to use a clean Browser that has all your search history and cookies deleted.

Using your clean Browser, in Google, type in one of the ‘Keywords’ you have set up in your Google Ads campaign, then click on your ad.

Visit your website and take a look at your phone number. A Google call tracking number should have replaced your existing company number.

Most of the time, the Google call tracking number shows the same area code as your website if there are issues with the exchange (for whatever reason), a different generic area code.

Understand Your Return and Optimise For Improved Performance

With a Google call tracking number set up, you understand how many enquiries you received and the advertising cost per enquiry you pay.

Furthermore, over time, you can turn keywords (and other metrics) off that just cost you money (with no enquiries) and spend more money on keywords that provide a return (enquires), further increasing your Google Ads performance and return.

Check out our Google Ads PPC services if you need help setting up your Google Ads campaign to get the best performance and return.