By October 17, 2012 0 Comments

Beauty (Call Button) vs. the Beast (the “Old” Click-to-Call)

Click to Call is an especially profitable ad format for many Razorfish search clients. For one of our clients, Google’s standard Click-to-Call ad format generated 96% of mobile paid search conversions while accounting for only 14% of cost. It’s a beast. So the question is, how will performance be affected by the new call button?

Let’s start with some minor details. In the past, the Mobile Click-to-Call Ad Format showed an advertiser’s phone number (or Google vanity number) in mobile search ads. Starting this week in English, Google is displaying a “call button” instead. It’s easy to see from the screenshots that the new format is more visually appealing. Time will tell if its “beauty” will prevail over the old ad format but I think it’s pretty safe to assume performance will only improve given a two things:

  1. mobile organic listings have already been utilizing the call button for some time now and we’ve seen Google mold paid search ads to look more like organic ads to promote clicks and improved performance (e.g. sitelinks, lowercase display url’s, headline extensions, etc.).
  2. we know that users are more likely to convert over the phone in certain verticals. So really it’s a win-win for Google and the advertiser.

Perhaps the largest consideration for these new ad units comes down to something other than the phone icon altogether – ad text. You’ll notice in the “after” screenshot above, the ad copy is being truncated.  According to Google, on average 51 characters of ad text will show as opposed to the usual 70. They say “on average” because it can depend on which characters you use in the text. e.g. “M” is wider than “I”.

If advertisers are concerned with this, Google suggests shortening the length of the description line or using the Call Only ad format instead. Keep in mind, the button will roll out for Call Only in the near future so even that option would not be a permanent fix. With that said, Google experiments have shown that – in general – the button results in a better user experience and performance overall, which probably means more paid search clicks overall.

So will the shortened ad copy play a role in a user’s decision? Instincts tell me this will have a very minor effect. If one ad is showing the button and the other isn’t  I would imagine users would be more likely to click the new call button regardless of the ad copy.

Just something to keep an eye on in your accounts. Happy Search Marketing!

Posted in: Tablet and Mobile

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