(cross-posted on the Google Mobile Ads Blog)

Mobile advertising has created an entirely new opportunity for businesses to drive phone calls to sales teams and call centers, generating a new method for our advertisers to receive qualified incoming leads. In fact, since we introduced the click-to-call feature to advertisers over a year ago, we’ve had more than half a million customers globally run campaigns with phone extensions.

Two of the most common ways to get mobile customers to call you are either by listing your phone number on a click-to-call ad, or adding your phone number onto your website. It’s easy to measure calls from a click-to-call ad from your Campaign reports, but it can be more challenging to track the calls made by consumers clicking on the phone number on your website.

Today, we are introducing a new conversion tracking metric to help advertisers and agencies do just that: all AdWords accounts will now have the ability to report calls placed from mobile pages.

A Direct TV landing page featuring prominent ‘call’ buttons from beta partner Red Ventures

You’ll now be able to attribute clicks on your phone number or ‘call’ button back to the AdWords campaign, ad group, ad or keyword that brought a customer in. As this is a new tracking metric, there won’t be new charges or changes to CPCs. We hope that this new metric will give advertisers and agencies new, richer information on the value and returns from their mobile advertising.

Red Ventures, a customer acquisition company in Charlotte, NC, was a beta partner for this new conversion metric. In addition to their own proprietary in-house tracking platform, they used this new metric to track the use of click-to-call numbers on their mobile websites for a variety of partners. John Sutton, VP of Online Marketing at Red Ventures, said, “Now, every advertiser can get full insight into calls generated from their AdWords spend on mobile devices, directly inside the AdWords interface and at a very granular level.” Moreover, John sees this as a new added benefit to AdWords advertisers who “don’t have the capability required to produce unique keyword or ad level phone numbers on their mobile websites.”

This new metric enables all advertisers to leverage existing AdWords tools to now optimize for calls. According to John Sutton at Red Ventures, this “opens the doors to participation in AdWords features that rely on conversion metrics like Enhanced CPC and Target CPA bidding.” You can start using this new metric by installing a snippet of code on your landing pages. Upon doing so, you can set ‘calls’ as a conversion metric to track on your landing page. Next, you can pair calls focused campaigns with tools like Conversion Optimizer, then bid by setting a target CPA for calls, and ultimately automate ad serving to optimize for calls.

If driving calls is an important part of your mobile advertising strategy, and you’ve placed a phone number or ‘Call now!’ button on your site, begin measuring these calls now using this new conversion type. Moreover, in doing so you’ll be able to leverage a rich set of existing AdWords tools available to you to optimize performance. For more information on how to set this up, please see our Help Center article.

Posted by Surojit Chatterjee, Product Manager, Mobile Ads