Phone Numbers In Google AdWords Display URLs?

Apr 24, 2013 • 8:48 am | comments (18) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdWords

Google AdWords LogoA WebmasterWorld thread has search advertisers discussing the ability and feasibility of using the display URL to show your phone number.

Supposedly, Google is going to crack down on ads using phone numbers in the headline or text. So advertisers are asking if they can (1) get away with showing the phone number in the display URL and if so (2) would it work to get phone calls.

Here are some sample ads I mocked together:

AdWords Display URLs

The thread is asking if anyone tried this before and so far, very few have. One said he tried it before Google had phone extensions and it worked. He said it is "a great way to attact new biz...and just makes it easier for people to find you."

Have you tried it? Do you think Google will allow it?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Matt Roney

04/24/2013 01:27 pm

I wish I could say otherwise, but that strikes me as the sort of thing Google would identify as an attempt to game the system. I can't imagine that, if they're hinting at forbidding phone numbers in headline and description text, this would last for long.

Jerry Nordstrom

04/24/2013 04:06 pm

We had used phone numbers in our Title or description of an ad up until Adwords introduced phone extensions. Ads with text with a phone number resulted in low CTRs which would impact the entire adgroup. To counter this we would create high CTR ads, run them without the phone# add, then when CTRs where high slip in the phone# ad until CTRs dropped. Start over. Generating real time live phone leads in this manner was very lucrative for a long time. Call extensions came out and we knew that this practice would soon be eliminated. Initially all calls were $1 and the accuracy and ease of call tracking was well worth the low cost. We removed phone numbers from our ad titles and descriptions at that time. Call prices have certainly increased, but again as Google does so well, they introduce a feature for free, gain users and then gradually increase the fees trying to keep them in balance with the end users benefits. I would not bother placing phone #s in the URL. Google will put an end to it soon enough. Its very low impact as I don't think searchers will pay much attention to them. Lastly the URL has optimization benefits when used properly, a phone number would detract from that possibility.

Tara Dee West

04/24/2013 04:18 pm

I've used phone numbers in ad descriptions before the days of call extensions but never really saw a huge increase in performance. When split testing those with telephone numbers generally had a worse CTR...but then you aren't trying to get a click you're encouraging a call so that might be expected. The telephone number is also a nice indication that the seller is genuine so that in itself might have a positive effect.


04/24/2013 05:41 pm

Clever, but I doubt the average Joe would put two and two together.

chaudhary amir

04/24/2013 08:04 pm

The cellular phone variety can also be a pleasant indicator that this vendor will be genuine in order that inside once more will often have a confident influence.


04/24/2013 09:32 pm

By the way, they're about to remove the ability to add phone numbers in the actual ad text, leaving it only for the 'call extension' feature.

Soni Sharma

04/25/2013 04:50 am

Yes.. I am already using this... in my ad campaigns.


04/25/2013 07:14 am

Also used it before.Got a high CTR and a low Conversion Rate. It just doesn't convey what your landing page is about.Rather use it to properly give the guy clicking through to your landing page what your ad/product/service is about.Any PPC marketer will tell you that, instead of a bunch of numbers. And yes this will not last long, and believe me you don't want your PPC account suspended, as some people never recover from an account suspension.


04/25/2013 09:41 am

I think are going to remove the add phone numbers option.

Jawad Latif

04/25/2013 09:55 am

What change you observed in your CTR??

Ved Tiwari

04/25/2013 11:00 am

Advertisers were using this technique from years but from April 2013 use of phone numbers in URL can also lead to disapproval of ads or may be suspension of account...


04/25/2013 12:04 pm

its a old technique to increase the no. of calls from your ads...but now phone numbers in URL may leads to disapproval of now only use in phone extensions for getting calls

Ann Stanley

04/25/2013 02:17 pm

The number of characters is an issue in the display URL - there is rarely room for the domain name and the phone number. Some other observations: - If you segment your data when you have got call extensions (in mobile) you often find that over 95% will still click on the main headline rather than the click to call link. - Previously we used different numbers in the ad to the website and the number of calls from the number in the ad was

Soni Sharma

04/26/2013 04:41 am

Not so much affected dropped by 3.5% but my client receives good number of calls though business not converted.

Jawad Latif

04/26/2013 07:50 am

You inserted phone number in Display URL..Right??

Henry Mangult

08/28/2013 12:38 pm

I have recently noticed that we have a different phone number in our adwords ad. Can anyone tell me why is this could happened and where we can change it back to our own phone number? Thanks!


09/11/2013 03:13 pm

@henrymangult:disqus are you running your PPC campaign yourself? If a 3rd party is running your ads than this phone number is how they track conversions. They use a phone number that re-routes to your phone so that they can track a call to your company.

Henry Mangult

09/29/2013 08:53 pm

Not that I know of, but will better check it. Thanks for your reply.

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