Recently, Google announced they would be “extending call and message reporting to more places.” Sounds pretty innocent and downright helpful on the surface, but since it’s incredibly vague we need to ask ourselves, “What does that actually mean?”
Calls From Location Extensions Can Be Counted As Conversions
The first thing to realize about this is that it will only happen if you have enabled account-level call reporting. This is a simple toggle that is somewhat hidden in the account settings area here:
While this is being sold by Google as a way to simplify call reporting/tracking so you don’t have to do it at the ad/ad extension level, you’ll notice that once you toggle the account-level feature you can’t use any of the individual granularity again. Like ever. So that’s a pretty big “gotcha.”
But say you took the jump and enabled it. Google is now going to start tracking calls from location extensions in your conversion counts. Let’s walk through how that would work in practice.
What Calls Would Get Counted?
First, a user would have to do a search for something and click a location extension. Consider this search for “Idaho Falls plumber” I did and notice that our first advertiser has a location extension enabled.
After clicking that result I end up on their pin/location in Google Maps.
Now if I choose to call them from this point it would be counted as a conversion in Google Ads. This is the specific use case that Google Ads is enabling with this change.
However, you’ll also note that we had an advertiser with an ad in the local pack below the paid ads. A click on this listing will have the same behavior and my guess is that a call would also be counted for that advertiser (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong Google). This is what the following screen looks like in that case.
I’m not ready to have the account-level call reporting since it removes granularity/control for me. However, if you’ve already enabled it, then this isn’t really a big deal. This isn’t likely to lead to that many additional conversions being reported since it requires a fairly specific set of user behavior. I also wouldn’t say it’s too greedy either because a click on the location extension followed by a call is very direct and probably should be attributed back to the ad.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about this change in the comments!