Add forwarding numbers for advanced call reporting

Google forwarding numbers let you report on the calls you receive through call extensions, offering details like call duration, call start and end time, caller area code, and whether the call was connected. You can count phone calls of a specified duration as conversions and use automated bidding strategies to increase likelihood of conversions.

Good to know

Call extensions with Google forwarding phone numbers are only available for numbers based in Australia, France, Germany, Spain, the US, and the UK.

Call extensions in Display-only campaigns don’t support forwarding numbers or calls as conversions.

How Google forwarding numbers work

When you use a Google forwarding number with your call extension, we’ll assign a unique Google phone number to your ad. This phone number, which is either toll-free (Australia, France, Germany, Spain, US) or equivalent to a local number (UK), will show with your ad on tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. A clickable “Call” button will show with your ad on high-end mobile devices (such as iPhones and Android devices with full Internet browsers).

With forwarding numbers, you’ll be able to see the details of your calls, and count them as conversions.

Example

A travel agent notices that she’s gotten more phone calls since adding call extensions, and wants to better understand this phone traffic. She adds a Google forwarding number to her call extensions, and now she can see where her customers may be calling from (with the area code), when they’re calling, and how long the calls last. She sees calls lasting more than two minutes tend to lead to sales, so she chooses to count those calls as conversions. Later, she sees that her conversions are coming from the 717 area code, so she thinks about targeting ads to the corresponding region.

Receiving calls from forwarding numbers

  • When a customer calls the Google forwarding number listed with your call extension (on desktop) or clicks the call button with a Google forwarding number (mobile), the call will be rerouted to your business phone number.
  • If you have caller ID, it'll work as usual. The number of the caller will show up, even though the call is being routed through the Google forwarding number.

Where forwarding numbers don’t work

  • Display network: Call extensions targeting the Display Network don’t support Google forwarding numbers or tracking of calls as conversions.
  • Ads with low traffic: Google forwarding numbers may not show with desktop ads if your ad group isn’t getting a minimum number of clicks in a four-week period. Your business phone number will be shown in that case. (There’s no minimum requirement for ads on high-end mobile devices.)
  • Outside of Google ads: Custom Google forwarding numbers shouldn’t be used for any other purpose. These numbers are a property of Google and can change or be reassigned at any time.

Good to know

Call extensions aren’t showing? AdWords shows call extensions only when you meet certain criteria. Learn why parts of your ad aren’t showing.

Pricing

It's free to use Google forwarding phone numbers with your ads, but you’ll be charged as usual (a standard CPC) when people click on your ad or on the call button (shown on high-end mobile devices). You won’t be charged when people manually dial your custom Google forwarding number.

Set up Google forwarding numbers

Add a Google forwarding number to a new call extension
  1. Click the Ad extensions tab from a Search or Search with Display Select campaign.
  2. From the View drop-down, choose Call extensions.
  3. Click the green + Extension button.
  4. Click the gray + New phone number button and add the business phone number you want your calls forwarded to.
  5. Next to "Show my ad with," choose “A Google forwarding number and use call reporting.” Set up Google forwarding numbers
  6. Complete the remaining preferences (you can change these later).
  7. Click Save.
Add a Google forwarding number to an existing call extension
  1. Click the Ad extensions tab in AdWords.
  2. From the View drop-down, choose Call extensions.
  3. Click the green + Extension button.
  4. Click the » button to the right of the phone number you want a Google number to forward to in the “Phone numbers” box.
  5. Now you’ll see this phone number under “Selected phone numbers.” Click the pencil icon to its right to open the “Edit phone number” window.
  6. Next to "Show my ad with," choose “A Google forwarding number and use call reporting.”
  7. Complete the remaining preferences (you can change these later). If you choose to show “Just the phone number,” your ad headline will display your business phone number, but call the Google forwarding number when it’s clicked.Add forwarding number to existing call ext.
  8. Click Save.

Track performance of your calls

Track phone impressions, calls, and phone-through rate

You can see the phone impressions, phone calls, and phone-through rate by adding special columns to the statistics table of your campaign or ad group.

  • Phone impressions are the number of times your ad was shown with a Google forwarding phone number.
  • Phone calls are counted when calls to your custom Google forwarding phone number are received, either through a call button or through manual dialing.
  • The phone-through rate (PTR) is the number of phone calls received (the figure in the “Phone calls” column) divided by the number of times your phone number is shown (what’s shown in the “Phone impressions” column).
Set up columns to see call details
  1. Click the Columns drop-down above the statistics table on the Campaigns or Ad groups tab.
  2. Choose Customize columns.
  3. From the “Customize columns” window that pops up, choose Call details below “Select metrics.”
  4. Click Add next to the data you’re interested in.
  5. Add the columns you want from the "Call details" category by clicking Add.Set up columns to see call details
  6. Click the blue Apply button at the bottom of the window.
  7. Now you’ll see these new columns with your statistics.

See breakdown of calls by device

See mobile clicks-to-call, mobile phone calls, and manually dialed calls from laptops, desktop computers, or tablets. These are categorized as “click types” in AdWords.

  • The “Mobile clicks-to-call” row shows the number of clicks from call buttons on mobile phones.
  • The “Manually dialed phone calls” row shows the number of times your custom Google forwarding number was manually dialed from desktop or tablet ads.
  • The “Mobile phone calls” row shows the number of mobile clicks-to-call (clicks from call buttons on mobile phones) that were received (by a person or voicemail).
Set up segmenting to see calls by device
  1. From the Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads, or Keywords tab, click the "Segment" drop down and choose “Click type.”
  2. Now you’ll see the click types above listed as rows in your statistics table. If you don’t see any, you haven’t gotten any of that type of click.

See details about each phone call

Go the Dimensions tab and select Call details from the "View" drop-down. You'll find the following details available for each call to your Google forwarding numbers:

  • Start time
  • End time
  • Status (missed or received)
  • Duration
  • Caller area code
  • Phone cost
  • Call type

Set up and optimize call conversions

With Google forwarding numbers, you can track calls that tend to be long enough to make a sale, and count these as conversions. With call conversions, you can use automated bidding strategies like Conversion Optimizer and Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) to increase your likelihood of conversion.

Campaigns using cost-per-acquisition (CPA) or automatic bidding need call conversions set up in order to use call extensions.

Set up calls as conversions

When creating or editing your call extension (see steps above), check the Report phone call conversions checkbox to set up calls as conversions. Choose a duration (in seconds) you tend to need to make a sale (or a lead: whatever you want to track as a conversion).

Set up calls as conversions
Track performance of call conversions

Tracking call conversions works the same as tracking other conversions. Looking at “Conversions (1-per-click)” makes sense to watch if a single phone call is important to your business (if you’re signing on clients or getting a lead), and “Conversions (many-per-click)” is useful if phone calls are important every time they happen (when you make a sale). “Phone call conv.” represent the number of calls that met the duration you specified.

Follow these steps to see conversion data in your statistics table:

  1. Choose the campaign or ad group you want to work with.
  2. From the Columns drop-down menu, select Customize columns.
  3. Add the columns you want from the "Conversions" category by clicking Add. To find your estimated call conversion data for desktop and tablet ads, add the "Est. total conv." column.Track performance of call conversions
  4. Click Apply.

Your call conversion data will appear in your campaign or ad group table in the row “Calls from ads.” You can’t currently edit the name or value of the "Calls from ads" conversion type. The conversion value defaults to $1 in the US, £1 in the UK, and €1 in Europe.

Use automated bidding to optimize conversions for call extensions

To optimize your call conversions, use one of these automated bidding strategies.

  • Conversion Optimizer predicts which clicks are likely to be valuable, then changes your bids to help you get as many profitable clicks as possible. Learn more about Conversion Optimizer
  • Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) bidding is similar to Conversion Optimizer, except ECPC works with the maximum CPC bid that you set, while Conversion Optimizer doesn't. Another difference is that Conversion Optimizer modifies 100% of traffic, while ECPC modifies 50% initially, and then moves that percentage up or down based on how it is performing. Learn more about Enhanced CPC.
Opt out of counting phone calls as conversions

If you don’t want call conversions to be included in your standard conversion reporting, you can either opt out of call conversion reporting for your Google forwarding numbers, or switch to your own business phone number. By using forwarding numbers but not counting phone calls as conversions, you can still get advanced reporting on your calls from the Dimensions tab, as described above.

Here’s how to turn off call conversion reporting for your Google forwarding numbers:

  1. From “All online campaigns,” go to the Ad extensions tab.
  2. Click the View: menu and select Call Extensions.
  3. Click the phone number (don’t check the checkbox) you want to change.
  4. In the “Edit campaign call extension” window, click the pencil icon under “Selected phone numbers.”
  5. In the “Edit phone number” window, deselect the box next to “Report phone call conversions...”
  6. Click Save.

Turn off Google forwarding numbers

It’s easy to remove Google forwarding numbers from your call extensions. You may continue, however, to receive redialed or manually dialed calls.

  1. From “All online campaigns,” go to the Ad extensions tab.
  2. Click the View: menu and select Call Extensions.
  3. Click the phone number (don’t check the checkbox) you want to change.
  4. In the “Edit campaign call extension” window, click the pencil icon under “Selected phone numbers.”
  5. Next to “Show my ad with,” choose My own phone number (don't use call reporting).
  6. Click Save.