Add forwarding numbers for advanced call reporting

Google forwarding numbers let you report on the calls you receive through call extensions and call only ads, 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.

Call reporting

Good to know

Call extensions and call-only ads with Google forwarding phone numbers are only available for numbers based in certain countries.

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 or call-only ad, we’ll assign a unique Google phone number to your ad. This phone number, which is either toll-free, equivalent to a local number, or a local number if available, 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 received 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 that 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 765 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-only ad or 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 Google ads: Custom Google forwarding numbers shouldn’t be used for any other purpose (except where you used these numbers for website call conversion tracking). These numbers are a property of Google and can change or be reassigned at any time.
Countries where Google forwarding numbers are available

Google forwarding numbers are currently available in the following countries:

Country Toll-free number Local number
Australia
Belgium
France
Germany  
Ireland
Italy
Polish
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom *
Australia
*Phone number equivalent to a local number
Using local versus toll-free forwarding numbers

When you enter a local number for your call extension or call-only ad, we'll assign a local Google forwarding number. If available, local Google forwarding numbers will share the same area code or prefix number as your business; otherwise, a local number area code or prefix for your geographic region will be used instead. (Note: This feature is currently only available in some countries. In some cases, a local Google forwarding number may not be available. When this happens, your ad will show a freephone Google forwarding number instead.)

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.
  • Your Google forwarding number is designed to track your online ad performance for call conversions, and your number(s) may change between ad groups and vary over time. Therefore, we don't recommend that you post or promote this number beyond your online ad campaigns with AdWords.

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 + Extension button.
  4. Click the + 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 + Extension button.
  4. Click the » button next to the phone number that you'd like to forward calls to in the "Phone numbers" box.
  5. The phone number will be listed under "Selected phone numbers". Click the pencil icon next to the button 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). Add forwarding number to existing call ext.
  8. Click Save.
Add a Google forwarding number to a new call-only ad
  1. Choose the call-only campaign and ad group that you want to add your call-only ad to.
  2. Click Ads, and click the +Ad button.
  3. Next to "Show my ad with", select A Google forwarding phone number and use call reporting.
  4. Enter the other settings for your ad. 
  5. Click Save ad.
Add Google forwarding number to an existing call-only ad
  1. On the “Campaigns” tab, click Ads. Choose the call-only ad that you want to edit, and click the pencil
  2. Next to "Show my ad with", select A Google forwarding phone number and use call reporting.
  3. Click Save ad.

Track performance of your calls

Track phone impressions, calls and phone-through rate
  • Phone impressions are the number of times that 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 dialling.
  • 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 that 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 menu above the statistics table on the Campaigns or Ad groups tab.
  2. Choose Modify columns.
  3. From the “Modify columns” window that pops up, choose Call details below “Select metrics”.
  4. Click Add next to the data that you’re interested in.
  5. Add the columns that 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 dialled calls from laptops, desktop computers or tablets. These are categorised as "click types" in AdWords.

  • The “Mobile clicks-to-call” row shows the number of clicks from call buttons on mobile phones.
  • The “Manually dialled phone calls” row shows the number of times that your custom Google forwarding number was manually dialled 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 menu 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 received 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 menu. 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 optimise 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 Optimiser 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 or call-only ad (see steps above), check the Count calls as phone call conversions checkbox to set up calls as conversions. Select the conversion action that you’d like to link to this extension. If you haven’t already created one, we’ll create one with a default call length of 60 seconds. You can also see how to create a new conversion action for calls from ads.

Set up calls as conversions

Track performance of call conversions

Tracking call conversions works the same as tracking other conversions. Looking at "Converted clicks" 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" is useful if phone calls are important every time that they happen (when you make a sale).

View your call conversion data

To see your conversion data and pull conversion reports for call conversions from mobile devices, click the Tools tab in your AdWords account, and select "Conversions".

To see conversion data in your campaign statistics table for calls from desktops and laptops, or a manual call from a customer:

  1. Choose the campaign or ad group that you want to work with.
  2. From the Columns drop-down menu, select Modify columns.
  3. Add the columns that 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 one or more rows reflecting conversion actions that you've created. Conversion actions will appear on their own row with the source shown as "Calls from ads". The conversion value defaults to $1 in the US and Australia, £1 in the UK and €1 in Europe.

Use automated bidding to optimise call conversions

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

  • Conversion Optimiser 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 Optimiser
  • Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) bidding is similar to Conversion Optimiser, except ECPC works with the maximum CPC bid that you set, while Conversion Optimiser doesn't. Another difference is that Conversion Optimiser 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.
  • Target return on ad spend (ROAS) automatically sets your bids to maximise your conversion value, while trying to reach an average return on ad spend. Learn more about targeting return on ad spend.
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 call extensions:

  1. From “All campaigns”, go to the Ad extensions tab.
  2. Click the View: menu and select Call Extensions.
  3. Click the phone number (don’t select the checkbox) that 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.

Here’s how to turn off call conversion reporting for your call-only ads:

  • On the “Campaigns” tab, click Ads. Choose the call-only ad that you want to edit, and click the pencil Edit (pencil) icon.
  • Next to “Report conversions,” deselect the box for Count calls as phone call conversions.
  • Click Save ad.

Turn off Google forwarding numbers

It’s easy to remove Google forwarding numbers from your call extensions or call-only ads. You may continue, however, to receive redialled or manually dialled calls.

Turn off Google forwarding numbers for call extensions
  1. From “All campaigns”, go to the Ad extensions tab.
  2. Click the View: menu and select Call Extensions.
  3. Click the phone number (don’t select the checkbox) that you want to change.
  4. In the “Edit campaign call extension” window, click the pencil Edit (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.
Turn off Google forwarding numbers for call-only ads
  1. On the “Campaigns” tab, click Ads. Choose the call-only ad that you want to use, and click the pencilEdit (pencil) icon.
  2. Next to “Show my ad with”, select My own phone number (don’t use call reporting).
  3. Click Save ad.
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