Mobile Click-to-Call: Why You Need a Trackable Number for Real Results

For testing purposes, we recently started conducting some click-to-call campaigns for multiple call tracking clients. One very interesting test was with a Holiday Inn Express in Utah. Let me explain what we did and why the results could matter to you.

What is Mobile Click-To-Call

Mobile click-to-call is an ad that appears on a smart phone with a clickable phone number. The most common way to serve these ads is via Google AdWords. These ads appear after a Google search. There will be a phone number in the ad itself. Google will then charge the advertiser on a pay-per-call basis (each time the phone number is tapped) rather than on a pay-per-click basis.

This gives Google a way to monetize phone calls via mobile. It also gives advertisers a way to generate phone calls.

The Background

When you set up Click-to-Call in Google AdWords (Google calls them call extensions), you have to input a phone number you would like to use in the ad. Most businesses simply use their phone number

However, there are some drawbacks to using a general number. Using a local or toll-free tracking number can help you do a better job of measuring results.

The Test

In conjunction with our tool LogMyCalls, we used local tracking phone numbers as the call extension number within Google AdWords. This allowed us to extract call analytics from each call.

Holiday Inn Express – Logan, Utah – June 2012

This experiment cost $332, and we saw the following results:

  • Calls Generated – Google charged us for 60 calls generated via click-to-call. This means that 60 people tapped the phone number in the ad. Google bills for all of these taps because it believes they are actual phone calls.
  • Calls Completed – Only 29 calls (48.3 percent) were actually completed and made it to the hotel. The rest were abandoned before the phone even rang.
  • Qualified Leads – Only nine  calls (15 percent) were actually looking for a hotel room.
  • Closed Deals – However, six calls ended in a room reservation (10 percent)

In this case, if the advertiser had opted to use a general business number, the only number they’d know is how many calls were generated. To know the other three—calls completed, qualified leads, and closed deals—advertisers need to adopt a trackable number with supporting analytics, like LogMyCalls.


If we had relied just on the information Google AdWords provided, our CPL, CPA and CPC would have been inaccurate. This has huge implications for optimization, future spend, and of course assumptions about ad channels. The way we look at it is simple: since you have to use some phone number in your click-to-call ads, you might as well use a number that offers valuable data.

About Jason Wells

Jason Wells is the CEO of ContactPoint. Their flagship product, LogMyCalls, provides inexpensive tools for businesses seeking to optimize marketing, lead quality and minimize lost leads. These tools—phone call tracking, call recording, mobile marketing automation and call performance scoring—allow businesses to determine which advertising methods are effective and improve their ability to secure business over the phone. Prior to leading ContactPoint, Jason was Senior VP for Sony Pictures Television where he led the creation and international expansion of the mobile business line from London. For more information, visit or call 866-811-8880.

2 Responses to Mobile Click-to-Call: Why You Need a Trackable Number for Real Results

  1. jasondeegan says:

    Phones are gonna’ make a comeback and this concept of measurable results could be big for advertisers. 

    Aside: Google charged you $55+ per booking – doesn’t seem like a good deal, but I’m not in the hotel business. I did notice they essentially charged you for twice as many click-thrus as you could prove.  Something stinks at Google, we have to trust them way too much…

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