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Phone numbers in ad headlines

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# 1
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I have noticed that a few of my competitors have started using their business phone number in their ad headline, which I understood to be against AdWords policy. I'm fairly sure it's making their ads appear more attractive to searchers compared with mine.

 

The first thing you're no doubt thinking is that it's probably call extensions. Well their number appears straight after the first or second word of the headline, rather than on a separate line, and there's no hyphen before the number. So for example...

 

Rugby Balls PHONE NUMBER - (then 34 characters of ad text still on first line)

theirwebsiteaddress.com

(then a further 34 characters of ad text)

 

Am I right in thinking these are not likely to be call extensions, due to where the number is placed (not on a separate line, and not preceded by a hyphen) and also based on the character count (ie. exactly as if they had comfortably filled the maximum number of characters permitted for a normal ad when including the phone number in the ad headline, rather than benefiting from the extra characters offered by using a call extension)?

 

Would you say these do not look like call extensions? (Is there a way to tell?)

 

Thanks.

4 Expert replyverified_user
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by Zee (Community Manager)
September 2015

Phone number in hyper-linked first line

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hello swebber;

 

The Policy on that is clear: "Phone numbers can't be used in the hyperlinked headline or in a Sitelinks extensions of a text ad. This is confusing to users who might be expecting to be led to a call session as opposed to a website. To let customers call you directly from your ad, use call extensions instead."

 

However, since your question is on ads for desktops, and you noted that the first line is longer, you might be viewing special ads, above the search results, where the 1st line was moved to the headline, separated by hyphen. Read more on that in AdWords blog

-Moshe

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Hi swebber,   As Moshe righly pointed, you are probably t...

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Hi swebber,

 

As Moshe righly pointed, you are probably talking about the ads appearing above the natural search engine results, where Google either appends the title with first line of description or first and second line of description together (depending upon on the punctuation in your ad). Probably they might be using a phone number in regular content of the text ad, so that's why it is happening that you are seeing the phone number and being a Top ad, the ad looks longer.

 

You can also create ads in your ad group and while creating them, Adwords shows you the preview how it looks if its a side ad or a Top ad.

 

Just a thought!

Pankaj

Hi guys thanks for replying. Yes, this is being viewed on...

[ Edited ]
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# 4
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Hi guys thanks for replying. Yes, this is being viewed on a desktop PC, and yes I assumed they were special ads where the first description line is moved up into the headline. 

 

Here's the bit I don't understand...

 

Normal ads allow for up to:

• 25 characters for the headline,

• 35 characters for ad description line 1

• 35 characters for ad description line 2

 

That's fine.

 

With the special ad treatment, ads end up like this:

• up to 60 characters for a special headline that incorporates normal headline plus ad description line 1 (25 + 35 = 60)

• up to 35 characters for ad description line 2

 

That's also fine.

 

With the ads I'm seeing (and the ad I quoted in my post above), I don't understand how the phone number can NOT be part of the headline, because there's 34 characters of text after the phone number but still within the headline, (and that's followed by a further 34 characters below, which is presumably ad description line 2. I'm ignoring Destination URL in all this.)

 

If the phone number was entered as part of the description rather than as part of the headline, would it not appear either in the final 35 characters of the extended headline (because a 35 character line has been appended to the end of it) , OR line 2 of the description?

 

To me, it seems like the character count gives it away, but maybe I'm getting something wrong. Be interested to know what you think.

Just to make that a bit clearer(!)...  If the phone numbe...

[ Edited ]
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# 5
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Just to make that a bit clearer(!)... 

If the phone number was originally entered as part of the ad description, would it not look something like this...

 

(Up to 25 chars here) - (up to 35 chars here including PHONE NUMBER)

destination-url-here.com

(up to 34 characters entered as ad description line 2)

 

?

 

At the moment, their ads appear like this...

 

(12 chars here) (PHONE NUMBER) - (34 chars here)

destination-url-here.com

(34 characters here)

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author swebber
September 2015

Hi swebber,   That does sound a bit screwy. Click the "Co...

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Hi swebber,

 

That does sound a bit screwy. Click the "Contact AdWords" button above, the use the email form to submit your complaint. That's about the best advice I can ghive you on this.

 

Best of Luck1

 

Pete

 

petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords

Google might be testing some different ad formats - Does...

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor
Google might be testing some different ad formats - Does this ad happen to have a location extension enabled?


Kim Clink, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Clink Digital Marketing
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the 'Best Answer.'

Hi Kim. There don't seem to be any location extensions on...

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# 8
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Hi Kim. There don't seem to be any location extensions on these, no. Also, I should add, I have noticed the phone numbers in their headlines for a while (since last year at least), so it's not just a recent thing.

Hi Pete Tempting! To be honest though, I'm not looking to...

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# 9
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Hi Pete

Tempting! To be honest though, I'm not looking to catch anyone out or dobb anyone in, though it irks a little if they're getting an unfair advantage. It was more about whether there was something I was missing out on (besides call extensions) that I could have otherwise been doing. Mainly I just wanted to run it by you guys to see if you agreed with my sense that it was probably being entered in the headline.

Simon

Re: Hi Pete Tempting! To be honest though, I'm not looking to...

L Z
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
L Z
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Simon,

Don't know if you've figured this out or not yet, but I believe it's a call metric from google.  They include a phone # (which forwards to your business #) so you can tell how many calls you're getting from various parts of your campaign.

This is especially useful if customers do not necessarily buy from your website, but either call you direct from your site, or buy at your store. 

 

Here's a link explaining it:

http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/11/measure-phone-calls-you-get-from.html

 

It's not part of your ad, it's added and tracked  by google if you set it up.