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Case Study: Call Only PPC Ad Optimization

Summary: Call only PPC campaigns are a cost-effective way to drive phone calls to your business. In this article we test the effects of a call only campaign on the cost per call for a dental website.

Last time we explored Pay Per Click optimization techniques including dayparting, bid optimization, and location targeting. For this article we'll look at the effects of "call only" PPC campaigns on the cost per call.

Call Only PPC Advertising

Call only campaigns are a way to target mobile users with ads designed to be a click away from a phone call (see Figure 1). Call only campaigns don't drive traffic to your website, they drive phone calls. call only ad example

Figure 1: Call Only Ad

The advantages of call only ads are many:

  • One click = One call
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Phone number is on top of the ad
  • Prominent call button
  • Fewer steps per call (call direct from PPC ad, not website)

Setting Up Call Only Ads

Google makes it relatively easy (two steps) to setup a call only campaign. Click on the red +Campaigns button in Adwords -> Campaigns to create a new campaign (see Figure 2). In this example we cloned the "Dentist" campaign to create a call only "Dentist" campaign. Select the "Call Only" radio button and set your targeting. call only setup

Figure 2: Adwords Call Only Setup

Note that we've found that broad matched and popular phrases (i.e., "Dentist") tend to be good candidates for call only ads. Make sure you've dialed back your weighting in your original campaign by -100% for mobile for your desktop campaign (otherwise you'll have two mobile campaigns for the same phrases). Google promises to make setting up call only campaigns easier in the future.

Dentist Call Only Campaign Results

The results of the "Dentist" call only campaign are shown in Figure 3. The conversion rate of the call only campaign is 56.4%, while the conversion rate on the old Dentist campaign (same keywords) is 8.3%. The cost per converted click is $4.35 for the call only campaign and $72.33 for the old Dentist campaign (no call only), some 16.6 times higher. Overall the call only campaign generates more calls at 1/10 the cost. call only setup

Figure 3: Call Only Results

The above results are shown graphically in Figure 4. dentist campaign call only, no call only

Figure 4: Dentist Campaign With and Without Call Only

Overall Cost Per Call Results

Figure 5 shows the call tracking results one month before and after the Dentist call only campaign was started. In the month before call tracking was rolled out, the average cost for a PPC call (onsite and off) was $161.95/call. After the Dentist call only campaign was rolled out the average cost/call was $44.06, some 3.7 times lower. Note that even though the total PPC budget was cut in half, the number of calls (leads) nearly doubled in the month following the call only campaign. call only, no call only

Figure 5: PPC Results With and Without Call Only

Caveats & Future Tweaks

While call only campaigns clearly drive more calls per dollar, is the quality of the lead as good as a longer tail ad? We'll be testing additional call only ads and optimizations to further refine Dr. Cirka's PPC campaign.


Call only PPC campaigns are a cost-effective way to drive phone calls to your business. The cost per call was reduced by 10-16X for the specific campaign we tested. Overall the cost per call for the entire PPC account was reduced by a factor of 3.7 times by adding a call only campaign.

Further Reading

Case Study: Phone Call Tracking a Dental Website
What is the optimal allocation of your online advertising budget? We compare the cost per lead of organic versus PPC advertising for a dental website.
Case Study: PPC Optimization
Learn how to optimize your PPC campaign to boost leads and reduce costs. We explore location targeting with multiple radii, bid adjustments, and dayparting.
The target site for this case study.

By website optimization on 19 Oct 2015 PM

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