Brad Geddes / PPC Geek
Official Google Ads Seminar Leader.
Author of Advanced Google AdWords.
Co-Founder, Adalysis.
(703) 828-5811‬
Brad Geddes's Theories on Marketing Should you put a phone number in your ad?

Should you put a phone number in your ad?

It’s pretty common to see phone numbers in Google ads. The thinking generally goes “If someone calls me from my ad, then I don’t have to pay for a click.”

Let’s examine that thought process.

First off, one of the largest quality score factors is click through rate. If you suddenly get calls from your ad, then you will not be getting clicks, and thus your quality score will suffer.

When your quality score goes down, either your ad drops in position (meaning your ad will now be further down the page) or you will have to pay more for each click.

There’s a reason Google doesn’t care if you put phone numbers in your ads. If you were to get calls, it just means you end up paying more for the exposure because you don’t get clicks.

In addition, since you are using up characters with a phone number, you are wasting valuable space in showcasing your value proposition to the searcher.

Most consumers still aren’t calling from search results.

When we do a search, our goal is to research and find information. We’re not quite ready to call yet, we want to learn a bit more about the company.

I was highly involved in Google’s Click-To-Call experiment a few years ago. There’s a reason that click-to-call ads still don’t exist on Google. Some companies (mostly hotels) saw some nice results. The majority of companies saw very few calls.

What if you own 1-800-Keyword?

If you own 1-800-keyword (and write it that way in your ad copy); then it is worth testing. From a consumers standpoint, if you own the 800 number for your keyword, then it’s a sign of authority. Authority details in ad copy can definitely help click through rate. Overall, I’ve seen good results with using 1-800-keyword in ad copy; but there are always exceptions. Hence – test.

Quick Recap

  • Do not put phone numbers in ad copy, they are a waste of space. Use better marketing language instead.
  • If you own 1-800-keyword, then test running ads with and ads without the phone number in the ad copy.

Remember, if in doubt – test. It’s really the only way to get the answer as it pertains to your company.


  1. David Szetela
    January 13, 2009 at 8:42 pm · Reply


    We’ve seen similar results. But try phone numbers in Content ads someday (text and non-text) – sometimes the CTR is higher than without. Possibly a credibility thing.



  2. Brad Geddes aka eWhisper
    January 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm · Reply

    Interesting, David – good to know.

    That’s why it’s always worth testing everything 🙂

  3. Seo Chennai
    January 15, 2009 at 9:24 am · Reply

    Very informative ! thanks for the info.

  4. Jimmy Walker
    January 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm · Reply

    800# Scenario: The client could not display or sell at a discounted price online due to contractual issues. We tested an ad with “Call 800# . . . for price”. Similar to David’s findings, the CTR remained surprisingly strong. Best of all, call and order rate were up sharply for the item.

    We will continue with a split campaign – 800# ads during business hours – traditional ads during off hours.

    Hnmmm! Got me thinking now. Hate when that happens.

    Cheers all,

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