Online advertising can be about more than just your website, especially with on-the-go consumers. For many advertisers, calls are the most important channel to use when connecting with customers.

If you’re looking to take full advantage of our recently introduced call-only campaigns or to drive calls alongside clicks, there are certain things that you should be thinking about.

Our new Best Practices guide, Good Call: A Guide to Driving Calls with AdWords, covers key areas that any call-hungry business should consider.

  • How to decide if you want to drive clicks & calls or calls only
  • What are the best ways to measure all of the calls you drive
  • How you can update your bidding and messaging to increase the number of calls you receive
  • What changes you can make to increase your website’s value to callers

Stop staring longingly at your phone, wishing it would ring.  Download our full guide or the one-page checklist now.  Your phone will thank you.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

People are living their lives online and engaging with your business in new ways.  With smartphones in hand, consumers are increasingly looking for products or services while on the go and then placing a call right away. In fact, 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results.*

Today we’re introducing call-only campaigns, a new and easy way for businesses to reach potential customers by prominently showing your phone number, business description and call button -- right when people are searching.

Uniquely built for businesses that value phone calls more than website clicks

Call-only campaigns are specially designed to only show on mobile devices that can make phone calls. This means every click you pay for can be a phone call to your business.

Bid just for phone calls

Since every click goes towards a phone call, you can design a bidding strategy based specifically on your CPA or ROAS goal for calls. This helps you maximize the value of every call to your business.

“Our customers are increasingly calling us on their mobile devices to get an insurance quote. The great part about call-only ads is that they give us the ability to bid based on the value of a call so we can meet the specific ROI goals that we have set up for sales that come through the phone."

Jason Johnson
Marketing Director, Clearlink Insurance

Customize ads focused on a single call to action - phone calls

Tailor your ads for phone calls with creatives like “speak to a specialist today" or “call to make an appointment" to let people know they can easily reach your business without needing to visit your site.

For BizLab, a national telecommunications retailer, most conversions happen offline over the phone.  "The new call-only ads have improved lead volume and conversion rates by targeting mobile devices with ads, like “call now” that are simply focused on driving calls.”

Catherine Wilson
Senior PPC Analyst, BizLab

Another major internet provider uses call-only campaigns to connect customers quickly and easily with their sales team. “With a phone call as the only call to action, call-only ads improve the mobile shopping experience by eliminating the intermediary step of visiting our website. They provide an easy way for consumers to get the product they want by calling into our sales center directly. Better customer experience coupled with an increase in calls & sales provides a win-win for both consumers and advertisers.”

Josh Leibner
Director of Paid Search at Red Ventures, marketing partner for large businesses

Learn more

If you’re currently using the call extensions setting to create call-only ads, you can find details on how to upgrade to call-only campaigns in the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Amit Agarwal, Product Manager, AdWords

*Google/Ipsos, The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase, September, 2013.

Did you know that over 200 products and feature updates launched in AdWords last year? With so many updates, many advertisers have shared that it can be hard to keep track of all the changes. On top of that, advertisers are looking for guidance about how to use AdWords so that they can better manage their accounts. We're listening.

Starting today, you will find two new resources in the Learn tab of the Help Center that we hope will keep you on top of all the new AdWords innovations and help you understand how they work. The first is a chronological list of product updates. This “New AdWords Features” page shows you what’s happening in AdWords all in a single place: from reporting improvements to new ad format launches. For example, if you visit the page today you’ll see that eligible Flash ads can now be automatically converted to HTML5 on the Google Display Network. You'll also see that we recently rolled out a service release for AdWords Editor, which included some improvements to reporting.
Each listing offers a short description of the change with links to pages with more details. In many cases, these links will take you to a page with product how-to videos or customer stories.

The second resource that we’ve added to the Learn tab in the Help Center is all about making our advertisers better at AdWords: the Google Best Practices series.

This series offers actionable advice and straightforward tips to help you get the most out of AdWords. The guidance we offer spans many topics, from writing effective search ads to successfully implementing bid automation. This series, Google's official advice on AdWords, can help form the foundation of your paid search strategies.
We hope these new resources make it easier to stay up to date with AdWords as a “one-stop shop” for discovering new innovations and helpful best practices. Bookmark them now!

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

Like sunshine and the beach, or dogs and tennis balls, Google AdWords and Google Analytics are great by themselves but even better together. You'll get high-performance insights into your ads and your website when you link your AdWords and Analytics accounts. Google Analytics does a vital job in this pairing: it shows you what happened after users clicked on your AdWords ads.

We’ve put together a new Best Practices guide, Better Together: AdWords and Google Analytics, to help you get deep insight into your performance. When you analyze performance with the combination of GA and AdWords you can find all sorts of actionable info:

  • Which parts of your account drive actual on-site engagement
  • Which keywords attract new users to your site
  • What messaging and landing pages connect with the different users on your site
  • How your business compares across your entire industry

To whet your appetite, here’s a rundown of ten useful GA reports included in the guide (with links that lead you directly to these reports in your own GA account).  Like what you see here?  Download the full version and the condensed one-page checklist to view our complete coverage of GA + AW goodness.
Love Analytics and AdWords being paired together?  Please take our survey about your past success and what else we can do to improve the experience.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

URL management just got easier 

Constant connectivity has increased the ways that people engage with your business, meaning more data and metrics for you to use to manage ad performance.  That’s why we are introducing Upgraded URLs to provide an easier and faster way to manage and track important information about each click on your AdWords ads*.

Upgraded URLs offer several benefits for advertisers, including:
  • less time spent managing URL tracking updates
  • reduced crawl and load times on your website
  • new ValueTrack parameters that help you gain additional insights about your ads. Learn more.

Johannes Lipka, Product & Solution Manager at eProfessional GmbH, says: “Upgraded URLs have been one of the most time-saving tools we’ve used in AdWords. It’s allowed us to change custom tracking parameters for a group of URLs all in one place, without re-setting ad stats. We plan to upgrade our clients’ accounts over to upgraded URLs as soon as possible.”

Destination URLs today

If you use URL tracking today, you’ll notice that Destination URLs are made up of two components:
  1. Landing page URL This is the URL that customers see in their browsers when they get to your landing page after clicking on your ad.
  2. Tracking This section includes information like redirects to third party tracking services, ValueTrack parameters, or custom creative IDs.
In the example below, blue represents the landing page, and green represents the tracking information.

With destination URLs, anytime you need to adjust tracking, you have to update the entire destination URL. This triggers a re-review of your entire destination URL and your ads stop running while your URL is re-reviewed -- causing you to lose time and potential new business.

What’s changing with Upgraded URLs

Upgraded URLs let you enter the landing page portion of your URL and your tracking information separately in AdWords. Now you have the option to update your tracking information at your account, campaign or ad group without having to re-set your ad stats.

Let’s see how the example URL above could be constructed using the new upgraded URL fields.

Final URL is where you’ll enter your website’s landing page URL.
The landing page '' is now entered in the Final URL Field
Tracking templates are where you enter your tracking information and tell AdWords how to assemble your URLs. Now, if you’d like to scale your tracking updates across multiple URLs, you can use a shared tracking template at the account, campaign or ad group level. If you’d prefer to manage your URL tracking information at the individual URL level, you can use a tracking template at the ad, keyword, or sitelink level.

In the example below, we’ve used a tracking template at the account level to apply our tracking information across all of the URLs in the account.
Tracking information for all URLs in the account is placed in the account level tracking template
Custom parameters let you customize the information you’d like to monitor as well as the specific values that get inserted into your URLs when your ad clicks are triggered. For example, if you’d like to insert the value 12345 whenever this specific ad is clicked, you can set the custom parameter {_mycreative} in this ad.
Enter '_mycreative' in the custom parameter field to insert 12345 whenever that ad is clicked
New URLs, new insights

As part of this upgrade, you’ll gain access to many new insights about your ad clicks.

New ValueTrack parameters let you track additional insights about your business. For example, if you’d like to track how many ad clicks were triggered for your creative by location, you can use the new {loc_physical_ms} ValueTrack parameter. To optimally use the new ValueTrack parameters, you can set them up at the account level so you can track these values across all the URLs in your account. Learn about the new value track parameters.
The valuetrack for location {location_physical_ms} is in green in the account level tracking template
Next steps

We’ll be rolling out upgraded URLs to all advertisers starting this week. We encourage all advertisers who use tracking in their URLs to upgrade to the new system by July 1, 2015. Starting on that date, your URLs will begin updating to the new structure.

If you're using a tracking platform to manage your URLs, we encourage working with them to manage these changes.

To learn how you can start using Upgraded URLs for your new ad URLs, please see our article on Help Center.

Posted by Leo Sei, Product Manager, Google AdWords

*Everywhere we say ads, we also mean other targeting options available for the Search Network, Display Network, and Shopping.

When shoppers search for the best deals online, they want to know the full cost of an item -- including the cost of shipping. In fact, we’ve seen that unexpected shipping costs are a common reason for users abandoning their online shopping purchases. That’s why we’ve been focused on making it even easier for you to showcase the right shipping cost to online shoppers, when they’re ready to buy.

Carrier-calculated rates in Google Merchant Center are an easy and convenient way to set up accurate shipping rates if you use one of the supported carriers. In the US, several major carriers recently announced that they’ve begun applying dimensional weight pricing when calculating the rates of their shipments. With this change, package pricing not only factors in the weight of the package, but also its dimensions.

To help you show accurate shipping rates for your items, we’re introducing support for dimensional weight shipping rates in Google Merchant Center. This update lets you define the dimensions of your packages used in shipping taking into account the length, width, and height of a package -- in addition to the weight you already provide.

We’ve created three new attributes that you can add to your product data to provide the dimensions of shipping packages for an item: ‘shipping length’, ‘shipping width’, and ‘shipping height’. Starting today, when you include these attributes, Google will calculate carrier-calculated shipping rates for supported carriers by taking into account dimensional weights. This ensures that calculated rates reflect dimensional shipping rates to provide users with the most accurate costs.

To learn more about dimensional shipping, visit our Help Center article, and select ‘United States’ at the top.

Posted by Sven Herschel, Product Manager for Google Merchant Center 

Online advertising helps fund content and businesses on the web, from small family-owned shops to large publishers. While online advertising helps the web to work for all of us, this ecosystem can also attract bad actors that aim to misuse ads for harmful or deceptive purposes.

We work hard to keep our advertising ecosystem clean for users, advertisers, and publishers, and continue to invest substantial resources to stop bad advertising practices. We have a team of analysts who work around the clock to protect users, and continue to hone our detection technology to identify bad ads and stop bad actors as it’s a vital part of keeping our ads ecosystem clean.

As an example, last summer our analysis technology flagged a set of accounts as suspicious. To the human eye, the ads looked like ordinary rental property ads that met our policies. After we dug in deeper, we discovered that the system was right to be suspicious - the vacation rentals turned out to be a scam and the rental properties didn't exist. Our systems learn from incidents like these, helping us more effectively catch and remove bad ads and advertisers.

For the past several years, we’ve shared insight into our efforts to fight bad actors on the web. Today, we’re sharing new data on how we fought bad advertising practices over the past year. Overall, we disabled more than 524 million bad ads and banned more than 214,000 advertisers in 2014. While this represents a tiny fraction of the total ads on our platform - the vast majority of advertisers follow our policies and act responsibly - we continue to remain vigilant to protect users against bad advertising practices.

Here’s a look into some of the trends we fought against last year:

  • Combating counterfeiters: Our relentless crackdown on counterfeit goods is producing powerful results. We banned 7,000 advertisers for promoting counterfeit goods, down from 14,000 in 2013 (and 82,000 in 2012), demonstrating that counterfeiters are increasingly unable to circumvent our advanced enforcement systems.
  • Protecting against malicious software: To protect the safety and security of our users, we stop all ads pointing to sites where we find malware - whether it’s spyware, adware or other types of malicious software. Last year we removed 250,000 sites from our network for hiding forms of malware. 
  • Weighing in against weight loss scams: While many advertisers selling dietary supplements provide accurate information, some bad actors use outrageous claims to entice consumers. In 2014, a group which includes Google, AOL, Yahoo and others, released a report showing that we had collectively removed or rejected more than 2.5 million ads related to weight loss and dietary supplements over the past 18 months. 
Here’s a look at our work to get rid of bad advertising practices in 2014:
This is a constantly evolving fight. Bad actors continually create more sophisticated systems and scams, so we too are continually evolving our practices, technology, and methodology in fighting these bad ads. The security of our users is the foundation of our ecosystem, and we’ll continue to work tirelessly to keep people safe online. If you’d like to provide feedback on specific ads or our policies, check out our online form.

Posted by Vikaram Gupta, Director, Ads Engineering

There's nothing like shopping online knowing that you'll get great customer service, on-time delivery and free purchase protection. And because we want this experience to be everyone's, today we’re rolling out a set of improvements that will make it even easier for merchants to join Google Trusted Stores, our program that has helped thousands of merchants gain their customers’ confidence.

Win the trust of new shoppers

Google Trusted Stores is a free certification program to highlight that you offer a consistently great shopping experience. Once qualified, your store will be recognized with a badge that is displayed on your site and on Google Shopping. Your customers will be offered free purchase protection by Google after making a purchase on your site, covering eligible orders up to $1,000.

Applying to become a Trusted Store is now simpler than ever. You only need to create an account and add two snippets of code to your website. You no longer need to submit shipment and cancellations feeds, and you’re now able to specify a custom position for the Trusted Stores badge on your site and display it on HTTPS pages.  
New Google Trusted Stores badge showing seller ratings and purchase protection
Highlight your Trusted Stores status in AdWords and qualify for seller ratings

Reviews collected through Google Trusted Stores help you qualify for seller ratings, which show on your AdWords text ads and Google Shopping. This integration provides shoppers with helpful information, while giving you a free way to earn the rating you deserve.

You can also enrich your AdWords ads by displaying your Google Trusted Stores status through a review extension. Review extensions are displayed on a separate line in your AdWords ads and may increase their clickthrough rates.
Show your seller ratings and add a review extension to your AdWords ads
Many partners are already enjoying the benefits of participating in the Trusted Stores program. For example, John Fitzgerald, Director Digital Marketing at Beau-Coup, told us "Our participation in the Google Trusted Stores program has resulted in increased traffic to as well as higher sales. The Trusted Stores review extension highlights our status in AdWords, bringing more customers to the site, and the Trusted Stores badge gives shoppers confidence resulting in higher conversion rate overall."

Get started with Trusted Stores

We made these changes available internationally in the UK, Germany, France, Australia and Japan a few months ago and hundreds of merchants have become Trusted Stores in these countries already.

The Google Trusted Stores program is free and easy to set up, making it ideal for any merchant, large or small, interested in boosting shopper confidence. If you want to join the Google Trusted Stores Program, apply here.

Posted by Michaela Feller, Product Manager, Google Shopping

We know that retailers are always looking for the best ways to promote their products and reach shoppers online in the exact moment they’re looking to buy. Our mission with Google Shopping is to help you do that. In 2014, we introduced Shopping campaigns to all Product Listing Ad (PLA) advertisers to offer a more streamlined, retail-centric advertising experience. This year, we want to continue to help you make the most of your PLA investment.

In the spirit of self-betterment, we invite you to join us in resolving to make 2015 your best year yet. But instead of making resolutions you know you may not keep, how about trying our countdown of suggested resolutions to improve your product data and boost your PLA success? Just think of it — all the satisfaction of accomplishing your goals, and no wasted gym memberships. Kick off the new year by checking out a few ideas below:
  1. I will be on time. Keeping track of all your meetings, appointments, and social events is crucial to making sure you get the most out of your day. But while you’re managing your personal tasks, don’t forget to plan ahead when updating your product data -- it’s key to ensuring your products show on Google. Make sure to check the Google Shopping policies and act quickly in response to any notifications or warnings you may receive; you can even put a reminder on calendar and list out steps to resolve a warning before the specified deadline. With time to spare, rest easy knowing that you’re in tip-top shape to take full advantage of every opportunity to reach more shoppers, when it counts. 

  2. I will get organized and eliminate clutter. You’ve just made it through the hustle and bustle of the holidays -- and your home, nerves, and work are probably still reflecting it. Relax -- it’s a new year, and it’s time to get things back under control. Part of reaching that “zen” state is making sure your product data is up-to-date. With the help of automatic item updates in Google Merchant Center, dynamically update product price and availability shown on PLAs if there’s a difference between your data feed and your website’s microdata. This will help you seamlessly update your ads and avoid disapproval from mis-matched information; in fact, merchants who have opted in to this feature have seen a 50% reduction in price-related item disapprovals.

  3. I will try something new. Did 2014 have you feeling like you were stuck in a rut? This year, break free from your standard routine and get inspired. Learn a new language, pick up a paintbrush -- or try out new Google Shopping features to help you reach even more customers across screens this year. As consumers are turning more and more to their mobile devices to shop on-the-go, the new Auction Insights report can help you better understand your mobile impression share and see how you stack up against the competition. On Black Friday of 2014, we saw a 3.5x increase of people searching for products on mobile year-over-year. By analyzing your performance on mobile, you can optimize your mobile bid modifier as necessary to reach your shoppers, wherever they’re searching.

  4. I will be a better listener. No texting during dinner. No talking over others. And no more ignoring key Shopping insights. Just as listening to your friends and colleagues can mean more opportunities to develop better personal relationships, listening to your campaigns can help you nurture better results to sell more of your products. Check out a handful of tools we have for you to stay in tune with the health and performance of your campaigns, including the Diagnostics tab in Google Merchant Center to ensure that your data is free of issues, or the Search Terms report to help you identify new opportunities to optimize your titles and descriptions, based on how consumers are searching for your product.

  5. I will be a better communicator. Just as listening can be an important part of developing stronger relationships, so can communicating. Regardless of the type of relationship, from friendship to family to job-related, the better you are at communicating, the more successful that relationship is likely to be. Foster an open dialogue with us by double-checking your contact information in your Google Merchant Center account; this will ensure we continue to send updates and alerts to email aliases that are actively monitored, so you don’t miss out on important details.
Here’s to Shopping success in 2015!

Posted by Kim Doan, Product Marketing Manager for Google Shopping

It’s been a busy year for our customers. We’ve been inspired to learn from all of you -- advertisers from around the world, large and small, across so many industries. Thank you for the feedback you have given on our products as well as the insights you’ve shared. As we come to the end of 2014, we want to share some customer stories that we hope inspire you as much as they have inspired us.

L’Oréal Paris builds brand love with search.
L’Oréal Paris uses Search insights to get ahead of beauty trends and develops product and messaging to respond to consumer interests. The brand rejuvenated the home hair care color category and brought 50% new consumers to their Feria Ombré product. Learn more.

Sephora creates engaging mobile experiences for shoppers online and in stores.
Sephora uses the smartphone to showcase their beauty products with local inventory ads, which drive consumers to buy on Sephora’s website or in-store. In addition, Sephora engages their in-store shoppers with an app that allows them to scan products for more information. Learn more.

Hyatt drives engagement across the web with rich media.
Hyatt creates iconic video creative to attract female business travelers to book a room at a Hyatt hotel. The brand ran Lightbox Ads across the Google Display Network and TrueView video ads on YouTube. The result gave the brand exposure to 17M business travelers with a 26% lower cost per engagement than the campaign average. Learn more.

Extra Space Storage uses new innovations to reach customers in the most relevant and engaging way.
Extra Space Storage develops ads in real time with the newly launched ads customizers to make sure they are reaching their customer with the most relevant message. In a recent campaign, these ads led to a 113% increase in CTR. Learn more.

1-800 Flowers unlocks full customer value.
1-800 Flowers wanted to understand the full value of AdWords search ads - including the impact of click-to-call ads. They tracked estimated cross-device conversions to better understand how their customers interact across devices. They uncovered a 7% increase in overall conversions, and 8% to 10% of their overall AdWords revenue came from click-to-call. Learn more.

Point It implements automated bidding to save time and increase efficiency.
Point It, a Seattle-based search marketing agency, wanted to save their account managers time so they could focus on more strategic initiatives. The agency added automated bidding, and client performance boomed. The agency saw a 47% increase in ROAS, with CPAs that were 4% lower and revenues were 8% higher. Learn more.

We look forward to the year ahead - when we’ll share more product innovations, best practices and customer stories.

From our AdWords family to yours -  happy holidays, and we’ll see you in 2015.

Posted by Jenna Sandoval & Perla Campos, Product Marketing Managers, Performance Ads