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Much like the MFA ads, or the "free" and "reward" ads , obviously Google must think that they pay out well enough for you if you're seeing them.
If an advertiser bids high in the hopes of getting a bump without having to pay for it, then conceivably, the reason the ad is being shown is because it's worth more per click. Which is why Google would be showing the ad.
Or are those ads receiving clicks despite the phone numbers?
What do you think?
[edited by: martinibuster at 9:52 pm (utc) on May 23, 2006]
Thinking about it as a customer: I don't think I would call a phone number just from seeing a few words of text before it. However, it would help that particular ad to stand out from ads that didn't have numbers as possibly a company that is more reliable with phone support if necessary.
Thinking about it as a merchant: seems like just another tactic to get your ad to stand out. I really doubt you'll get lots of calls just from the phone number and 3-4 words.
Thinking about it as a publisher: it seems like it would show that there are quality (ie: non-MFA) advertisers showing on my site, and if the merchant is correct, and the it makes the ad stand out, then that means that ad would get more clicks, which menas more money for me, more leads for the advertiser, more relevant ads for my site visitors.
I don't use any click tracking software, so I couldn't guarantee that it gets clicked, but that's my non-scientific opinion :)
Discussing it over IM earlier today, someone noted that if the ads aren't being clicked on, then smart pricing will make it more expensive for that ad to show up in the auction, so that when it does get clicked on, it will be worth more per click.
The ad stood out, caught my eye right away. If the algo is pushing those ads on my content network as likely to earn more money, it can very well be that the phone numbers could stimulate a click by virtue of their increased visibility.
Sure enough, those ads get better click throughs. It lends credibility to the ad and the company placing the ad. It's a lot like including basic contact info (besides an email) on your website; even if a person doesn't use that info, they are more likely to buy from you because it adds credibility in a marketplace (the web) where a lot of regular folks are afraid of getting ripped off...
However, only a couple days ago, I received a whopping dpc for a click to one with the phone number in the ad I hadn't noticed up to that point. I am now less inclined to block simply based on the fact there is a phone number in the ad.
dpc = dollars per click, the big sister of cpc, a term I use for the really big commissions.
True, some advertisers may be trying to get a call instead of a click, but when you as the publisher get more paid clicks from them, that's their loss (or gain, however you want to look at it)...
This is a joker trying to get a sale without having to pay for the click.
I think there is another factor to consider. The OP mentioned seeing a toll-free telephone number. Incoming toll-free calls cost the advertiser/owner of the number.
How much does an incoming toll-free call cost as compared to a click? Do they still charge by the minute for incoming toll-free calls?
putting telephone numbers in ads to avoid paying for clicks
Nah. The important thing is the call, not whether they cost you a few dimes by clicking or not. More calls equals higher ROI. Just a different marketing tactic.
I doubt it affects Adsense earnings negatively.
Right now I only advertise on Search results -- I don't trust traffic from content ads... but I guess I should give it another go now that analytics can check the page views etc. Will try the phone number idea too. ;-)
I'm trying to figure out why Google's algo would show an ad that is designed to not receive a click.
I'm mostly a buyer of Adwords, not a seller through Adsense, but it seems to me that Google's algo is designed right here... if the ad creates click, its quality will keep the ad on the page. If it doesn't, then the only thing keeping it on the page would have to be a huge CPC cap to compensate.
I guess Google could count haveing a phone number on the ad as a factor in its quality check.
phone number on title tag
Wouldn't it be better - on balance - to have this in the Desription? Much less effect on the serps, but more effect when (if) seen in the serps?