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on the other side, if their strategy worked, and a substantial number of people were calling without clicking, their CTR would drop and their ad would get disabled.
actually, i think advertisers who include an 800 number have a different intention altogether: legitimacy. the presence, and the presense alone, of an 800 number seems to convey to a visitor that it is a reputable and legitimate site/business. even if no one ever calls a toll free number, it is what it conveys that carries weight.
alternatively, other advertisers may list a phone number with a local area code to give confidence that this is a nearby business.
i doubt that these advertisers are trying to get calls without clicks, and if they are, i suspect that they are failing.
Advertisers have always been allowed phone numbers in their ads. I doubt that very few people would call up on the strength of just seeing an ad. Most would click through to the site itself.
That's what one advertiser reported in an earlier thread on this topic. He pointed out (quite reasonably) that the phone number provides reassurance that the ad is from a real business, and most users will prefer to click on the ad.
The ads are also for in demand events which will be over by the time CTR gets the ads banned.
A visitor either wants to go or doesn't - they don't need to be sold on the idea - and with tickets as scarce as they are, why wouldn't they "call for more details" as told to?
I appreciate you all giving the advertisers the benefit of the doubt, but in this case there's no doubt it's done to avoid paying for click throughs.
It's also very easy to forget that many many people still prefer to talk on a phone than surf the internet.
Doesn't mean they are experienced web surfers though.
Doesn't mean they wouldn't rather use the phone in some instances.
If you go to see a friend or relative who spends little time online it can be like watching paint dry when they "surf".
Basically advertisers want to pay the least possible for the most leads. Hence the inclusion of phone numbers no matter how else you want to reason it away. I'm not saying EVERYONE will phone. But some people will. And that's where I / you lose out.
But some people will. And that's where I / you lose out
Actually, you still might not be losing out if that is a high paying advertiser and that phone number is causing MORE clicks because of the very reason stated in this thread (buyer reassurance).
So if that ad is getting a high clickthrough ratio and giving you a high CPC and you filter it out because it "might" be giving you one or two less clicks from the people that call, then you are missing out on all the revenue of the people that did click the ad.
Might be worth some extra thought and testing if possible.
BTW, don't forget that Google depends on clickthroughs just as much as we do. So it's reasonable to assume that Google has done research to determine whether phone numbers affect CTR.
Rodney -testing is the best policy. I will do that.
Europedforvisitors - that's true what you say about Google needing click throughs too. Whether they have tested CTR with and without phone numbers I don't know. For my industry at least I can see only an upside for the advertisers because of the need for immediate action if the buyer is genuinely interested and the time frame these ads will be displayed for (days not weeks).