Google Updates Call-Only Ads: New Name & New Feature

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In April, Google unveiled a new feature for call ads. The option to include a website link below the main ad components on call-only ads. With this change, they also announced they are changing the name of call-only ads to call ads. Beyond this name change, the only difference between call-only ads and the renamed call ads is the new option to include a separate link to visit the business website directly from the ad.

notification in Google Ads: call-only ads update to call ads
You may have seen a notification like this in your Google Ads account recently.

What does this new call ad feature mean for businesses and should you use it for your call ads?

We’ll cover these questions along with general information about the call ad type, starting with what is a Google call ad exactly?

What are Call Ads (formerly Call-Only Ads) in Google Ads?

Call ads are a type of Google search ad that contain a main headline link, which launches a call dialer with the phone number pre-populated upon a click on the ad headline. This is known as a click-to-call link. Call ads are only eligible to appear on devices that can make phone calls, i.e. mobile devices.

Screenshot of call ads and regular search ads on Google

Call ads are designed to drive more calls by making it simple and frictionless to call a business with a single click. If your business goal is more customer calls, call ads can be a great tool to use. You can also set up phone calls as conversions, so that you can measure the success of your call ads

Pro Tip: Keep in mind that you can also track phone calls without counting them as conversions so be sure to set up your conversion tracking so that you are measuring what is important to your business.

Components of Call Ads

To better understand Google’s new call ad feature, let’s take a quick look at the components of call ads.

  • Business Name
  • Business Phone Number
  • Two Headlines (optional)
  • Two Lines of Description Text
  • A Display Path (optional)
  • A Final URL (optional) NEW!
Sample graphic image of a call ad with the new visit website feature highlighted.
An example of a call ad with the new visit website link in use.

Google’s call ads also require a verification URL. This should be the URL of the business page that includes the business phone number for verification. The verification URL doesn’t actually appear on your call ad.

You can also include relevant extensions on your call ads, just as you can for regular search ads. We recommend that you always include relevant extensions on your ads to give your ads better visibility on the search engine results page. Be sure to read Google’s Call Ads best practices for more helpful tips.

What Is the Difference between Call Ads & Call-Only Ads?

Besides the name change, the difference between call ads and call-only ads is the new feature Google announced, which allows advertisers the ability to add a link to their website directly in their call ad. 

Previously there was no option to link from your call-only ad to your business website. The only available option was the click-to-call link in the call ad headline. 

The new call ads still contain the click-to-call headline link; however, they can also make use of the new feature and include a link directly to the business website. 

With the new call ads format, the headline click-to-call link remains the same as before. The option to add a Final URL, will add a direct link from the ad to the business website below the regular call ad components.

Sample of a Call Ad without the new visit website link in use.
Sample of a call ad with the new website link in use

Keep in mind even when you have provided a Final URL to use this new feature, Google will only show the visit website link when it believes it will enhance the performance of your ad.

Pro Tip: Use ad scheduling settings to run call ads only when you will have someone available to answer the phone. This will ensure that your ads are as helpful as possible for potential customers. If you still want to run ads when your call ads are not scheduled, you can run regular search ads to continue to bring users to your business website, rather than have them call when no one is available to help.

Benefits of the New Feature For Call Ads

The new feature for call ads provides the opportunity to include a link to visit your business website directly from the call ad, while still emphasizing phone calls as the main ad objective through the use of the click-to-call link in the headline. 

Adding the direct website link below the main call ad components is optional.

Until Google’s announcement, a direct website link was not an option on call ads, meaning there was no way for a user to visit the business website from a call ad. Hence, the previous name of this ad type was call-only ad. 

The call-only functionality made call-only ads very good for generating phone calls as it was the only option for someone clicking on the ad. 

However there was a downside to this functionality for both users and advertisers. Sometimes users didn’t realize they were clicking to call the business. When this happened, they often ended the call quickly before talking with someone. In this case, the advertiser was still responsible for paying for the mistaken click.

For advertisers there was no option to provide consumers who weren’t ready to call the business an easy way to visit the website and learn more before making a call. This meant advertisers needed to decide if calls were so important that they could lose a portion of website traffic (people not yet ready to call) in order to gain calls that came from the seamless nature of the click-to-call headline.

The new link to visit the advertiser website appearing below the main click-to-call header is meant to reduce the number of mistaken clicks while also providing advertisers the option to connect consumers who aren’t ready to call with the business website.

By giving consumers the option to call or visit the business website, it will be easier for those not yet ready to call, but still interested, to find additional information on the business website instead.

This was part of Google’s goal with the newly added call ads feature: To make the ad more clear and reduce the number of mistaken clicks to call.

Another benefit of the new feature for call ads is that ads using this feature will have greater prominence on the search engine results page. With the website link below the regular ad components, the call ad takes up more space on the search engine results page with the new feature in use. 

As you can see with the new feature on call ads, the call ad takes up more space on the search engine results page, giving the ad greater prominence and pushing down competitor listings. 

Should You Use Call Ads with the New Feature?

Choosing to use the new call ad feature is a business decision that will be dependent on each business’s unique goals. 

If for some reason you don’t want traffic to your business website, we don’t recommend using this new feature in your call ads.

Otherwise, we think this new option to include a link to visit your website directly in your ad will be beneficial in generating more qualified phone calls to your business, while reducing the number of the mistaken click-to-calls. 

Additionally, the larger size of the actual ad when the new website link feature is shown can help to improve certain ad metrics like click-through-rates, while providing your ad with greater prominence on the search engine results page. 

Better results are not guaranteed with the new feature. Our recommendation is to test the use of the new feature for your business to find out if there is a positive impact on the advertising metrics that matter most to your individual business. 

Now that you know all about the new call ad feature, let’s compare call ads to call extensions on search ads so that you can better decide what ad type is best for your advertising.

Call Ads Vs. Call Extensions

In order to determine if a call ad or a call extension is right for your business, first ask yourself if the main action you want users to take is call your business directly or visit your website.

Screenshot of a call ad and a regular search ad with a call extension on Google

A call ad is designed to drive more website calls with the main headline acting as a click-to-call link, rather than a link to the business website. Call ads always include the click-to-call headline link. They can now also include a website link below the main ad components. 

Note: The visit website link is not guaranteed to appear when your ad is shown. It will only be shown when Google believes it will enhance the performance of your ad.

A call extension is an addition to a regular search ad, which features the business phone number below the main ad components. The goal of the call extension is to offer the option to call a business more easily by showing the phone number in the ad. 

Like all other ad extensions, call extensions are eligible to appear with the ad, but is not guaranteed to show. Call extensions only appear when Google feels it will enhance the performance of the ad and the ad has met certain ad rank requirements.

When a call extension appears on a device that can make phone calls it will be a click-to-call link so that it is easier to call your business directly from your ad. 

On devices that can’t make calls (i.e. desktop) your business phone number will appear in the extension so that your phone number is still readily available within the ad. On these devices that do not make phone calls, a call extension won’t be a click-to-call link. 

Chart with Side-by-Side Comparison of Call Ads and Call Extensions

In short, a call ad is best when the desired outcome, and the most helpful user experience, is to call your business. Call extensions are best for when a phone call is one of the contact options, but other actions are more desirable. 

If your business goal is lead form fills or online sales, but you also take new customer calls, a call extension may be more appropriate than a call ad.

Additionally, if you want to use the same ad on all devices, a call extension on a regular search ad is going to be your best option since call ads can’t show on all devices.

Lastly, if you want to run your ads 24/7 and don’t want to create different sets of ads that run when your business is closed versus when it is open, search ads with call extensions would also fit your needs.

Bottom Line

Call ads are best if:

  • Your only desired outcome is phone calls. 
  • You don’t mind creating multiple ad types to run ads when no one is available to answer your phone or on devices other than mobile.
  • Or, you don’t need your ads to run on all devices at all times.

Call extensions are best if:

  • You only want to create one ad type with the ability to run at all times & across all device types.
  • Your business also cares about generating leads or sales via your website in addition to phone calls. 

Ultimately, the ad type you choose is dependent on your unique business situation. We always recommend testing different ad formats in order to find out what works best for your business based on real performance results.


Call-only ads are now updated to call ads and include an optional “visit website” link, giving users & advertisers more choice.

Whether you use call ads or call extensions, the ad type and ad features you choose are highly dependent on your business goals and individual business needs. If you need help deciding what ad types are best for your business or testing your Google Ads, please feel free to contact us

We are a 100% Google Ads certified agency. Our goal is to help you connect your business goals with your advertising goals by measuring results that matter to your business to create an efficient and effective advertising strategy. 

Learn more about our professional Google Ads management and PPC services today!

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