First Google Voice has been seamlessly blended with Gmail, now AdWords. Is there anywhere Google won't put the call management application?
Call metrics, an ad-hoc ad analytics tool, uses the Google Voice technology to assign AdWords campaigns a special, clickable phone number. This number is inserted on the fly into the ad for desktop and smartphone gadgets when a call is made.
Call users make by clicking the number are routed to the business, with AdWords call metrics logging this call.
Later, when AdWords users look at their reports, they'll see the number of calls generated by each campaign and call duration.
Google, which will add caller area code to the metrics in the future, noted that advertisers who know where their calls are generated can chisel their marketing strategy, creating greater advertising efficiencies.
While users will continue to only pay for clicks on their ads, Google will charge for call metrics in the future.
Zac Stafford, senior search strategist at Nina Hale Search Marketing in Minneapolis, Minn., told Google he saw some encouraging results as an early beta tester of AdWords call metrics:
"By cross-checking our call metrics reports with our sales records, we saw that half the people who called the toll free number in our ad purchased online but the other half purchased in a store. Before using call metrics, we determined our ROI just by looking at the online sales numbers. Now we have proof that online search ad campaigns drive in-store purchases."
Call metrics are only available to a limited number of U.S. advertisers, with plans to open their availability wider in the coming months.
Once again, Google is finding clever ways to leverage its existing technologies to boost other products and services.
What makes this utility particularly useful is that Google is using a free service to fortify its key cash generator in AdWords.
This will take on greater importance for Google as its mobile ad business continues to grow.