7 Dec 2021

What online marketers need to know about Google call tracking.

Googles Call Tracking: It’s no secret that calls are important and becoming more and more relevant, so it’s not surprising that Google wanted to ensure they could be measured and analyzed. However, because of complex regulations on international phone number allocation, the internet giant has been cautious about Call Tracking and only provides limited Call Tracking options.

Googles Call Tracking currently offers three ways of tracking calls

  • Call extensions for a campaign
  • Call-only ads
  • Website call conversions

1. Call extensions

A campaign ad with a call extension has a phone number added to it.
The phone number is displayed dynamically and differs from user to user. Usually, Google tries to display numbers in the company’s local area network.
This means the user calls Google rather than the company itself. Googles Call Tracking then forwards the call to the company and stores the information in its own network. That allows calls to be linked to a campaign.

2. Call-only ads

Call-only campaigns provide an additional option specifically for companies that do not have their own website but nevertheless want to use Google Search as a lead source to receive calls.

A phone number is displayed in a two-line call-only ad. Incoming calls can then be counted in Google Ads.

3. Website call conversions

A quick look at a company’s website is usually enough for most consumers to decide whether they want to contact the company.
In other words, once consumers have established they can trust a website, they keep an eye out for a phone number so they can quickly find out the particular information they require by making a call.

This is where call tracking comes in. Google replaces an individual phone number with one of Googles Call Tracking forwarding number that makes it possible to link the call with a Google Ads campaign.

Advantages of Googles Call Tracking

  • Out-of-the-box solution from Google
  • Free call tracking
  • Can easily be set to import call conversions with real values as offline conversions in Google Ads, even at a later point in time, and compare them against calls


  • The numbers belong to Google and can be used for other campaigns at any time.
  • There is no guarantee that Google will use phone numbers from the local area network in question.
  • Website Call Conversions replaces only the number stored in the campaign.
  • Replacing different phone numbers on a website – e.g. contact persons or branches is only possible with extremely high effort.
  • It is not possible to display international numbers, e.g., a number in the website visitor’s country of origin.
  • The call data is only available in Google Ads.
  • It is not possible to customize the number format, .e.g, +49 123 45 67 89 or +49 123 / 45 67 89.
  • Only the SEA channel can be tracked with Google forwarding numbers.
  • It is not possible to additionally book numbers for special display campaigns.
  • Only key customers are given a direct point of contact for call tracking.
  • Call routing is not guaranteed on German servers.


The solutions offered by Googles Call Tracking are not bad as call tracking light for testing or as an entry into the world of call tracking. However, they are only a superficial solution that cannot be compared with the depth of special call tracking solutions.

Dec 7, 2021

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