Google Ads Phone Call Tracking
Google Ads provides free phone number tracking, which allows calls made from your website to be recorded as conversions in Google Ads. It works by dynamically replacing your existing phone number with a forwarding number to allow calls and call duration to be tracked.
Being able to track phone calls generated via Google Ads is crucial to understanding the full impact of your advertising efforts. However, there are some limitations that come with Google's own call tracking implementation.
Call Tracking Limitations
Google owns the forwarding numbers used for their call tracking solution. They state that the vast majority of calls happen within five minutes of the user seeing a Google forwarding number in an ad or on a website.
However, forwarding numbers expire after two hours numbers and could be reallocated to another account. This means that someone who saves a dynamically generated phone number to use later may not be able to reach you and could, in rare cases, be forwarded to a completely separate business.
This is an issue we have experienced at times with some of our clients. We contacted Google and received the following response.
"If the user calls the Google forwarding number within two hours, the call will connect. After two hours, the call will not be routed through to the business and the Google forwarding number may be reallocated."
Alternative Call Tracking
Overall, as this is a rare occurrence, we believe the value of call tracking to better optimise a Google Ads account outweighs the occasions when some calls are not correctly forwarded.
That said, there are alternative call tracking solutions that provide dedicated forwarding numbers which will always forward calls to your chosen business number. These third-party call tracking solutions come at a cost but provide increased reliability and the benefit of being able to track multiple marketing channels, not just Google Ads. One of our favourites is CallRail.