Google announced on Monday Jan 4th that their “Click to Call” program will be rolling out this month. In an email sent to AdWords Advertisers, “…your location-specific business phone number will display alongside your destination url in ads that appear on high-end mobile devices. Users will be able to click-to-call your business just as easily as they click to visit your website. You’ll be charged for clicks to call, same as you are for clicks to visit your website.” I really like this concept and think it is great for local advertisers.
Here’s how it will work: an advertiser’s local business number and address will appear as additional lines of ad text, based on the searchers geographic location. While this program will only work for searchers using Smartphones (mobile devices with the ability to view full HTML via the phone’s browser) there is still a huge potential audience for this strategy. According to Forrester Research, U.S. subscribers owning Smartphones jumped to 17% last year from 11% in 2008 and 7% in 2007. That’s phenomenal growth in a year where businesses struggled alongside the economy. Before you can use this program, campaigns must be targeted to high-end mobile devices with the phone number and local business address saved in your campaign settings.
If you are a local business and want to reach out to an ever growing audience ready to call your line when they search for you, then this program is right up your alley. I have said in many blog posts before, that the early adopters to new search marketing strategies usually get the most from their investment because of the lack of competition. I see this program being a staple in any online marketing program for businesses looking to grab a larger share of their local market. The companies who get in early usually grab that market share first and at a lower acquisition cost due to the lower competition.