This last Thursday saw some AdWords advertisers receiving an unexpected email from Google that explained some upcoming changes to the phone numbers that appear in ads  Te change affects campaigns that use both call extensions and location extensions.

Exposure for ads was expanded by Google and includes location extensions over the past year.  These includes showing ads in Maps and in Local Finder results.  Google says that, as of January 19, 2017, it “may” show the local retail phone number when that store’s location extension shows in an ad, even if the call extension in the campaign uses a different phone number in order to increase the relevance of ads featuring specific business locations.

This 2 week notice was the beginning communication of a change.  So why does the email say that a location-specific phone number “may be used” instead of “will be used?”  According to a Google spokesperson, they are continuously testing.  This means that it’s possible the ads could possibly show with either number.

It’s advised to those advertisers that have location extensions to ensure their Google My Business listings have the accurate phone numbers for each location.

There are a number of scenarios where advertisers with physical location prefer to have calls directed to a central number or call center.  With AdWords, the biggest reasons is the lack of call conversion tracking at the individual location level.  Google is certainly aware of this concern.  A form is available for advertisers to submit before the change to opt out of having local numbers show up in location extensions.  Google warns tough that it might impact ad impression negatively (and in turn calls).  A reason that was listed for opting out of this form is – “I want detailed call reporting and the ability to track conversions from these phone calls.”

According to a Google spokesperson, AdWords is actively exploring conversion tracking on location-specific phone numbers.  Until this eventually happens, advertisers that aren’t equipped to have calls come to individual locations, don’t want to lose conversion tracking or have other reasons they aren’t wanting to pay to have calls coming to individual locations, they’ll find themselves between a rock and a hard place until January 19.

Below is the email that was sent out Thursday by Google:

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