If you run Google Ads on search results, you should be using “call extensions” – the opportunity to have your phone number included with the advert, which will be ‘click-to-call’ on suitable devices such as mobile phones. This is a harmless option with no down side, and we’ve actually been quite surprised at how many times calls are made this way, straight from the advert.
Not so fast. In what would be one of those daft moves which show how removed companies like Google are from the real commercial world, it’s been reported that Google has started recording a small percentage of phone calls that are initiated by call-only ads or call extensions in the US, with the usual excuse that it’s “to improve call quality for users and advertisers”. If this is true, according to one report “when a user initiates a call from a call-only ad or call extension they will hear a short message informing them that the call may be recorded by Google for quality assurance”.
I’m sure this probably only applies to certain types of potentially controversial or fraudulent advertising. But even a remote prospect that callers to your company might get a message like that before being put through would, I’m sure, have you running for the hills.
Apparently, as advertisers, if this applies to us, we will have to agree to it in order to use call extensions, so obviously we’d opt out of those extensions. Our clients needn’t worry – we wouldn’t touch this with a barge pole.