Track Calls to a Phone Number on a Website in AdWords

Unsure how to set up Google Call Tracking in AdWords? Then read on…

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For many local businesses, the most important function of their website is to drive calls from potential customers or leads.

Whilst contact forms and callback forms may have value, in a lot of companies cases, they need their phone to be ringing constantly.

If you’re already advertising on Google AdWords, you will know it’s a great way of targeting your audience, building brand awareness and selling your products or services. You may even have noticed an uplift in calls anecdotally.

However, how can you prove that your AdWords efforts are proving fruitful? How can you explain to your colleagues that the ROI is huge if you can’t track where exactly your calls are coming from?

Apart from annoyingly asking every customer the question over the phone, there is an easier way. Phone Call Conversion Tracking.

With Call Tracking in AdWords you can track calls to a phone number on a website and separate these from those who may have found your telephone number through other online sources than AdWords or even offline sources.

But I thought I was already tracking calls from AdWords?

When it comes to tracking calls to your business through AdWords, you may have heard a number of different names / methods being used: ‘Calls from Ads’, ‘Calls from Website’, ‘AdWords Call tracking’, ‘Phone Call Conversions’ etc.

It can all become a bit confusing and your idea of what it is you’re actually tracking can become foggy.

Google’s call tracking solutions all have very similar sounding names yet are very different which can lead to a lot of confusion. Let me clear it up for you.

1. Call Extensions

Call Extensions differ on mobile compared to desktop and tablet. Once setup, call extensions show as clickable buttons on mobile and will show as conversions in your account. No problem.

call tracking adwords

However, on desktop and tablet it’s possible to merely read the number on your screen and then ring from your phone, making it impossible to track. Although the obvious perk of this is that no one clicks your ad and costs you money!

phone call conversions

2. Display Ads

display calls

Display ads appear on Google’s Display Network and you may mostly recognise this type of advert when you visit a site and then see their ads follow you round the web! (Remarketing).

You can insert a phone number into the image of your display ads but, like with call extensions on desktop, it’s impossible to track.

3. Tracking Phone Calls From Your Website (What we’re focusing on)

Whether on mobile, tablet or desktop, once setup this call tracking method will give you details of every call your receive.

A lot of the time a user will want to click your AdWords ad for more information before actually committing to calling you. Once they’re satisfied they will then call the number on the screen. We want to track calls of that number. Sound impossible?

This method of tracking phone calls from AdWords is often seen a the trickiest but can actually be quite simple to implement and today I’m going to show you how…


Before setting up phone call conversion tracking you need to make sure you meet the following requirements:

Your business must be in a applicable country. This includes the UK, US, Ireland and more
At least one active Call Extension within your AdWords account. You can set this up either before or after call tracking.

Step 1 – Set Up Conversion Action

1.Begin by clicking the ‘Tools’ tab on the top nav bar and the clicking ‘Conversions’.

set up conversion action

2.Hit the red ‘+Conversion’ button and this will take you to a page with four options. Select ‘Phone Calls’

google adwords call conversions

3. Choose ‘Calls to a Google forwarding number’ from the available options and then name your action. E.g. Booking calls.

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4. Enter a value / don’t enter a value for a phone call. Consider, how much is a call worth to you?
5. Enter how long you feel is necessary for a call to be before it should count as a conversion. Is a 10 second call really long enough to seal the deal or will this mostly be spam calls?
6. Count – Will you count all calls as conversions or just those from unique users?
7. Conversion window – How long after someone has called clicked an ad and visited your site is the window where they can call the number on your site and have that deemed as a conversion?
8. Category – Is this call a lead, a sale or something else?
9. Hit Done.

call conversion window

10. Now your phone call conversion action is all setup and ready to go. You will then be taken to a page with the snippet of code that needs adding to your website.

call tacking code

Unless you a coding pro, this will be a job for your website developer. If you fancy giving it a go via Google Tag Manager (one bit of code that’s added to your website allowing you to add/remove snippets without contacting a web dev), here’s a step by step guide…

Step 2 – Install Conversion Tracking Tag

1.On the same screen, enter your phone number exactly as it appears on your website and this will generate code in the box below.

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2. Head over to and create a container. This will generate some JavaScript which you need to install the header of your site.
3. Hit ‘New Tag’ > ‘Tag Configuration’ > ‘Custom HTML’ and paste in the code that was generated previously from AdWords.

custom html

4. Select a ‘Trigger’. A Trigger is a rule that fires your conversion. In this instance we want the conversion to work on every page so select the default ‘All Pages’ option, save it and then publish it.

google tag manager setup

5. Testing. Unfortunately this can be expensive! As the rule you have set up means that the conversion only fires when you click an AdWords ad, you have to test it on your own ads! Once you’ve clicked an ad and landed on your site, if the tracking has worked the phone number in question will have changed to a unique Google forwarding number.


So that’s it! In this age of social media, emails and contact forms, it can’t be denied that for a lot of businesses, phone calls from their customers is the lifeblood of their business.

When running AdWords make sure that you’re tracking as much as you can and this includes phone calls, however impossible you may have thought it once was!

This post was written by George Bates

This post was written by George Bates

Digital Marketing Executive

George brings experience to the team from a background in SEO and content writing. Currently sailing through Adwords exams to become a more rounded digital marketer.

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