Call more businesses from Google on your smartphone

Google expands its click-to-call program for mobile advertisers, now letting them post national numbers in addition to local digits.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read
Click-to-call on Google's mobile site

A tiny tweak to search results in Google's mobile site could help some users, and proves once again that advertising is Google's core business at least as much as search itself.

Starting Tuesday, Google.com users on the iPhone, Palm Pre, and Android smartphones may notice that they can click a phone number in a sponsored ad to call an advertiser's national phone number. Back in January, Google first allowed advertisers to display their local phone numbers as an extra line of ad text. This new change allows ads to carry national numbers in addition to those local digits.

Google noted in an earlier post that visitors click more often on sponsored results containing phone numbers than they do on advertiser links leading to a Web site. Advertisers wind up paying Google the same amount per each click to a phone number as they do for clicks leading to Web sites. But if displaying phone numbers means users click a sponsored search result more often, the better it is for Google's bottom line.

Google and the advertiser aren't the only ones to benefit. As a user, if the purpose of your search is to find a phone number anyway, seeing that number floating at the top of the screen could bring you to your goal faster than wading around mobile Web sites or third-party apps in search of those digits. And if seeing the advertiser's number isn't personally useful (as we guess it won't be most of the time), never mind. It's just one more line of text to gloss over when reviewing your search results.