Google Ads Call Tracking


Call tracking is probably one of the most complicated macro conversions on the website. Moreover, in the service-providing industry, it is often the most valuable event because a person who calls is usually more likely to convert to a customer. And, from my experience, if you are providing services in the B2C market, the call share in the total number of conversions may be around 50%. Thus, not tracking calls may wipe out all campaign optimization efforts. In this article I’m going to cover up how to set up PPC call tracking in Google Ads (ex Google AdWords).

How Does It Work

Generally, call tracking is based on assigning multiple numbers to different marketing channels. There are two global approaches when it comes to tracking calls:

  1. static call tracking — when you have a specific number tied to a source or medium.
  2. dynamic call tracking — when you have a phone number tied to a visitor (to a browser, to be more specific).

Due to technical restrictions, first option (static call tracking) can’t be integrated with Google Ads or Google Analytics properly. Basically, static call tracking is more suitable to track phone calls from offline advertising, since it will always show the same phone number to all visitors from a particular source or medium.

Example of using call tracking number

Google Ads, like any modern third-party call tracking service, uses dynamic call tracking. Here is how it works: Google has a pool of phone numbers one of which is assigned to a user every time he sees your ad (if you are using call ads or call / location extensions) OR he enters your website after clicking the ad. Eventually, every call is redirected to your business phone number, making the phone number tracking as seamless as possible for both parties.

There are many other call tracking providers, but the best call tracking solution for Google Ads is the one that is natively supported.

How To Setup Google Ads Call Tracking

Google Ads provides three options to track calls from your campaigns:

  1. track calls from ads (call ads, call / location extension),
  2. track calls to a business number on a website,
  3. track phone number clicks.

The last one is not the best option, since a click doesn’t always lead to a call. Let’s cover up the first two options.

Keep in mind that Google tracking phone numbers aren’t available in every country. Here is a list of countries where it actually works:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Columbia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italian
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romanian
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Tracking calls from ads

To be able to track calls from ads you should click the wrench icon (Tools & Settings) and select Conversions under the Measurement section:


Then, click “New Conversion Action” and select “Phone Calls” to track calls from your ads or website. Select “Calls from ads using call extensions or call-only ads”.

Note: this selection is for the current conversion only. For tracking calls from the website another conversion should be created, I’ll cover that in the following section.

Now it’s time to customize tracking settings for the conversion:

Goal and action optimizationdefaults
Conversion nameCalls from ads
ValueDon’t use a value…
Call length60 seconds
Click-through conversion window30 days
Attribution modelLast click

Let’s have a closer look at some of the options:

  • Value. I prefer not to assign fixed values for calls. It is really very rare for all calls to have the same value for a business, so, if we don’t have an option to pass real monetary value, I prefer not to pass any value at all and to do campaign optimization based on conversion quantity solely. If you wish to see the real value of each call (or any macro conversion), I’d recommend implementing end-to-end analytics and syncing it with Google Ads.
  • Count. In most cases, you should count only one call, since only the first call has value.

Other than that, default settings should work fine. Keep in mind that any of them can be edited later. Click the “Create And Continue” button and your conversion would be created:


Now, the call reporting feature should be turned on. You can check it in call extension settings:


Tracking calls from a website

To track calls to a phone number on a website is a little more complicated. It requires two steps:

  1. create a conversion action in Google Ads (like we did in the previous section),
  2. edit the source code of the website.

Creating a conversion action


To create a conversion in Google Ads you should go to Conversions page in settings and create a new conversion action just as I showed in the previous section with one minor difference — make sure to select “Calls to a phone number on your website” in the tracking options.


Conversion options for calls from a website are quite similar with one additional section — Phone Numbers. It contains two fields:

  • Destination number and its country — all calls will be forwarded here,
  • Display number — a number that you have on your website.

Be sure to enter the display number exactly as it appears on the site, otherwise, the call tracking won’t work. If you have a phone number wrapped in a link, like <a href="tel:...">, don’t worry — both link and text would be replaced and in the next section I will cover how to debug it. Other than that, the settings are the same, so feel free to use settings from the table above.


After creating another conversion action for tracking calls from a website you will need to add tiny changes in your website’s source code to make phone number substitution work. There is a couple of options, from which I prefer using Google Tag Manager. Select it and leave the page open — you will need Conversion ID and Conversion Label.

Setting up conversion tracking in GTM

Let’s move to the GTM and create several tags. What we need to add:

  1. Google Ads Calls from Website Conversion Tag,
  2. Conversion Linker Tag.

Firstly, go to the Tag section and press the New button to create a tag. Then, press the Tag Configuration area and select Google Ads Calls from Website Conversion. You can use search to find it among the list. Now, you need to enter 3 values:

  1. display number (just as it is appearing on the website and in Google Ads Conversion settings),
  2. conversion ID,
  3. conversion label.

It’s fine to fire this tag on All Pages. Optionally you can create a new trigger for pages your phone number is displayed. But it’s not that big a deal.

The second tag we need is Conversion Linker. Let’s create it:


In case you have multiple websites linked together, make sure to mark the checkbox “Enable linking across domains” and specify your domains. Other than that, no configuration is required. Don’t forget to set the “All pages” trigger and save the tag.


That’s it, now feel free to publish your changes — you should have 2 new tags.

Debugging call tracking

After publishing your changes go to a page on your website with a phone number and add #google-wcc-debug in the end. For testing purposes, I will use my own website and here is what a link should look like: http://devrg2.local/contact#google-wcc-debug.

In the bottom left corner a panel should appear:


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