The full version of AdWords has included the ability to track phone calls generated from ads for two years. TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois reports that, beginning last week, AdWords Express, a simplified version for small businesses, included that option as well.
Call reporting is similar to reporting on clicks your ad generates. For every consumer that uses your ad to contact you, Google tracks and stores that information so you can see how effective the complete performance of your ad has been.
Google actually routes these calls through their own toll-free number, using Google Voice technology, and then forwards them on to your business. This way, they can track the calls and charge your AdWords account the same way they do for each click.
Google has hinted that they will accept bids for higher cost-per-call ads, which would get those ads higher placement, but that option has not yet been made a reality.