We’ve written before about the benefits of AdWords call-only ads and call extensions. These ad types are perfect for driving calls to local businesses, but only when prospects are actively searching for relevant keywords in Google.
Although, what about potential customers who aren’t actively conducting searches on Google? People who are killing time by scrolling through social media feeds at home or at a coffee shop. These people may be interested in finding somewhere to go, something to do, or something to buy—even if they’re not actively searching for options.
Come through Facebook click-to-call ads.
Facebook’s solution for local advertising gets your business and promotions in front of passive audiences, boosting awareness and driving phone calls.
What Are Facebook Click-to-Call Ads?
Catering to businesses with local customers, such as restaurants, attractions, and services. Facebook offers a special type of local awareness ads. These ads display in people’s newsfeeds when they’re near one of your business’ locations.
Unlike general Facebook ads with a call-to-action that links to a website, local awareness ads have more specific CTAs: “Get Directions,” and “Call Now.”
Facebook click-to-call ads display the “Call Now” button. When users click it, it opens the dial pad on their phones with your business’ number pre-populated.
Example Use Cases for Click-to-Call Ads
Why bother promoting phone calls in an age where all of the information prospects need is at their fingertips? Well, research has shown that increased mobile adoption has led to “an explosion of phone calls.”
People want information instantly. The fastest way to get that information is to call and ask.
Let’s say one of your clients is a fine dining establishment that requires reservations. A potential customer is scrolling through his Facebook feed while waiting for the workday to end, and he sees an ad for your client’s restaurant.
Sure, he might be willing to go through a long online reservation process, but it’s more likely he’ll want to just call and take care of it quickly.
Or maybe that same person wants to get their oil changed on the way home from work. He sees a Facebook ad promoting a big discount on oil changes at your client’s auto servicing business, but he wants to call and make sure there’s an opening on the schedule that evening.
Click-to-call ads also work well for clients with tourist-attraction businesses. Say a woman is sitting in her hotel room, waiting for her husband to finish showering, and filling her time looking on Facebook.
She sees an ad for your client’s local attraction and is interested, so she clicks to call and gets all of the information she needs to add that attraction to the day’s itinerary.
Facebook click-to-call ads can promote general business information, sales, and promotions.
They can be targeted to detailed personas and may display to people within a certain distance (ex: within a mile) or your client’s business.
How to Create a Click-to-Call Ad on Facebook
To create your first Facebook click-to-call ad, follow the instructions below.
1. Navigate to Facebook’s Ads Manager dashboard.
2. Select “Reach” in the “Awareness” column.
3. Scroll down, give your campaign a name, and click the “Continue” button.
4. Select the page for the business you’re creating the ad for, and set your targeting options as you would for any ad for that business.
5. Scroll down to the “Placements” section, and select “Edit Placements.”
6. Under “Device Types,” select “Mobile Only.” Since you’re building a click-to-call ad, there’s not much value in having the ad display to people using desktop computers.
7. Set your budgeting and scheduling options for the ad, then click “Continue.”
8. Create your ad using whatever text, images, etc. are important for the messaging.
9. When the ad is complete, scroll all of the ways down the page until you see the “Call to Action” drop-down. Select “Call Now,” and enter the business’ phone number in the box that populates below the drop-down.
Review your ad and make sure everything displays as desired, then click the confirm button to begin running your new click-to-call ad.
Call Tracking for Click-to-Call Ads
Now that your click-to-call ad is up and running, you need a way to measure its effectiveness.
Facebook provides metrics on ad impressions, total spend, and how many people clicked the “Call Now” CTA.
At a glance, that seems sufficient, but these general metrics don’t tell the whole story.
When a user clicks on the “Call Now” button, it doesn’t immediately initiate a call to the business. Instead, it opens the dial pad on the user’s mobile phone with the business’ phone number pre-populated.
Facebook reports that action as a call, but there’s no guarantee that a call was actually made. The person could just as easily have backed out of the dial pad screen.
Ruler Analytics provides you with a distinct phone number you can use to track the actual number of calls your Facebook ads generate.
It also records inbound phone calls, allowing you to listen to calls generated from Facebook ad campaigns and determine how many resulted in revenue for the business.
Without an inbound call tracking system, it’s impossible to truly measure the number of leads and amount of revenue generated by Facebook click-to-call campaigns.
What you’re left with is guesswork and hopes instead of a true picture of marketing ROI.
Facebook Click-to-Call Ad Campaign Best Practices
When creating click-to-call ad campaigns on Facebook, there are a few best practices you should keep in mind:
- Target the right prospects. Take advantage of Facebook’s detailed targeting capabilities to display ads to your ideal customers. Also, make sure to utilize location targeting to get your ads in front of people who are near the business you’re promoting.
- Schedule ads to run at prime times. To do this, you’ll need to establish an ad lifetime budget rather than a daily budget. However, being able to narrow the window when your ads display, such as displaying a restaurant ad a couple of hours before dinner, will help you reach people in the moment that they’re seeking your services.
- Test multiple versions of ads. Does including an image encourage or discourage more clicks on your call button? What about including a video instead of an image? The only way to find out which versions of your ads generate the most impressions, clicks and calls is to test multiple versions and discover the top performers
However, the best practice of all is making sure you’re tracking the outcomes of your click-to-call ads. Use a call tracking platform to determine exactly how many calls and how much revenue the ads are generating.
Maybe click-to-call ads are much more effective than your other campaigns, and you should funnel more budget to that campaign type. Or maybe they don’t perform well at all and should be discontinued. The only way to find out is to track the calls and measure their performance.
Even in This Digital Age, Calls Are Still Crucial
As a digital marketer, it’s easy to immerse yourself in mobile apps, digital content, and social media – forgetting the more analogue means of marketing a business. Even old-school methods of communication like phone calls have their merit in an instant-information-seeking society.
In truth, making a call is often much simpler than navigating and searching through a website, especially on a mobile device where typing is less convenient and time is often limited. For this reason, local businesses have a lot to gain by encouraging customers to call instead of click. With Facebook click-to-call ads, you can do just that.