Google today launched yet another way for monetizing its new mobile and telecom efforts — charging its AdWords advertisers for clicks on phone numbers in location-specific mobile ads, essentially creating a new “pay-per-call” revenue stream to join its core business of “pay-per-click” ad impressions.
Google built a billion dollar business mainly by charging customers for clicks that Web users make on text-based ads. With its strong move into mobile advertising — driven further this week with the release of its own Nexus One phone — that pay-per-click model will start taking new forms.
Google sent out notification to its AdWords advertisers that this month your location-specific business phone number will display alongside your destination url in ads that appear on high-end mobile devices. Users will be able to click-to-call your business just as easily as they click to visit your website. You’ll be charged for clicks to call, same as you are for clicks to visit your website.
Users can already use their smartphones to click on live phone number links on their devices. What’s new is that Google will let advertisers put phone number links in their mobile ads and it will track and charge them for phone calls initiated from their ads.
It’s not clear if a click that results in a phone call will cost advertisers more than a click to display more content, but arguably it should – that’s about as solid a lead an advertiser can get in the world of pay-per-action advertising.
It also represents a very unique way in which Google can begin to monetize all of the voice traffic it is now helping to enable on phones driven from its search listings, Android OS platform and related applications and its new Nexus One device.