Will Google Overwrite Your Call Extensions?

From the 19th of January, Google is changing the rules around the phone numbers that are displayed for Ads, and your numbers might be affected.

Will you be impacted and what should you do about it?

What is Google Changing About Call Extensions?

In certain circumstances, Google will replace phone numbers in call extensions by those from Google My Business pages linked to the advertisement. This is more likely to occur if the Ad is considered to be shown as part of a local search. On the contrary, if the Ad has been triggered though non-local search criteria, the phone number in the Ad Extension would be displayed.
According to Google, they are looking to harmonize the user experience between search results, local results and Google Maps results. Before the change, it was possible that searchers were presented with different phone numbers for the same business. This case is shown in the image below.

Call Extensions and Google My Business number inconsistencies

NOTE: Google has stated that there will be no change to Call Extension volume. Hence statistics should remain the same, that’s to say that if they would have displayed a call extension, it will be credited with the display even if the number shown came from the Google My Business page.

Who will be impacted?

Businesses that have a Google My Business page and call extensions with different phone numbers will be the most heavily impacted.

There might be several good reasons why you’d have differing phone numbers, particularly if you have a third-party call tracking system in place. Hence, if you experience an increase in Google My Business phone number calls it might be due to the number being displayed in ads rather than in organic traffic to the page.

What should you do?

The first question to ask is whether or not you have locations with Google My Business pages attached to them. In fact, it’s a really good moment to ask whether you have pages missing from your locations and campaigns.

Google My Business pages are important for businesses that have a fixed local presence because it can potentially help the business appear in the local search box and in Google maps results. Yet, a Google My Business page is not enough, you also need to make sure it’s filled out with accurate and up to date information. You can complete your Google My Business pages here.

Of course, if you are using third-party call tracking, make sure you put a tracking number on your Google My Business account or your calls will not be measured!

If you have an existing Google My Business page, visit it now to make sure it’s up to date and the phone number is still correct. If it’s not, now’s the time to make the update.

Google My Business pages then need to be attached to ads through Location Ad Extensions or via the Distance Targeting settings for the campaign. With Acquisio, AdExtensions can be managed through the AdExtensions tab and Distance Targeting on the campaign level can be set from the Campaign level settings tab (click “Geo Targeting” and then “Advanced Search” as shown below).

Applying Distance Targeting with Acquisio


Google is making changes to how local business searches are displayed to searchers to make them more consistent. This is a great moment to double check that your or your client’s campaigns 1) have Google My Business set-up 2) that the information is accurate and 3) that call tracking is correctly applied!

Richard Beck

Richard Beck

Acquisio's AdPlatform Product Manager, Richard has over 10 years experience in digital Product Management and Marketing across various industries in multiple countries. Prior to working at Acquisio he brought innovation to Yellow Pages Canada, Aptilon and StepStone SA.

The First Machine Learning Marketing Platform
Built to Scale Search for Local Resellers & Agencies

Automate, optimize and track more campaigns, more profitably.