A recent article from The SEM Post brought to our attention that the AdWords call forwarding extension may be lacking. The thing that it’s lacking? Accuracy. According to the SEM Post article, your calls may be forwarding to other phone numbers than yours.
Google offers a free tracking phone number to AdWords users that use Call Extensions, and the forwarding number not only forwards to a phone number of your choice, it also helps you track calls that come from your ads. Additionally, using the Google provided number allows you to look at things like when calls come in, how long they last and other details that may help you with your advertising efforts.
One business in particular noticed that their calls were going to a young girl’s phone – not their business’s number. According to the company, thousands of dollars were spent on calls that went to a probably very confused and eventually annoyed young lady. (Note that this is per the company, there’s no way to tell if legitimate clicks were involved or if all calls went to the wrong location from the information provided. The account was eventually credited.)
What made the issue difficult to explain was that a business’ number isn’t the one that displays on ads when call forwarding is in use. Instead, it’s whatever forwarding number has been assigned to you by Google, so when the business attempted to report the forwarding issue, Google representatives assumed the issue was simply a lack of understanding on the part of the business.
Google eventually cottoned on to the fact that they were the screw ups and stated that they would fix the issue. It was resolved, but it’s unclear if others are or were affected by this bug, and with Google’s enormous customer base, I find it hard to believe it was a singularity.
The moral of this story is that if you think something hinky is going on with your AdWords account, check it out. In this instance, it’s just a matter of placing a call to your forwarding number and making sure it doesn’t keep forwarding past you to another person. If you find a problem, report it to Google immediately. Even if you end up with a refund, don’t waste time that could be going to making your ad dollars work for you.
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