Google Gives Developers Click-to-Call Ad Option

The Google vs. Apple battle for mobile dominance is being waged on many fronts, with each providing ways for developers to monetize their applications.
Now, Google is adding a new option for developers: click-to-call ads that appear within apps running on smartphones. Google said the placements would run on both Android-powered handsets and iPhones — if Apple doesn’t block them, as it recently hinted in a terms-of-services change. Google and Apple are vying for the attention of developers by offering not only platforms for reaching large numbers of mobile phone users, but also options for making money — including through advertising.
With click-to-call functionality, users tap mobile banner ads to initiate calls to local businesses. Google is selling the ads to both national advertisers like Progressive Insurance and local outlets such as Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches.
The move comes on the heels of Apple unveiling its iAds format, which caters to brand advertisers with high-quality units that run on iPhones and iPads. Google is taking a different approach by betting on the scale of its ad platform — it has hundreds of thousands of advertisers — and a wide variety of formats that support both branding and direct response.
Google runs standard mobile banners and is testing in the U.S. expandable ads that display video, maps and images within applications. It also has DoubleClick Mobile, which lets app developers serve their own ads, including interstitals and videos.
“We see that advertisers have many different goals,” said Surojit Chatterjee, senior product manager for mobile ads at Google. “Even the same advertiser can have different goals for the same product line. It’s not a cookie-cutter approach.”
Google is also offering click-to-call ads for mobile sites through the Google Content network. Google rolled out click-to-call ads for mobile search in January. Chatterjee said some advertisers have seen up to 30 percent increases in clicks by using ads with a calling option.