Google AdWords: Call Metrics now widely available- On Tuesday, Google made  Call Metrics widely available to marketers in the US and Canada. Availability of Call Metrics has been limited since the service was first release in November 2010. Call Metrics enables marketers to embed toll-free forwarding numbers into their Google ad text. When a customer clicks on the number, Google automatically registers the call and connects the customers directly to the business. In addition to making Call Metrics widely available, Google also released the following updates to the service:
- More detailed reporting. In March we enhanced Call Metrics reporting  to show the time, duration, and caller area code for each call. Based on advertiser feedback, we’re now making reporting available at the ad group and campaign level for manually-dialed calls (subject to minimum volume). And you’ll still be able to segment reports to compare how many calls were received from mobile clicks-to-call and how many were manually dialed after the ad was shown on a desktop, notebook, or tablet computer.
- New pricing for certain calls. A $1 USD (or equivalent in CAD) charge applies to manually dialed calls completed to your Google forwarding numbers. These calls occur when a potential customer on a desktop, notebook or tablet computer sees your ad and dials the number shown. Pricing for mobile clicks-to-call remains unchanged, whether you use Call Metrics or not. They continue to be charged as regular mobile search ad clicks.
- Call Extensions replace Phone Extensions. To reduce possible ambiguity, we’ve renamed Phone Extensions to Call Extensions.
Google AdWords: Top vs. Side Ad Performance Segmentation- (Google actually introduced  this new “Top vs. Side” report segment last week, but I seemed to have missed it and wanted to include it in this week’s news stories.) The new “Top vs. Side” report enables marketers to view how their ads perform above and to the side of Google search results. Insight into ad position performance and its relationship to clicks and conversions will better enable marketers to optimize their paid search campaigns.
Microsoft 2011 Earnings- Microsoft released  its fiscal Q4 and full year revenue report yesterday. Up 8.5 percent from 2010, Microsoft reported $17.37 billion in revenue. Bing and MSN properties were up 17% to $622 million for the year, but operating losses of $728 million. In a press release on search and online advertising, Microsoft reported:
Search revenue grew due to increased volumes reflecting general market growth, relative share gains in the U.S, and our Yahoo! alliance, offset in part by decreased revenue per search primarily related to challenges associated with optimizing the adCenter platform for the new mix and volume of traffic from the combined Yahoo! and Bing properties. As of June 30, 2011, according to third-party sources, Bing organic U.S. market share grew over 31% to approximately 14%, while Bing-powered U.S. market share, including Yahoo! properties, was approximately 27%.
Google Labs is closed- Google announced  on Tuesday the upcoming closure of Google Labs. Google Labs has served as an experimental laboratory where several now popular Google products were born. In its announcement, Google states that the decision to close Google Labs is part of a plan to focus more energy on product development, “While we’ve learned a huge amount by launching very early prototypes in Labs, we believe that greater focus is crucial if we’re to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead.”
Google Tests AdWords Credit Card for small business advertisers- Google is reportedly testing its own credit card as part of an effort to attract more small business customers. According  to a Google spokesperson, “We are beta testing the AdWords Business credit card with a small group of our U.S.-based advertisers. AdWords is a tremendous driver of growth for small businesses, so we think it makes sense to give them a more attractive way to pay for AdWords.”
Blogs to check out:
- Google Plus’ Antisocial Mobile Strategy- Tim Carmondy from Wired.com  loves Google Plus, but has several criticisms about the new mobile product.
- Google Adds URL Parameter Options to Google Webmaster Tools- Vanessa Fox from Search Engine Land  discusses an improvement in Google’s URL parameter options in Google Webmaster Tools, which enables site owners to determine the relationship between parameter changes and page content.
- How Does Google Make the Big Bucks? An Infographic Answer- Ryan Singel from Wired.com  posted a fun infographic earlier this week that looks at the Top-20 most expensive keywords in Google AdWords.
- The Week We Searched For- May 11, 2012  - May 11, 2012
- Interview with Cassandra Caswell-Stirling  - May 10, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 30-May 2, 2012  - May 4, 2012
- eRetailers Winning Customers at the Zero Moment of Truth  - May 3, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 20, 2012  - April 20, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 13, 2012  - April 13, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 6, 2012  - April 6, 2012
- An Interview with Erik Freeman  - April 5, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 2, 2012  - April 2, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- March 23, 2012  - March 23, 2012