In late January, Google launched a new pay-per-call program for mobile advertisers. It emphasized the opportunity for local advertisers that are more interested in driving phone calls than clicks (or those equally interested in both).
Today it expands the program to focus on national advertisers as well. From the Google Mobile Blog:
This can be especially helpful when you’re trying to connect with the business call center rather than a specific business location. After searching for a travel services, for example, you might want to call to discuss trip planning with an agent. Or after searching for car insurance, you might want to call for a quote. Now, if you’re using an iPhone, Android device, or Palm Pre, you can just click the phone number to call the business without needing to navigate to a new page.
Google Product Manager Surojit Chatterjee (author of the above post) told me recently that calls will be priced the same as clicks from these text ads. This translates to a bargain for advertisers interested in driving calls specifically — where premiums are often applied. See more from Chatterjee and our past coverage here and here.