Google has been off-and-on over the years about this issue, but now that Adwords Call Extensions are available to everyone, they’ve been warning advertisers that any ads containing phone numbers will be disabled in the next few weeks.
If you’ve been using phone numbers in your ad copy, now would be a good time to read up on using call extensions.
Personally I am happy to see this definitively answered, with a real solution from Google. I haven’t found much to argue with in the call extensions feature, but would like to hear from advertisers who have. The only way we get bad things fixed is by getting everyone to bark loudly and in unison.
Google has been doing a lot of cleanup in the Adwords system, and this is just another one of those things that had to be resolved.
By the way, if you do so much business by phone that you felt a need to put a phone number in your ads, you almost certainly want to dive deeply into the improved capabilities of call extensions within the new Enhanced Campaigns. Tracking conversions is a good thing – the #1 advantage of online advertising is how well we can measure the effectiveness of our efforts.
UPDATE: My thanks to Adwords professional/consultant David Rothwell for pointing out this page, which clarifies that ads will be disabled in July, and that “in the next few weeks” is when it will no longer be possible to create ads with phone numbers.