In March 2013, Search Engine Land reported a Google announcement stating that in April of that year they would begin disapproving Adwords ads with phone numbers in the text. The change meant that any advertisers who wanted phone numbers displayed would have to use the call extensions feature instead, and this is how it works now. Regarding the matter, Google said that “We are making this change to foster a safer, more consistent user experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.” Since advertisers are charged click fees when users click on the ‘call’ button in the ads (available on smartphones only), the change also means that Google can now charge for mobile ad engagements.
Now, a year and a half on, Search Engine Land have reported the Bing Ads announcement stating that they will also be removing phone numbers from PPC Ad Copy. This change means that, beginning in February 2015, phone numbers will only be allowed on Ads with Call Extensions or Location Extensions.
A blog post from Bing said that the alterations are due to “a change in our editorial policies”. They also state that the change only affects new campaigns and that existing campaigns will not be affected until June 2015. Bing warn, however, that even small changes that have nothing to do with the phone number, such as the correction of an error, may result in the Ad being disallowed due to the policy change. It might be best, therefore, to make any changes and check for errors now before the change is implemented.
Currently, this change in policy only affects the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Taiwan, so it is advertisers in these countries that need to act now. That being said, advertisers in other countries should also update their ads accordingly, as it is likely that this change will begin to affect other countries soon too.