Call extensions are not new. Call extensions add credibility to ads and brands, even if the user never dials the number, by simply giving them the ability to speak to a live person to ask questions and verify information. To track the activity around call extensions, Google shows a “Google Forwarding Number”, that is different than the actual business number, to identify calls generated from ads vs. other sources. However, until now, those forwarding numbers always appeared as 800 numbers.

Starting in November, in most areas, any business number that includes a regional code, will also appear as a local number when using Google Forwarding. For example, if the Atlanta business number you included when setting up call extensions begins with the 404 area code, when you’re ad is viewed, your Google forwarding call extension will also begin with 404 or another regional area code such as 770. In the event a local phone number is not available to use, an 800# will still appear.

This feature will take effect next month and no changes are required in AdWords accounts. However, if you do not want a local number to appear, you will need to provide an 800 number as the input for the call extension, rather than a local number.

Additional information on local forwarding numbers can be found on Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.