Bing has just announced that it will soon stop displaying phone numbers in plain text. The announcement comes as part of a change to its editorial policy. Currently, phone numbers are displayed in Call Extensions and Location Extensions, as well as directly inside advertisements in the title, body and URL as well as in other extensions. To begin with, Bing will no longer allow new advertisements to be created with phone numbers located inside the ad in plain text format. Advertisers who want to display phone numbers will need to put them in a call extension or in a location extension. Existing advertisements that have plain text phone numbers will remain operational and will not be affected by the new rules until June. However, advertisers who have active plain text ads and want to leave them running must not make any changes to the ads between now and June. If they attempt to make any update to the ad, even something as simple as correcting a typographical error, then the new policy checks will be applied and they will be forced to remove their phone number. The new rules will go into effect in February, and will apply to advertisers in the UK, USA, Hong Kong and Taiwan. There are plans to roll the ads out to other markets at a later date. Albert Wang, Bing Ads Global Policy Manager, recommends that advertisers update their ads as soon as possible to use Call Extensions. This extension makes phone numbers clickable, so that consumers can call advertisers directly from within the search results. This is a small change but it is one that should, in theory, greatly improve the response rate to advertisements. Another benefit of the Call Extension is that it makes it easier for an advertiser to track cross-channel responses, so they can tell whether or not their campaigns are working. Of course, Bing will benefit each time a consumer clicks to call an advertisement, because this will count as an engagement with the ad. It is easy for advertisers to feel a little cynical at the thought of the editorial policies being tightened in a way that helps Bing to charge for more forms of engagement. However, companies that are already using call extensions do report improvements in the performance of their campaigns, so Bing is helping advertisers by tightening up their editorial standards.