The Evolution of Call Tracking for the Advanced User

Traditionally, there’s been a major flaw in PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns: There’s no way to measure the phone calls that resulted from ads, meaning a company could have an AdWords campaign running that is driving in hundreds of clicks but aren’t resulting in any offline (i.e. phone) conversations. Enter call tracking.

The demand for call tracking and call reporting has led to the birth of marketing agencies that offer call tracking solutions in addition to extensions to search engines like Google Voice’s Call Forwarding and Google’s Advanced Call Reporting. These “extensions” are what we would refer to as “advanced” forms of call tracking approaches, but it’s important to take a closer gander at what some of these are really all about.

When Google Voice launched its call forwarding option a few years back, it came fully loaded and boasted the capabilities of:

  • Porting numbers
  • Transcribing voice mails
  • Ringing to one phone or six
  • Personalized greetings
  • Call schedules
  • Free calling (non-international)

Advanced call reporting for ad extensions is Google’s newest baby, boasting the capability of reporting on the call you receive through call extensions, offering basic details like:

  • Start time and end time
  • Call area code
  • Whether call was answered or not
  • Call duration
  • Call conversions

With the release of Google’s advanced call reporting/tracking, other call tracking solutions such as those from ActiveDEMAND have been catching up by way of offering their own advanced reporting, encompassing systems that take into account:

  • The campaign the visitor came through
  • The ad group the visitor came through
  • The source of the call (Google, Bing, paid, organic, social, offline, etc.)
  • The medium the visitor came through
  • The keyword he/she used
  • The ad match type
  • The ad he/she clicked on
  • The ad position
  • The user’s IP address
  • The numbers the viewer was able to see
  • The landing page he/she came in on
  • The last recorded URL he/she was on before he/she placed the call

Advanced call attribution solutions focus on improving marketers’ call tracking success, helping to capture a more “complete picture” of campaign results across a variety of attribution scenarios while using the resulting call analytics to improve campaigns and overall lead generation quality. Phone calls are a key offline consumer ad response, with some 60-percent of mobile conversions occurring offline.

While mobile ad formats present a high degree of trackability via clicks, calls to mobile ads should be tracked as calls. Marketers that only track clicks on a call button don’t boast insight beyond simple click counts… but advanced call tracking solutions such as mobile tracking capture accurate call-through rates from all mobile ad programs – both search and display.