Hand holding red phone

The call tracking market is, admittedly, a tad confusing. The main problem is that not all call tracking is equal. Far from it. Here we’ll guide you through the three main types of call tracking software solutions out there, highlight some key differences and consider what this all means for you and your business. And if you already have call tracking in place, find out how you might not be getting the most out of it.

1. Campaign-level call tracking

The most basic form of call tracking for marketers, with campaign-level tracking a business buys a certain amount of telephone numbers and then assigns each ‘static’ number to a specific campaign to be used for online and offline campaigns. 

This call tracking system is limited; to get a detailed view of call source across multiple campaigns and channels you’ll need a lot of phone numbers. Plus, if you’re spending a high percentage of your marketing budget on AdWords – it’s worth pointing out that you will only ever know that a call has come from PPC – you won’t get granular keyword details.

Beware of the cookie monster

Most static number services drop cookies for 30 days only; so beware of the cookie monster. If your sales cycle is longer than this 30-day period, and your campaigns are in play for longer than that, it probably won’t be the best solution for you.

Last click attribution

Perhaps the biggest issue for campaign-level call tracking is attribution. When someone calls, the campaign is simply attributed to the number they’ve called. Let’s say someone clicks through from a PPC ad, looks at the website and then goes away. They come back to your website a day later having typed in your company name. Whilst visiting your site, they call and make a purchase from your company using the number on your website. Your data will attribute the conversion to ‘Direct’. This is called ‘last click attribution’. The reality is, it was the PPC ad that converted; that’s why tracking the customer journey gives far more accurate campaign performance.

2. Google call conversion tracking

Next up is Google’s very own call conversion tracking tool. Free with AdWords, you can use Google forwarding numbers on both PPC ads and your website. This enables you to track calls back to campaigns, ads and keywords. This is all great, if your marketing effort is focused solely on Google PPC. And Google being Google, you can’t track calls generated from any other marketing channels – including BING PPC, Yahoo! PPC, display ads and SEO. And while Google may dominate the search market, Bing is rapidly gaining ground, with a 21% market share in the USA.

Missed opportunities

It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that most of your inbound is being driven by PPC. ResponseTap Intel shows that just 20% of calls are generated by PPC. So, if you’re only tracking PPC calls, you’re at risk of mis-attributing revenue and most definitely won’t maximize the real value of all your marketing channels.

Again, beware of the cookie monster as Google cookies last for just 30 days. So, if your sales cycle runs beyond this, there’s a danger you’re going to miss out on attribution data.

3. Call Intelligence

The new whizz kid on the visitor-level call tracking block, Call Intelligence connects the entire online customer journey, meaning phone calls can start where the online journey left off. Call Intelligence, and its level of prescriptive analytics, gives you the missing piece of data and insight that can inform marketing spend and make call centers more efficient and in tune with what customers are doing in real-time. With this wealth of knowledge about your customers at your fingertips, Call Intelligence is making the predicting of customer actions a reality.  

The full picture

Dynamic number insertion with Call Intelligence means every web visitor is allocated their own phone number which appears on your website each time they visit. The number is unique to the individual, not to a campaign, ad or keyword. The benefits of this are considerable. As soon as someone lands on your website, you can trace all subsequent visits and calls back to that initial visit; you can see the whole customer journey. First click, right through to last click and every click in between. So, if someone clicks through to your website from a PPC ad, leaves, comes back two days later via a social campaign and then calls from the number uniquely displayed to them on your website, the call will be attributed to both the PPC ad as the first click and the social campaign as the last click. If they visited numerous times in between, those visits would also be tracked.

In fact, with ResponseTap, because we pass our call data into Google Analytics and other 3rd party platforms such as bid management tools, it’s still possible to attribute calls to specific keywords and manage those bids accordingly.

Beating the cookie monster

At ResponseTap, we maintain our cookies for 12 months. This means that you don’t have to worry about longer sales cycles and customer journeys; we capture it all.

Visitor-level call tracking combined with static campaign numbers ensure you get the full breadth of tracking for both online and offline campaigns. You don’t have to buy static numbers; you simply set them up within your dashboard and assign them to your offline campaigns. We can even supply easy to remember vanity numbers for use on TV, radio and outdoor campaigns. Social campaigns and emails can be tracked with UTM codes; as soon as someone clicks through they are served a dynamic phone number and any call is associated to the social asset.

The real value of calls

Call outcome and value are vital for the marketer to understand campaign performance and in turn plan and optimize for future campaigns. ResponseTap has a number of ways to capture call outcome including our call outcome API, direct integration into contact center software, such as salesforce, and post-call IVR.

To conclude, you may think you have ticked the call tracking box and it’s a done deal. The reality is you might only be tracking 20% of activity. You might only be attributing to last click, meaning you might never know the actual outcome of the call.

We would love to show you around our Call Intelligence platform. Why not book a demo now and make every call really count.