Posted 21 January 2015

The Evolution of Call Tracking and Why it Matters


Knowing what makes the phone ring is imperative for marketing teams to be able to demonstrate campaign performance. Today, attribution marketing, i.e. tracking calls back to campaigns and keywords through session-based called tracking is the base level of capability.  

This post discusses the advances in call tracking capability and how the step from session-based tracking to visitor-level call tracking can deliver huge value in terms of insight and call center metrics.

 The basics of session-based call tracking

If you are simply buying phone numbers from your call tracking provider, you are tracking sessions.

Session tracking is a great tool for counting calls generated from paid search and omnichannel campaigns, both on and offline, but it is limited. In most instances, it only tracks to the last click, so although you can see the link between last click and call – you are missing a remarkable amount of data and insight. If you are responsible for paid search and bid optimization, it’s unlikely that your decisions based on last click are truly reflective of what is actually driving calls from the outset. Ultimately, you are more likely to favor branded keywords as they have a higher tendency to appear in last click search terms.

Last click analysis can cause all sorts of data skews. Lets consider a typical customer journey for a moment.

Josh wants to take his partner to London to celebrate their anniversary in two months. He started his search with ‘romantic hotels London’, and ‘cheap flights to London’. Over the course of 2 weeks, he dips in and out of websites, travel blogs, TripAdvisor and speaks to his friends and colleagues. Having shortlisted three hotels, he begins to search for them by name, looking for the best offers and packages (e.g. ‘Love Hearts Hotel best rates’).

He finds what looks like a great deal that includes flights. The next day, armed with passports and dates, he goes online and searches ‘myfabholidays Love Hearts hotel.’ He starts to fill out the booking form, but he’s not sure about the differences in room types – so he calls the number on the site to clarify and make sure he gets a great room.

Based on session-based call tracking, the data would show that ‘myfabholidays Love Hearts hotel’ are the terms that converted. This would lead you to optimize around the last search terms that prompted a call.

The power of visitor-level call tracking

Visitor-level call tracking raises the game considerably – and is the base level for the ResponseTap platform.

The critical difference is the ability to track every click. This gives you the opportunity to identify specifically which clicks really matter and prompt calls – to clarify information, to make a purchase, speak to customer service or make a post purchase complaint.

Right from the first search term, through multiple website visits and potentially multiple calls, you can see which keywords convert and which content converts; as well as bid on keywords that drive new prospects to your site and optimize the web journey accordingly. Additionally, you can use call whisper to alert the sales/call center agent about who is calling and provide vital information about their web search to help them serve the caller more effectively; while online visitor history improves the customer experience – online and offline.

The following shows the level of influence on a customer journey that is possible by tracking every click – before, during and after a call.

It’s well known that at least 65% of research is done before any purposeful, intent driven contact is made with a brand. Which means that web visitor history is very powerful when connected directly to that point of contact. A simple phone call can give you the right information to influence a much broader experience. The following automotive scenario demonstrates the power of visitor-level call tracking beyond PPC and channel optimization.

Imagine that Josh now wants to buy an SUV. He starts looking at the brands he knows, reading reviews and researching for the best models to suit his criteria. He’s not in a hurry; but he wants to buy this year. He searches for local car dealerships and calls two different lots to make appointments to test-drive two different car brands/models.

Josh calls both lots – A and B. Lot A puts the call straight through to the SUV sales department. Instantly the sales rep can see Josh’s search history, asks a couple of questions and books the appointment. Josh goes back to both websites in the evening to check some details and show his wife the differences between the SUVs.

On the day of the appointment, Josh and Kate are welcomed. The car is ready and the conversation happens around the car. The sales rep pulls out the key features and discusses styling options and extras. Josh drives the car and likes what he experiences.

The sales rep knows they are at the beginning of their search and not ready to buy yet. He had dropped some typical financing numbers into the conversation during the test-drive to give them a ballpark idea. He agrees to call them next week.

The experience with Lot B – is very different. The call goes through to their sales reception and an appointment is made to test-drive the SUV.

Josh and Kate are welcomed at the car lot and sat down at the sales rep’s desk. He spends an hour explaining everything about the car and financing in detail. Eventually they get into the car. It’s a hard sell all the way. Josh and Kate are worn out by the experience. They go home and decide car A is a better fit for them and they are confident in the sales rep too.

Three months later, after more research and phone calls – Josh books a time to go and purchase the car.

Both sales and marketing have a clear view of Josh’s customer journey, were able to pace communications to match his level of interest and build genuine rapport. Marketing has optimized page content and PPC further and reduced CPA by nearly 50%.

The evolution of call tracking continues. The capability maturity model here – shows how much more you can do beyond just attaching individual numbers to campaigns and tracking PPC to calls.

Use the maturity model to help map what you need to track and how to influence on and offline customer experiences through insight.

RT122_Maturity model_OP2_v4_20_10_14


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