Data has the potential to be one of the best marketing resources at your disposal … as long as the data is good. Without data and reporting, it’s impossible to know if a PPC campaign is performing well or just burning off money with each untargeted click.
With the right data, you can create and refine campaigns that are effective and repeatable to help you hit your goals while scraping campaigns that underperform.
GreenPal used data to better understand local market segments and create highly targeted ads for price-sensitive customers.
As a result, theysaw a 200% lift in click-through rates and a 30% lift in on-page conversions.
Companies use data like this every day to improve their PPC campaigns, and they pull that data from a variety of sources. Your Google Analytics, or similar analytics platform, can provide a wealth of details about the people landing on your side and how they found you on the web.
But what about when those customers come to you via phone?
PPC call tracking can help you merge data from phone campaigns with your existing metrics to help you make informed decisions and continually improve the campaigns you budget for.
How PPC Call Tracking Works
When you configure call tracking, you purchase one or more numbers that will forward to your business line. These can be local or toll-free numbers, depending on the provider you use. You can purchase as many tracking numbers as you like, giving you a unique number for each PPC campaign or landing page to make tracking that much easier.
Those numbers can be displayed directly in your PPC ads and other locations, as you see fit. You can also set up dynamic number insertion on your website as part of your PPC campaign strategy.
Dynamic number insertion uses a simple script on your website to change the listed phone number seen by visitors. The number is chosen from a bank of numbers and will display them based on specific triggers, such as:
Point of entry or landing page on a site
Referral point or a specific PPC ad
This is all accomplished using a call tracking platform. For virtually every provider, your numbers are handled digitally with no hardware setup required, so PPC call tracking can be set up in minutes.
The Benefits of PPC Call Tracking
Driving traffic to call you might seem archaic, with all the digital automation we have at our disposal, but the telephone is one of the most effective means of closing business with new customers. While email is the most preferred channel for receiving marketing updates …
… customers often want to connect person to person when they have questions and are actively looking for information.
Consider these stats shared by HubSpot:
19% of customers want to connect with a salesperson during the awareness stage of the buying process.
With the volume of customers pushing to make direct contact, you want to capture as much data as possible when using call extensions in your ads.
PPC call tracking data provides a number of benefits.
Tracking sources – Call tracking platforms like CallRail typically provide the source of the call so you can trace the customer back to the campaign where they originated without having to ask “How did you hear about us?” This is useful when you’re running multiple PPC campaigns and/or spreading campaigns across multiple search networks like Google and Bing.
Split testing – If you’re split testing landing page variations to improve conversions, a unique number assigned to each page or displayed dynamically based on preset factors can help you determine which variation is bringing in more calls.
Call data – Reporting gives you numbers to help refine your campaign planning, like peak call hours and the total number of calls on a day-to-day basis. Use the info to improve your ad targeting and the times your ads are running.
Wordstream shares how call tracking data is reported, which includes the keyword data related to the call traffic.
Keyword data – Call tracking also tips you off to the keywords that triggered your PPC ad so you can adjust your bidding and targeting to go after the keywords bringing you the calls with the highest value.
Overall campaign performance – Reliably tracking the number of conversions you received for each campaign is gold. With accurate conversion metrics, you can put a dollar figure on every campaign and improve future campaign performance while making smarter choices about where you invest your budget.
What to Look For in a Call Tracking Provider
There’s no shortage of companies providing call tracking for your PPC and marketing campaigns. While each platform will have its own unique offering, there are some universal features you’ll want to look for.
At the top of the list is dynamic call tracking, which I covered above. This is a must if you want the most granular call data for your campaigns.
Platform integration – The raw data from a call tracking platform is nice—but it’s far more helpful when you can integrate it with your analytics. Look for a provider that will tie into Google Analytics and AdWords so you can create goals for tracking those calls as campaign conversions.
Tracking via keywords – You should be tracking your call conversion by keywords, as well, so you know what search terms people are using to find you. The keyword data is provided right down to the individual call.
This can be configured via keyword parameters within your AdWords, and it works just like any other UTM parameter.
Call duration – Not every phone call from your PPC campaigns will convert. That’s just the nature of business. You don’t want phone disconnects, hang-ups, and short calls that never turn into customers clouding your conversion metrics.
Make sure there’s integration in place so you can tie your call duration data from your tracking provider into your Google Analytics. This way, only calls exceeding a minimum duration are counted as a viable conversion in your goals.
Call recording – The presence of call recording isn’t really the issue; you’ll find it with virtually every call tracking provider. What you want to focus on is the length of the recordings, as well as any information you can find about the quality of those recordings.
Monitoring calls provides tremendous insight into the customer’s journey, and it’s worth reviewing those recordings for a number of reasons:
Determine why customers hang up quickly—maybe there’s a disconnect between the PPC ad and customer expectation.
Look into lengthy calls to discover trends that halt conversion.
Monitor individual team member performance and service.
Identify frequent customer concerns, questions, or points that can be leveraged in PPC ads and landing pages.
Tracking by source – Not all platforms offer tracking by keyword, like Facebook ads which are driven by social engagement, interests, and demographics rather than keyword use. For PPC call tracking without keyword identification, it helps to be able to tie phone numbers to a specific source—for example, having a bank of multiple numbers with specific numbers used in individual Facebook ad campaigns.
This is a smart option for platforms like Instagram where link placement is limited but you can add phone calls-to-action to your Facebook and Instagram ads. Tracking those types of ad response, in addition to the existing social insights and ad performance metrics, makes it easy to determine which ads are effective and how much the leads from sources like social media actually cost you.
Tips to Effectively Deploy PPC Call Tracking
Customer leads are important, and, if any part of your business model involves customer acquisition over the phone, then you need to do more than just deploy ads with trackable numbers. If you’re tracking every call equally, you won’t get a true understanding of how effective your campaigns are.
See my above points about call duration, for example.
Not all prospective customers are equal. Only about25% of leads are legitimate and can be qualified. Of those,roughly half of those leads aren’t immediately ready to make a purchase. With careful execution and a little strategy, you can deploy PPC call tracking in a way that best serves your target audience while using the data to make operational improvements.
Here are some additional ideas you should consider when setting up PPC call tracking:
Local numbers improve conversions when customers think you’re more local than your competitors.
Pay attention to which keywords, ads, and landing pages work best together as you split test so you’re bringing in the highest quality calls. Always be testing!
If using call extensions on your ads, create dedicated phone numbers for each and every ad to closely monitor campaign performance.
Don’t route calls to the same place. Send calls from specific numbers or campaigns to the people who are best equipped to successfully sell and onboard those customers.
If any of your business revolves around acquiring customers and handling inbound calls for sales, you should absolutely be tracking those calls and creating unique numbers for your advertising campaigns. It’s the only way to know, with accuracy, which campaigns are successfully generating the most revenue.
Take the time to consider the types of campaigns you run—and your audience—to determine what options you’ll need in a call tracking provider. Knowing your needs beforehand will make it much easier to choose a platform for call tracking.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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