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There are numerous options when it comes to choosing a PPC call tracking solution. Third party providers offer all kinds of features, some of which are capable of importing tracked call data into Google AdWords or Google Analytics accounts. Google AdWords provides its own PPC call tracking solution as well, where calls to the phone number on a website can be counted as conversions. Here, we are going to review this option.
Please note: website call tracking differs from tracking calls made to Google call extensions (the phone number that appears within a Google ad). Google call extension calls can also be counted as conversions. More information on that process is found here.
By utilizing the Google AdWords on-website call tracking method, you are able to identify the source of the PPC traffic which generates phone calls to the phone number on your website. Google reports the source of the traffic down to the ad group level (i.e. which ad group and which corresponding campaign). Unfortunately, today, Google does not provide the source of the call beyond the ad group. It would be ideal if Google could provide the data at the keyword level so one could identify exactly which keyword generated a website call. Hopefully someday soon!
In order to utilize AdWords’ on-website call tracking feature, there are a few steps:
A. Set up the conversion tracking type
Source of the conversion: choose Phone calls > Calls to a phone number on your website
Select an easily identifiable name for this call conversion type (i.e. PPC website calls)
Select a static dollar value (if applicable) that you want to be tracked as revenue for each of these calls (i.e. how much is each of these calls worth?)
Select a call length: consider if you want to count any and all calls as conversions or just calls that last a certain amount of time (in seconds)
Select if you would like to count each call generated from a single click or of you would like to only count a maximum of one call per click. For call conversion types, one per click is recommended.
Select the conversion window: how many days following a click would you like to track conversions?
Select under which category this conversion type falls (Lead is the most relevant when it comes to calls)
Choose to include this conversion type in the Conversions column. If you do not choose this, you will only see these types of calls in the Call details under the Dimensions tab.
B. Install the conversion tracking scripts
Install the static script provided by AdWords to all pages of the website
Follow these steps to allow a Google forwarding phone number to replace the actual physical phone number on the website
C. Configure call extensions
Ensure that call extensions are setup
It is important to note that the destination number you choose for your call extension dictates whether the Google forwarding phone number that is to appear on the website will be a toll-free phone number or a local phone number.
D. Where to find the call data in the AdWords interface
The best place to view ALL call data is in the Dimensions tab > Call details
You can view the campaign and ad group which generated the call as well as several other call attributes such as call duration, caller area code, call type, and call source
Call type will always be Manually dialed for these website calls
Call source will always be Website for these website calls
As long as you choose to include the conversion type in the Conversions column, calls that meet the criteria you setup will also appear in the Conversions column.
The call data can be very beneficial when assessing the performance of ad groups and campaigns. Often it is a good practice to provide a client with call details on a monthly basis. This way, the client has a good idea of the call volume being generate from the PPC source alone. You can send call data for both calls to call extensions (mentioned in the intro) and calls to the Google forwarding number (using this method) displayed on the website. We tend to put more emphasis on these latter website calls since they ensure that the caller actually visited the site (vs. just calling a phone number displayed in an ad).
However the call data is used and analyzed, it is a great addition to the more typical conversion tracking events such as online purchases and form fills. We look forward to how AdWords will continue to improve and increase the capabilities of trackable conversions.
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