By Brian Yaro
If you are a business owner or are responsible for your company’s customer acquisition, chances are you have thought about what phone calls mean to your business. Maybe phone calls are the lifeblood of your business, or maybe they only account for a small fraction that you want to grow. Either way, call tracking should be an integral part of your overall marketing mix that helps you make better-informed marketing decisions and drive results.
Mobile Data & Trends Highlight Need For Call Tracking
The world is becoming increasingly mobile and calls from mobile devices are growing faster than ever. Currently, there are 3.65 billion unique global mobile users; meaning over half of the world’s population is now reachable on mobile. And the momentum is showing no signs of slowing. In fact, calls from mobile devices are expected to grow by 74% by 2019. (We Are Social)
Digital marketers are racing to keep up with mobile user behavior in their advertising efforts. Mobile ad spend is increasing 50% in 2015, reaching $29 billion and accounting for half of all digital ad spend. By 2019, 70% of digital ad spend is expected to be on mobile. (DialogTech)
In addition to the need to reach consumers where they are, mobile has also proven to be a highly effective conversion medium. Not only are mobile users increasing but reaching them while on their mobile devices provides numerous benefits for advertisers and companies:
- 4 out of 5 local searches on mobile devices end in a purchase and 73% of these purchases are in brick and mortar stores. (Search Engine Watch)
- 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour. (iAcquire)
- 6-8% of mobile users are more likely to click on PPC ads that contain phone numbers. (xAd)
- 52% of users who click on PPC ads still end up calling the advertiser. (xAd)
- PPC phone leads are three times more likely to convert. (B2C)
All of this data shows mobile is here to stay and consumers want to reach companies through mobile. Having a solid call tracking solution is critical to capitalizing on these trends and growing your business through mobile. Your business needs these calls!
What types of business should invest in call tracking?
The short answer is any company that does, or could, earn business from phone calls. Implementation of call tracking can enable any company to increase sales calls, improve phone call revenue and optimize their marketing mix through clearer attribution.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of how call tracking can help companies in different verticals solve their attribution problems and achieve desired results:
1. Home Services
These are the companies whose ‘bread and butter’ for decades was the Yellow Pages. And while consumers have found new ways to find their information, many business transactions continue to come as a result of a phone call. This includes contractors, cleaning services, painters, plumbers, etc.
Let’s use ACME Home Cleaning Service as our example. ACME made the leap into digital advertising a year ago, and has seen increases in their client list. They are actively spending in paid search, social, email marketing and local direct display.
While the new business they are seeing is great, they do not have a clear picture into which strategy is driving the bulk of their new calls. Where should they spend more? Where should they cut back? What can they learn and adjust to? These are all common questions companies encounter with advertising and direct phone calls.
2. Medical Professionals
One of the most important decisions in people’s lives is who to trust and rely upon for their families’ health and well-being. While digital is essential for medical professionals to be found when potential new patients are searching, most of the time those searchers are also looking for a phone number to be able to speak to a live person.
In this scenario we will take a look at Dr. Jones’ dental practice. Dr. Jones is very active in her community, attending many events and networking with many different people. She also does a lot of local traditional advertising, PR, and event sponsorship. On top of this, she also has a profile on many medical directories and does some local digital advertising.
All of these efforts have continued to help Dr. Jones grow her practice, but with limited time in her busy life, she would like to know where she should be focusing her advertising efforts to save time and maximize her ROI.
3. CPAs and Mortgage Lenders
Not much in life is more confidential to someone than their personal finances, leading many consumers to feel uncomfortable providing this level of confidential information online. Most would prefer to pick up the phone and discuss with a live person.
Mark has gone to work as a residential mortgage lender for a large bank. While the bank provides him his own profile page on their site and sends him leads they capture at the corporate level, a big aspect of Mark’s job is earning his own sales. Since Mark is just starting out, he needs to be certain he understands the value of all his paid marketing efforts. With so many consumers in this industry looking to find financial assistance over the phone, having a clear call attribution plan is a must for Mark.
Even if your company is not in one of these industries, calls most likely still play an important role in your business. Do not overlook the value of having a strong call tracking plan as part of your overall marketing mix.
Call Tracking Options & Details
Now that we know the need for a call tracking plan is present across different business verticals, let’s take a look at the different call tracking options available to businesses and advertisers:
1. Call Extensions & Call-Only Ads
Both Google AdWords and Bing Ads now have the option to include call tracking as part of their paid ads format. While including a company’s phone number has always been an option, a few changes now exist:
1) Call Extensions: A long, long time ago advertisers inserted phone numbers into the description lines of their online paid ads. Both Google and Bing now prohibit this practice and phone numbers can only be added as an extension to ads. This benefits the engines by having a cleaner ad format across their engine, and benefits advertisers since they now have more characters available in their ad copy – while still getting to showcase phone numbers. The call extension can appear in static version on desktop searches and as a clickable extension that places that phone numbers directly into the user’s keypad screen in mobile search.
If your company has a minimal marketing mix or is running a very minimal PPC campaign, inserting your regular business phone number as the call extension could suffice. This will provide how many calls are coming from call extensions based on extension clicks. Detailed optimization and marketing mix analysis are limited with this approach.
2) Call Forwarding Numbers: Google and Bing also offer unique call forwarding numbers. Call forwarding numbers let you report on the calls you receive through call extensions offering details like call duration, call start and end time, caller area code and whether the call was connected. You can count phone calls as conversions and make optimizations to increase the likelihood of conversions. Optimization can still be tricky with this solution if you are tracking any other type of conversion, as only total conversions are tracked at the keyword and ad copy level. For example, if you are tracking email registrations, purchases and calls, the total of all three would be what shows as conversions for keywords – not just calls.
3) Call-Only Ads: With consumers increasingly searching using their mobile devices and 70% of mobile searchers calling a business directly from those search results, Google has taken mobile ads a step further with Call-Only Campaigns. Call-only ads serve in the same way as ads with call extensions; however, call-only ads are specially designed to only show on mobile devices that can make phone calls. This means that every click you pay for can be a phone call to your business. This solution provides a great strategy to drive more calls for your business, but optimization and analysis remain limited in much the same way as call extensions.
2. Unique Phone Numbers
Utilizing unique phone numbers for each piece of your marketing mix is a great way to cost efficiently provide an additional layer of attribution modeling. Phone numbers cost very little and can be applied to both digital and traditional media. Several companies also offer packages to make the cost even more efficient and the turnaround even quicker.
With a unique number or numbers available to be applied to your digital advertising efforts, you not only are able to distinguish which efforts are driving calls, but the numbers can be applied to any of the call extensions/ads as listed above. With multiple unique numbers available for PPC, a number can be applied to each campaign, creating a new level of reporting and analysis with the ability to determine which campaigns are driving calls.
Even with unique phone numbers and call extensions/ads, detailed optimization remains difficult, since data still does not clearly tie back to keywords and ad copy.
3. Fully-Integrated Call Tracking Solution
The only way to see the full benefits of call tracking is to integrate a custom call tracking solution that best fits the needs of your business and aligns with your marketing mix. There are several companies out there that offer custom call tracking solutions and each has their own tools and resources to help your company gain more business from phone calls.
A custom call tracking solution can tie in directly to all of your digital marketing efforts – including SEM, mobile, and display. When utilized properly, call data is captured at all levels of your campaign, enabling real-time, granular analysis and optimization. You know which channels, campaigns, ads and keywords are truly driving call performance for your company.
Most call tracking companies also provide custom services on the call end as well, including hosted IVR, call management, call routing and voice notifications. These services can help make your call tracking solution even more efficient and effective.
How Lever Interactive Can Help
Lever Interactive has helped companies in multiple industries “remove the phone call data curtain” and gain powerful insights into what efforts are truly driving profitable calls for them. Lever will partner with you to help determine which call tracking solution best fits your company’s needs and budget. This doesn’t always mean a custom-integrated solution, but when it does, Lever partners with the industry leader in call tracking to provide exceptional value to our clients. Just take a look at these results achieved for a couple of Lever’s clients (click the links to open in a new window):
Lever Interactive helped an ecommerce retailer increase revenue by 66% and decrease effective revenue share (ERS, or cost/revenue) by 70% year-over-year using call tracking.
Lever Interactive utilized call tracking to increase a furniture repair service provider’s month-over-month calls by 220% despite spending 19% less, improving call efficiency by 75%.
So why does your company need a call tracking plan? As the world continually becomes more mobile, phone calls remain an integral part of doing business. Knowing which of your advertising efforts are driving people to call you is the key to maximizing your marketing return. Call tracking provides attribution, attribution leads to smarter decision-making, and smarter decision-making leads to more revenue and fewer headaches. No more sitting in marketing meetings watching your team scratch their heads as they try to decide how to allocate funds and determine what’s working and what’s not! Call tracking will help your company maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing efforts. And Lever Interactive can help.
Want to boost your business’ marketing effectiveness? Contact Lever Interactive to discuss call tracking today!
*Screen captures courtesy of Google