As evidence-based marketers, we strive for complete visibility. Though clicks can be an excellent way to prove the impact of marketing engagements, they are not without their limitations. For many B2B and B2C companies, a sizable percentage of conversions occur offline, via the telephone. Though we have used call tracking solutions with several of our clients in the past, we have observed, with frustration, that phone metrics appear to be underused and undervalued by businesses.
With Google’s help, this may be changing. Google recently announced on their Adwords blog that they are introducing bid-per-call functionality in Google Adwords. This allows advertisers to bid for offline actions rather than simply online actions like clicks.
Google previously used a $1 flat rate click- to-call on ads with call tracking enabled. However, the call tracking enabled ads were only deliverable to smartphones. Google’s new bid-per-call policy extends call tracking to any device. In addition, call tracking bids will have an incremental effect on ad placement. In other words, your bid-per-call will now be factored into your ad’s visibility. This revolutionizes Adwords’ auction dynamics. By bidding more on calls, brands may be able to accrue more clicks.
Is Google after more ad revenue? Of course it is. However, we can also view this as a sweeping validation of call metrics as a whole. Hopefully this will be a tipping point for call metrics that will incentive more brands to think seriously about call tracking.
In an effort to provide more thorough call analytics, Google is introducing two new call tracking metrics to the Campaign and Adgroup tabs: phone-through rate, and phone call cost. Whereas Google’s previously introduced metrics (Call start time, call end time and call duration) focused on call quality, you can now track the quantity and expense of calls. This can help calculate the effect that offline engagements have on your ROI.
We hope that Google’s bid-per-call initiative will catalyze the adoption of more advanced call tracking solutions. The best way to truly understand the impact that offline initiatives have on ROI is through integrating call tracking data into a CRM, where you keep sales data. Through CRM integration, marketers can compare clicks to calls and really see how offline marketing collateral performs.
Since your Overall Phone Quality Score will affect ad placement, we also feel that Google’s phone metrics incentivize call center efficiency. It will become increasingly important for call center leaders to make sure that their phone centers are set up to offer optimal customer service. The Demand Results R&D team is currently hard at work creating a call metrics product that will help call center managers monitor efficiency remotely.
We hope to that Google’s bid-per-call inspires businesses of all sizes to integrate call tracking into their marketing initiatives.