How Call Tracking is Changing Marketing

Why Call Tracking is Necessary

Though more and more sales are occurring online, an AdInsight study predicted that more than half of conversions still occur offline—over the phone or through retail outlets. It would make our job as marketers easy if everyone felt completely comfortable making their purchases online.

However, there are still plenty of customers who would rather talk to a human being before purchasing a product or even filling out a web form. A 2009 Harris Interactive survey showed that 77% of U.S. eCommerce users who had made a purchase in the past six months would be interested in help from a real person before making an online purchase. It’s this desire that causes brands to put telephone numbers on their sites. In the past, marketers have struggled to track leads that call without filling out conversion forms. But call tracking solutions now make it possible to instantly gain insight into why the phone is ringing.

Short of call tracking, the only way to gain access to this information is to ask the intrusive question: “How did you find our site?” Obviously, this is a hugely unreliable method that can’t be trusted. Any company still doing this (you know who you are) should be researching basic call tracking products right now.

Whereas call tracking solutions were once extremely pricey and reserved for niche industries, technology is democratizing the costs so that even marketers at small businesses can participate. The result is changing marketing, and evidence-based marketers need to be able to leverage it.

See the Offline Impact of Adwords Campaigns

eMarketer predicts that in 2012, total online advertising spend will increase from $31.3 to $36.8 billion. With online ad spend on the rise, it’s more vital than ever to know which keywords are truly driving conversions.

Success metrics for Adwords campaigns have always been centered on clicks. But what about customers who see your phone number in an ad and, rather than clicking, simply dial the number?

When making purchases, some people would simply rather talk to a human being. As such, online ads often drive conversions that can’t be quantified by clicks.

Adwords campaigns can be so much more effective by aggregating click and call data. Marketers are already adjusting to this shift in perspective. In 2010, search marketing platform Kenshoo introduced a program that automatically adjusts bidding in Adwords in response to offline impact (calls), rather than simply clicks.

With call tracking, marketers can add improved insight into their Adwords dashboards and get a full picture of each campaign’s offline impact.

Quantify the Impact of Virtually Any Marketing Engagement

Though online advertising is on the rise, most businesses engage in a variety of advertising channels. In addition to tracking the offline impact of online ads, call tracking solutions can enable you to measure the impact of virtually any marketing effort, including offline engagements. Unique phone numbers can be assigned to any marketing collateral including TV ads, radio ads, print ads, QR codes, social media, emails, PDFs and more.

Improve Geo-targeting

Marketers are always looking to maximize advertising ROI. All evidence-based marketers know that regional and seasonal conditions can cause variances in online ad performance. For example, a greeting card company might notice that an ad for bar mitzvah cards performs best in certain cities during the months of June and August. While a company that sells cloud-based marketing solutions for small businesses might have ads featuring folksy language might not perform as well in major metropolitan areas. Of course some of this geo-targeted data can be gathered through clicks. But by using call tracking, marketers can have increased insight into local and seasonal ad performance.

Track Which Keywords Drive Phone Conversions

SEO and SEM campaigns depend on finding keywords that convert. In order to maximize the impact of SEO and PPC campaigns you need to have the most advanced analytics possible. Google Analytics can track the impact of clicks, but what about the keywords that are driving calls?

Customers often search for different keywords during different stages of their buying cycle. Call tracking solutions can help marketers track the keywords that a customer searches for prior to picking up the phone.

Call tracking adds another level of intelligence to your dashboards. By understanding the keywords that cause your phone to ring, you can more accurately decide which keywords are good for ROI and which are a waste of money and time.



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