What is 'Call Tracking'?

What is ‘Call Tracking’?

Analytics help you understand the efficiency of any marketing or advertising initiative, and when it comes to the online world, businesses track metrics such as page views, conversions and organic visits. However, most companies miss one key analytics tool from their arsenal – call tracking. Up until recently, tracking telephone calls effectively has been almost impossible, but now, thanks to call tracking software, you can find out which advertising campaigns were effective in generating calls. This can be very beneficial for your marketing efforts. In this article, we’re going to cover call tracking, its features and the benefits of using it for your business.

How are inbound calls tracked?

Wherever you have a public presence, you likely have your contact information displayed. This includes your phone number, which means that it’s all over the internet, in magazines, in business directories, and in pretty much any advertising initiative. The problem is – how do you track which of these sources successfully generates inbound calls? Here’s how call tracking works:

Let’s say you have a Google AdWords campaign, and the advertisement displays your phone number. Most users will see the number, dial it, and give you a call. However, you have no way of knowing that it came from your AdWords campaign, so you might think that the campaign is not very profitable and eventually cancel the campaign.

Now let’s say you have three or four campaigns, both offline and online. Tracking ROI, and shifting your budget to the highest yield campaigns is essential to achieving the lowest cost per lead. In order to help you with this process, call tracking assigns unique phone numbers to each campaign, and the software will capture a variety of data from each call, including basic demographic information. Some solutions also come equipped with an AI, which will capture several extra insights regarding the outcome, urgency and quality of the calls.

Call tracking software allows you to set up trackable phone numbers in two ways. First, you have one-to-one call tracking, which is the solution outlined above. With this option, you will have a unique phone number for each campaign, and this will allow you to track various data points for every one of them. The second option is called Dynamic Number Insertion, or DNI. With this option, you will have a unique phone number for each user that visits your website. This is done through JavaScript, and the benefit of DNI is that you can have a much more detailed understanding of your visitors, including location, source of off-site traffic and others. It is an ideal solution for SEO campaigns and online advertisements.

What does call tracking record exactly?

Call tracking software capabilities will depend on your particular solution. Some software will only measure the volume of phone calls from each advertising/marketing source. This capability by itself provides an important data point that you can use to track performance. However, other options will allow you to transcribe calls and run analytics on the transcripts. Others will come with a plethora of features, including:

  • Local, international and toll free numbers
  • Whisper and greeting messages
  • Visitor and keyword tracking
  • Google AdWords/Analytics integration
  • Phone number porting
  • Call recording
  • Simultaneous ring
  • Email summaries and call alerts
  • Advanced reporting
  • Automated text replies

Call tracking software is also designed to be easy-to-use. Even non-technical marketers can have everything set up in a manner of minutes, and have access to insights in just a few clicks. Some software solutions also have dedicated teams that offer consultation, provide training sessions, and recommend best practices, which will help you optimally set up your workflow.

You also have solutions that will offer the capability to see user information during the call. This can help a sales or support agent know more about the user and have a more accurate conversation. The user data may be displayed in one of two ways, either on the agent’s PC, or via a voice message. When the data is displayed on the PC, information will pop-up on the monitor during the call, and some software options connect and integrate with CRM systems. The voice message option is ideal for remote workers, or agents who work at store locations where they are away from their PC. This voice message is often referred to as a whisper message.

Industries that benefit from call tracking and finding the right provider

Call tracking can be used in any industry that relies on inbound calls to generate leads and conversions. This includes any company in the B2B, automotive, real estate, retail, senior living, travel, insurance, higher education, health care, technology and financial sectors.

When you are looking for a call tracking provider, you will have plenty of options at your disposal. From bare-bones solutions to feature-full high end options, you will need to find the provider that adds the most value to your marketing efforts. The right solution should target the appropriate geographical scope, offer integration with other software applications, allow conversation recording, gather analytics and provide any other features that are beneficial to your particular use case. Make sure that you find out how big the pool of phone numbers needs to be in order for the software to gather the data you need, and that you test or gather information on the transcription capabilities of the software if you need to use that feature.

Picture of Beau Brewer

Beau Brewer

I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to gain experience (20+ years) in Advertising. I possess the unique ability to "hand craft" corporate identity, website design, and graphic design by applying my experience to create a perfect combination of printing, marketing, and design.

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