Call Tracking Overview
September 11, 2018
September 11, 2018
Hey everybody. Adam Arkfeld with ParaCore. And today I wanted to talk about the idea of call tracking and how we use it at ParaCore, my PPC agency. Now, a lot of people don’t realize how far call tracking has come. The ability to swap numbers at certain times based on different sources and where traffic is coming from is pretty incredible. And if you’re using a platform like AdWords, they already do a decent amount of call tracking. You can track conversions on call extensions, you can do dynamic number insertion… But today I’m gonna talk in a little bit more detail about call tracking in general, how it works with AdWords, and then how a third party platform like CallRail can really take that tracking to another level of performance and metrics and tracking.
All right? So basically what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna start off with a website, just a very, very basic website. And this website could be a landing page, it could be basically anything. And we’re gonna use five, five, five, five, fives, fives, fives as our number. All right? So this is the number on the website that people see when they go to the website and they just view it, let’s say their friend told them about it, they’re a direct visitor, maybe they’re organic so there’s a phone number there. Now if someone calls that number and you’re not doing any sort of tracking then you really don’t know where that visitor came from. You will just get a bunch of phone calls and you might ask them and say “Hey, how did you find us?” If they say something like “on the internet” or “search” you don’t know if that’s a paid ad or if it’s an organic listing or… What? Or if it’s from Bing or where they really came from.
All right? So just having a phone number is not enough when it comes to performance-based marketing and tracking. So now we start digging into dynamic number insertion. And the part that most people are pseudo familiar with is maybe AdWords and their dynamic number swapping and their dynamic number insertion. So before someone gets to the webpage right here, they might start at a search, a search page you know, Google. All right, So someone does a search, they go to the website, and with the AdWords dynamic number insertion, you actually install a script on your website or on the landing page, and when someone comes from Google, they’re then gonna see six, six, six six, six, six, six.. probably not the best sequence of numbers but they’re gonna see a different phone number than the 555 number. And AdWords dynamically replaces that number, it’s just a random number basically in your zip code and you don’t get to choose it or anything, it’s just a totally random number, you have no control over those numbers.
Now when that number is swapped, someone will see the sixes, they’re gonna call that number, it will then reroute, and this will forward to the 555 number and the person on the other end will get the call and then .. um.. they’ll get the call, they might ask, “Hey, how’d you find us?” They’ll say “Google”, it doesn’t matter if it’s organic or paid because in our AdWords platform, which is a paid advertising platform, we’re gonna be able to see that someone converted off of that phone number.
Now, in that conversion metric, you actually have to choose, or you get to choose, what constitutes a conversion. So if someone hits the landing page and they call and they hang up right away, from AdWords perspective, that does not constitute a conversion. You get to choose the duration of the call. And you can choose 30 seconds, you can choose 45 seconds, you know, you have a number of different options, so if someone calls and they say, “Hey, I just… Oh, sorry, wrong number.” That will not be considered a conversion in AdWords, it will just be a call and then you can basically segment the metrics in different ways to see a conversion versus a call. And you might have 10 calls but only three conversions because they abandoned the call or it was a very short call or wrong number, whatever the case may be. But that’s basically all the insight you have.
So someone goes to Google they search, they see your ad, they click your ad, and now when they go to your website this number 555 is swapped to the sixes number. Now someone calls that number, that’s then rerouted to your 555 number, or redirected to that number, Google is now tracking the duration of that call, the person answers and in your AdWords platform you can associate spent with the number of calls. That’s dynamic number insertion for Google AdWords and that’s really the extent of the information that you have and that’s the more or less the only type of tracking you can do with the AdWords platform. They don’t allow you to track calls from other sources, from other websites, or anything like that. You don’t get to record calls; nothing.
All right? So this is the … It’s not basic, necessarily, but it’s the most limited version of call tracking that’s available; it’s available on the platform, it doesn’t cost any money or anything. So that’s one way to do it. Now what we do at ParaCore and what really takes tracking to the next level, because we can… we can report on these metrics, but let’s say that 10 people called and asked for a job, we actually don’t know that those 10 people were calling and asking for a job so we might report to our client, saying, “Hey, we got 20 phone calls, that’s great.” And they’re like, “Well, but we didn’t get any new business, we didn’t get any..” Um… “We just had a bunch of people calling about jobs.” And we’re like, “Well… We’re showing all these conversions…” And you can actually pull some phone number… Uh.. quasi phone number metrics out of AdWords and look at where calls are coming from and the area code and which campaigns they’re associated with, but it’s very, very, very, very hard to line up information, especially if you get a high volume of calls, to tie any sort of activity in sales together with phone calls.
All right? So that’s how the AdWords native integration works. Now we introduce third party call tracking, because as a PPC agency we want to see more. We want more data, we want to know what types of calls are coming in, we went to control the phone numbers and we just want more features so that we can fine tune our campaigns and also talk about more performance with our clients.
And that’s where we use CallRail CallRail is a third party call tracking system, we pay a fee for it. Every single month we have a number of clients on this system. Some of the clients have their own accounts and it is a uh a third party system where you install script on the website just like AdWords, but you get a lot more features and you get a ton more control then you get when you’re running through the AdWords campaign, the AdWords script. All right, so for example, let’s say that we have Google and we want… this is Google paid and then we have Google organic All right. So these are just listings and this is organic. Now you’re gonna be getting people to your website from both sources of traffic. You’re gonna be getting people that are clicking your paid ads but then you’re also gonna be getting people that are clicking your organic listings. And in the .. within your dash… And then you’re also goin to be getting direct traffic and you’re gonna be getting referrals and you’re gonna be getting social advertising.
So with the CallRail platform, you can actually add multiple numbers or use their key word pool to track uh.. to track sources .. uh track phone calls from all the different sources that are coming into your website. So we might have someone coming in from Google and someone coming in from organic, and this person from organic is gonna see 777 and the person from paid is gonna see 666 and the person that goes direct might see 555 and all these people are gonna be seeing different phone numbers and now within the CallRail platform, you can see how many calls came from organic, how many came from direct, paid, social, or… You can get into even more detail and say I only want the phone number on the website to swap if the UTM code with campaign equals um, you know, fall, you know, fall, um… If campaign equals fall savings to then um .. To then flip the number so that everybody that came to the campaign from the fall savings marketing campagn that we put out, is gonna see this very very very specific number. So you can do a ton of different things. And so you might have Google paid, you might have Google organic, you might have Facebook coming in, you’re gonna have direct traffic coming in, and the easiest way to do this is use a CallRail keyword pool. And a keyword pool can start with four numbers and basically it cycles through these keyword, or uh, excuse me, a phone number pool. CallRail phone number pool. It cycles through the phone numbers and it shows the different phone number to every person that’s hitting the website, and then it’s tracking all their activity, and when they call it then associates the call with that person’s activity and you can look at their activity and every single page that they visited in the CallRail platform.
So that’s really cool. Now what you mgiht be thinking, and it would make sense, is that “Well, if we pulled out of AdWords, then we don’t have the conversion metrics in AdWords and therefore we actually can’t optimize the campaign because we don’t you know..” Before this scenario we described it was very easy to AdWords just pulled it right in, it was part of the AdWords interface. CallRail has an AdWords integration if you’re using a keyword pool that associates the two accounts and so when calls come in CallRail picks up the fact that it’s coming in from an AdWords campaign, it then tracks conversions based on whatever metrics you want, and then it kicks those conversions back to AdWords, so that those conversions pull right into the campaign, ad group key word and search terms just as they normally would.
Now there are different conversions when you’re in AdWords I think they’re called phone call maybe or phone calls. It’s very important that it actually stays the same so that if it’s singular and you make it plural, you kinda break the integration. Um… But it pulls in from the third party integration from CallRail and then it associates it perfectly. So not only do you get to control all this information about conversions, but anything that comes form AdWords is gonna be then pushed back into the AdWords campaign so you can see which campaigns exactly are generating conversions for you. All right? So this is all incredibly powerful — it allows you to see.. You can do this for your main website so on ParaCore’s site we actually do a dynamic number swapping, and every single call that comes through, we know where it’s coming from so… That’s… that’s really powerful.. You know.. If you get a large volume of calls in at the end of the month you can say “well, 20% of our calls were direct, 30% of our calls were organic, you know… 50% of our calls were paid or whatever the case may be and you then can decide if you want to invest more money. And then you can actually take those calls and within the AdWords platform, now you have the opportunity to look at each call and classify it. So you can tag the call, you can say this is a lead, this was a bogus call, this was a missed call, solicitation, you can put a value and you can associate the value with that call. So if you’re selling something online or if you just wanna set an arbitrary value, then when you run those reports at the end of the month, you have all of that information with you and available so then you can determine which channels are the highest performing. On top of that, all of the calls are recorded, or you can record them, they’re not recorded by default.
So when calls come in, you hit the record button, and then it has the disclaimer at the beginning of the call, and from our perspective we like to spot check or listen depending on the client, listen to like all the calls or spot check the calls to see if conversions are happening and if conversions are happening and sales are happening, or they’re getting a lot of calls that are hangups or wrong numbers or something along those lines, then we know that we can rectify that situation and fix it. But we wanna make sure that when you’re listening to calls, we wanna make sure that by listening to calls, we get to… Um.. Learn a lot about the business. So we’ve had instances where receptionists have been sending prospects to a competitor. That’s not good. Where the phone tree was actually routing people to the wrong person because it was just set up incorrectly. That’s also not good. We’ve had situations where phone calls are essentially never answered. So they’re paying us to generate leads and to do all this work on the lead gen and one’s answering the calls. Also, not good. And so when you’re recording calls you’re listening to them yeah, but a company like ours monitoring it, it really helps understand exactly what’s going on and if there are any breakdowns in your system.
We’ve also given feedback to clients about the tone of voice and the professionalism and the receptionist that’s answering the phone, if they’re being kind or being rude or you know, being kinda disgruntled — we will send that information to our client so that they know, hey, like they might have a customer service issue that they never would have known about before, but by recording the phone calls, you’re able to hear that information. And in the AdWords platform, you’re not able to record phone calls.
So just that in itself, in addition to all of the phone number swapping and targeting and reporting that goes on outside of the Google network, that’s huge. When it comes to Facebook, Facebook doesn’t have a dynamic number insertion script so if someone is on their Facebook uh is on Facebook and they click an ad and it goes to a website or a landing page and you have a tracking number on it, you… if you’re not using a third party call tracking system you actually don’t know that those calls are coming from your Facebook advertising. You would have to maybe send in a different number via UTM tag, using a dynamic number insertion script through Unbounce or… you’d have to send it to its own landing page or something like that. But by using a keyword pool and allowing it to swap and seeing the referral source, then you can see exactly where every single call is coming in, so it’s super powerful.
Beyond that, there are a ton of other features within CallRail that we use, so… You can do keyword spotting, where it transcribes the calls, and then um… spot key words so we listen for card, credit card or… I think it’s booking for one of our businesses, and any time one of those key words comes up, that means someone said it, it auto tags it with booking and that means that we think that someone actually booked on this call and in many cases for us that’s tours with our outdoor adventure marketing brand. We think that someone booked on this call, we then listen to the call to confirm it, we put in a dollar amount because people are typically saying…
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