Tracking web conversions from your Google, Bing, and other paid search ads is critical, of course. Every marketer knows that. But if that’s all the measuring you do, you aren’t doing your campaigns justice. What’s more, you might be making some incorrect assumptions about ad performance that are costing you conversions and sales.
Ask yourself this: what if instead of filling out your web form, a visitor from one of your Google ads picks up the phone and calls you? Can you tell exactly which landing page and ad drove that call? Can you tell if the call even came from Google paid search?
Failing to track the inbound phone calls (and the subsequent sales opportunities and revenue) your paid search campaigns generate can be problematic. First, you might be generating a ton of phone calls and revenue that you aren’t getting credit for. Failing to track these calls as conversions could be doing your marketing a grave disservice. Plus, without call conversion and revenue data it’s possible that you are killing ads, campaigns, landing pages, and keywords that are driving high-quality sales calls – or conversely, continuing to pour money into ones that aren’t.
Second, inbound phone calls from paid search campaigns are often from people who are more ready to engage with a sales manager (and therefore more likely to become revenue) than web form conversions. A 2013 study by eMarketer found that a larger percentage of sales managers rate telephone calls as “excellent” or “good” – more than any other lead type. It’s why phone calls are the very conversion marketers most need to track to accurately measure ROI from paid search.
In order to track phone calls as conversions, marketers can use call tracking software. Call tracking is a form of lead attribution and marketing analytics software that enables you to attribute inbound calls to the exact marketing source that originated it. It works for any marketing source, and for paid search it can tell you the specific PPC keyword, ad, and landing page that drove a particular call to your business.
Below are 5 ways marketers can leverage a call tracking tool and the phone to optimize paid search marketing for conversions.
- Optimize PPC Ads for Call Conversions
Marketers can use call data to track which ads are best at driving phone calls. Whether it’s tracking conversions from mobile click-to-call links or tracking phone calls from call extensions in your ads, call data helps marketers understand which specific ads are best at driving phone calls. You can even run an A/B test using an ad with a call extension (and tracking phone number) and an ad without to see which drives the most conversions that turn into opportunities.
- Optimize Landing Pages for Phone Calls Giving visitors the option to call you instead of filling out your form will help drive more of those high-quality inbound leads we talked about earlier. Then, using data from call tracking analytics, marketers can test the best spots to place their phone number on landing pages. You can pair call tracking A/B tests with a heat map tool like Crazy Egg to see which landing pages convert the most visitors into phone calls, and the areas on your landing page templates that get the most attention from your visitors.
- Adjust Keyword Bids to Drive More Phone Calls Do you know which keywords are driving phone calls? Using call data in conjunction with web conversion data from AdWords and Bing Ads, you can determine which specific keywords are driving web visits and sales calls. With this information you can then bid higher on keywords that you know are driving conversions, and lower bids that aren’t performing as well. Tracking sales calls, along with the web conversions you are already tracking, helps you pinpoint which ads, search keywords, and campaigns are working – and which aren’t.
- Test Different Networks and Media Marketers test different types of networks for many reasons. Helping ads reach a broader audience, testing variations of ad sizes and types (i.e. banner and video ads) and retargeting are just a few of those reasons. Optimizing ads and landing pages on these various networks can be done using data from a call tracking tool along with analytics from your web conversions. Which video ads generated the most phone calls compared to web conversions? How many clicks did your ad receive vs. how many phone calls did it generate? Using data from both online and offline conversions you can optimize the success you have with these different networks.
- Demonstrate True Paid Search Marketing ROIYour paid search conversion data could be very misleading if you aren’t including call data in your reports. A landing page might be generating few form downloads but a high number of inbound calls which are leading to opportunities and revenue. But if you can’t tie phone calls back to your landing pages, ads, and keyword searches, how will you know? You might end up editing or even deleting a landing page with a high ROI. Using call data along with web conversion data in paid search reporting helps you provide executives with real ROI numbers that include web form downloads and phone calls.
Most marketers know that having a successful paid search strategy is critical. With so much at stake, marketers must be able to accurately track the phone calls their paid search efforts generate to optimize ads, landing pages, and keywords and test new networks. The critical component to tracking phone calls from paid search is using call data in ROI reporting. Without call data, paid search reports will be inaccurate and this can lead to mismanaged campaign optimization.
You can learn more about the importance of tracking calls from PPC in this eBook, “Marketer’s Guide to Call Tracking for Google SEO and PPC”.
About the Author: Jane Intrieri is a Search Marketing Specialist at Ifbyphone. She is responsible for the execution of Ifbyphone’s overall internet marketing strategy, including lead generation efforts, the effectiveness of Ifbyphone SEM efforts, while also managing and maintaining day-to-day website and marketing automation related operations.