Google analytics allows you to gauge the success of online marketing campaigns to determine conversion rate and ROI. What it doesn’t do is allow you to follow customers as they take information gleaned online offline. For instance, they can visit your contact page – which could be an online conversion goal – but analytics can’t determine what they do after that. You can use coupons to try and determine conversions from walk-in traffic, but what about phone calls?
Thanks to call tracking technology you can tell whether web users take your contact offer seriously and do indeed pick up the phone.
Mongoose Metrics was one of the first companies to develop call tracking software, way back in 2007. Basically, the software assigns a unique tracking number to a marketing campaign (i.e. telephone number). According to Jeff Gillis, who is part of Google’s analytics team, when customers call the number, the programme places a web browser visit to a hidden tracking page, specially created for this purpose. The phone call is logged in your analytics as a unique visit.
The fact that a hidden page is involved is cause for concern for some SEOs, but so far Google has not come out and said that pages created for this purpose is cheating. Gillis certainly didn’t have anything bad to say about it.
In the meantime, the technology is becoming increasingly refined and is able to drill down to quite detailed information.
Bill Dinan cites recent advancements in voice recognition speech-to-text technology, which allows site owners to sort telephonic conversion analytics into keywords and phrases.
To paraphrase Dinan, calls are transcribed and the speech-to-text programmes pick out predetermined keywords and phrases, enabling you to evaluate the effectiveness of your chosen search phrases. This is helpful from an SEO and PPC point of view, as it enables you to reoptimise your website copy and adapt PPC campaigns to maximise ROI.
The phrases or keywords that you identify depend on your conversion goals, but variations on “book an appointment”, “make a reservation” and “get a quote” are good starting points.
You can go even further and set the speech recognition programme to differentiate between consumers and the person at the other end of the call. This weeds out the instances of employee keyword references, which would otherwise mangle your conversion stats.
Phone call tracking provides a much clearer view of overall conversion metrics. By taking into account offline conversions that are the direct result of online campaigns you get a more accurate impression of your online ROI.