5 Call Tracking Mistakes that Are Hurting Your PPC Campaigns

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Phone calls are new territory for paid search marketers. Sure, you can rattle off your average CPC, CTR, and CPA. But do you know your cost per call conversion and other call metrics? Do you know if your call conversions are turning into revenue?

call tracking dataFor some industries, calls are THE most important lead type. To help get your call tracking up to speed, here are five of the most common call tracking mistakes that could be hurting your PPC performance.

MORE: Where AdWords Call Conversions Can Go Wrong

1. Ignoring calls made from the landing page.

Failing to track calls made from your landing page is like capturing click-through rate and forgetting about conversion rate. You’re only getting half the picture. 

Yes, people call businesses directly from ads (Google reports 70% of consumers have used the click to call button on a search ad), but plenty of people click-through to the landing page before making a call. If you’re serious about driving phone calls from paid search, you have to track all calls.

The Fix

Google’s website call conversions and other call tracking tools let you track the keyword and campaign that drove a call from your website. By placing a small snippet of javascript on your landing pages, your phone number will be dynamically replaced with a tracking phone number. When someone calls this number, their unique user session data (like keyword, ad group, and campaign) will be captured.

Advanced call tracking solutions can even capture unique sub IDs, the landing page and more.

2. Counting all calls as conversions

In today’s culture of accountability there’s no way you can get away with just supplying raw numbers and calling it success. It’s not enough to count leads or calls. You have to measure quality. In fact, counting all calls, no matter their quality, as conversions could give you a false (not to mention dangerous) sense of success. For example, if your PPC ads are driving customer support calls instead of new business, you could actually be wasting your company’s time and resources. That’s negative ROI.

The Fix

Set a call to count as a conversion only if certain conditions are met. If you’re using Google’s call tracking tools, you can trigger a call conversion based on a minimum call duration.

With advanced call tracking solutions, you can filter out calls based on conditions like caller location, new or repeat caller, and if certain actions occurred on the phone call. By being specific as to what counts as a call conversion, you’ll know exactly how many quality calls your paid search have referred.

3. Not assigning a monetary value to call conversions

You can’t measure ROI unless you know much your call conversions are worth. Assigning a value to your calls will let you calculate ROI and optimize bids.

The Fix

Determine the average number of calls that result in sales. Then determine the average sale value. From this data, you can closely estimate what each of your call conversions are worth in real dollar amounts. You can then input this number into your call conversion value so your PPC reports will reflect your average CPA in terms of web and call conversions.

4. Not optimizing keyword bids based on call conversions

This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t optimize their campaigns and keyword bids based on call conversions. Whether you’re running campaigns designed specifically to drive phone calls, or you’re driving calls and online conversions from a single campaign, you’ve got to take a holistic approach when measuring success.

The Fix

Break down your metrics by online conversions and call conversions. You should know your cost per call conversion, online conversion and cost per total conversions. Also keep track of which keywords drive calls and which are better at driving online engagement. Then make sure this information is captured in Google AdWords, AdWords editor, or your bid management system.

With all this data you can then optimize your keyword bids. Remember that if you place a higher value on call conversions to web conversions, you may be able to afford a higher bid on the keywords effectively driving quality calls.

5. Running click-to-call ads 24/7

If your sales team or call center is only open during normal business hours, don’t run ads with call extensions all day and night. Sending callers to a voicemail is a bad customer experience, unless you have a self-serve phone system that can automate information requests and transactions.

The Fix

Configure your call-based campaigns to only run during your business hours. You can even set your bid modifiers to make sure your campaigns with call extensions display during peak times of traffic, when you’re most likely to generate calls.

It has taken us a decade to get to the level of sophistication we’re at with PPC analytics, and it’s going to take time to achieve the same with call conversions. If you’re not quite there, don’t worry.  Addressing these common mistakes is a great start.

If you want to learn more about bringing the power of calls to your paid search marketing, check out Invoca’s recent infographic, below:

call tracking data

More: 10 Advertising Mistakes that Destroy Your Credibility

About the author:

Amber Tiffany is a marketing manager at Invoca with a background in SEM, lead generation, and content marketing. Invoca is a call intelligence solution that helps marketers learn who's calling and why. 

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Comments

Mark
Apr 15, 2015

Not only can call tracking data help to identify which marketing channels are the most successful, it also can provide valuable geographic data for better targeting. If a business receives more phone calls from one town over another - it can help companies better target their ad spend to target key geographic areas.

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