The Argument for Call Tracking

I’m not aware of all the associated costs, but in the abstract there’s a strong argument for adding call tracking to all your online campaigns. Ari Jacoby of VoiceStar (now owned by Marchex) makes the self-interested argument in a Locals Only column at Search Engine Land. However, the argument stands on its own.

There aren’t a lot of great ways to connect the dots from online to offline but call tracking is one important methodology.

Another thing it does it better reveal the performance of SEM campaigns where someone clicks through to a landing page or site and then may disappear — but later convert offline, especially if the business is local. If a phone call is involved at some point, call tracking can reveal that the particular ad generated a call, which may then lead to an offline conversion or sale. Knowing what ads drove more calls (or any at all) may reflect very differently on the particular keywords or ad copy vs. the same ad where a marketer doesn’t capture the fact — or absence — of the phone call.

You get the idea.


6 Responses to “The Argument for Call Tracking”

  1. Cathy H-R Says:

    Has anyone done a study on the effect of unique phone numbers for SEM tracking on source citations for Google Local/Maps?

    Based on my limited experience using Pay per Call, the unique number may cause Local/Maps to ignore the source, perhaps because it differs in a key area from the primary data. I’m wondering if anyone has noted a similar experience.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Not sure. Anyone else?

  3. Will Scott Says:

    My understanding is that phone numbers are one of the correlating factors for identifying citations in local/map search.

    My belief is based on statements made by Gib Olander of Localeze with whom I was on a panel at SMX LoMo (or SLOMO as I like to call it 🙂 ).

    David has a pretty good writeup which includes Gib’s comments here:

    We have seen a number of our Google Maps insertions go fudgey when we have used call tracking numbers in citation sources and it’s a big pain. A big pain.

  4. Will Scott Says:

    A general comment on the use of call tracking numbers:

    I love ’em. Love ’em y’hear? We use VoiceStar, now Marchex and I know there are other vendors as well.

    Part of the service we offer to all our clients is to try to help them understand the value of all their marketing spending and call tracking is the only way to assure we’re tracking the right referral source.

    For instance, we will swap out the phone number dynamically based on from where the visitor came. It’s cool.

    We do this most often when running paid search campaigns as we like to see the effectiveness of paid versus organic traffic. In at least a few cases we’ve helped clients shut down 3rd party spending. In one case, which was yielding no/negligible traffic, the client saved about 80% of what they were paying us!

    I wrote this case up here:

    In a small business context there is little enough search on a daily basis that through time-stamping the sessions / calls it is possible to get to a level of confidence in correlating keyword -> phone call.

    And they’re cheap. If you’re spending any kind of budget on SEO/SEM it just makes sense.

  5. Loci 2008 - Will Scott’s Best of 2008 in Local » Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local Search Says:

    […] The Argument for Call Tracking – Greg Sterling, Screenwerk […]

  6. The Argument for Call Tracking « Screenwerk | Map SEO Says:

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