What Is Call Tracking and How Does it Work?

min read
What Is Call Tracking and How Does it Work?

If you’ve never heard of call tracking software before, you might think that it’s used by the contact center to keep reps on-script or for helicopter parents to keep tabs on wayward teenagers. While your contact center may use call tracking to monitor call quality, it’s different than the technology that marketers use to get attribution for calls and data to optimize campaigns. And I’m pretty sure teenagers don’t use phones for calling their friends, so you’re not going to find anything juicy there, dad. Maybe check Snapchat or something.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s dig into what call tracking software is and how it works for marketers.

What is Call Tracking Software?

Call tracking software allows marketers to get data from phone conversations with customers that can prove exactly what marketing campaign or tactic drove the phone call and what the result of the call was. For example, if you call a business that is using call tracking, they can tell what ads, web pages, and even the keywords that helped drive you to call.

And once you’re on the phone, conversational analytics can be used to analyze the language used in the call to tell if you bought anything, got a quote, made an appointment — or what marketers like to call a “conversion.” You can then use the data to get attribution for marketing campaigns, optimize ads, web pages, social media, and other advertising mediums to get more high-value customers on the phone.

Without call tracking, it’s impossible to prove the ROI of your marketing efforts that drive sales calls because your data trail goes cold when potential customers pick up the phone.

How Does Call Tracking Software Work?

Cloud-based call tracking software like Invoca enables marketers to tie customers’ digital journeys to phone calls using online data collection via unique, trackable phone numbers. Invoca’s call tracking and analytics are made possible with a website tag. The tag is a snippet of JavaScript code placed on your website that automatically replaces standard, static phone numbers with trackable, dynamic phone numbers that are unique to each site visitor. These dynamic numbers act as a unique identifier for an individual’s website session.

Check out this video to see how call tracking works:

Beyond managing dynamic phone numbers, the Invoca tag also captures other data, such as UTM source, medium, paid search keyword, and Google ClickID. Additional customer journey data like page visitation and unique customer identifiers are captured from the browser cookie.  With this data, you can understand exactly which marketing tactics are driving your high-value phone calls.

When a person calls an Invoca-supplied phone number, the call is routed through the Invoca platform to a call center, local agent, or any other destination. This allows Invoca to aggregate the digital data and tie the callers’ previous activity to the phone call. This happens nearly instantaneously with no interruption to the caller experience.

Why Do I Need Call Tracking?

Calls are often the most valuable conversions marketers drive — according to Forrester, 84% of marketers say phone calls have higher conversion rates with higher average order value (AOV) than other forms of engagement. If you’re not tracking the phone calls your marketing drives, you’re getting an incomplete picture of your ROI.

With call tracking, you can identify which digital ads, keywords, and webpages are the most effective at driving phone calls to your business. You can also see how many of those phone calls are high-quality leads and conversions. This gives you full end-to-end attribution for your campaigns and helps you make smarter optimization decisions to drive more revenue.

How Can Marketers Use Call Tracking?

Marketers most frequently use call tracking to optimize paid search and other digital marketing performance, personalize the caller experience and enhance the end-to-end customer journey by unifying online and offline data sources. The big benefits that many call tracking users see are reduced cost-per-click (CPC) on paid search, reduced cost-per-acquisition (CPA), and increases in return on ad spend (ROAS).

The benefits of inbound call tracking

  • Track the full ROI (return on investment) from your marketing campaigns
  • Get credit for all of the phone call conversions your marketing drives
  • Optimize media spend to drive higher quality leads
  • Reduce wasted advertising budget
  • Enhance caller profiles with conversation data
  • Retarget callers based on the content of their phone conversations
  • Use common phrases from conversations to improve your marketing messaging
  • Improve call conversion rates by tracking and optimizing sales agent performance 
  • Integrate conversation intelligence data with your existing technology stack

What Industries Should Use a Call Tracking Solution?

Any industry that relies on inbound calls to acquire customers should use a call tracking solution. This way, they can understand the marketing programs that are driving the most value and optimize accordingly. Examples include automotive, healthcare, home services, financial services, franchises, insurance, travel, telecom, real estate, and more.

How to Unify Data from Clicks and Calls with Call Tracking

In order to get the closed-loop attribution you need to optimize your digital marketing, you need to capture data for each unique consumer. This information is contained in a caller profile, where a marketer can store a veritable cornucopia of relevant data. These data come in various forms:

  • Customer journey data like ad exposure and website visitation (you might think of this as cookie or campaign data)
  • First-party data, like customer records, that can be pulled in from a marketer’s CRM
  • Third-party demographic data
  • Call data that includes standard metrics like length of the call, time of day, caller area code, and more
  • Conversational data derived from conversational analytics and other AI-based tools

By unifying these datasets into a rich caller profile and associating it to the phone call, you now have the basis to understand which marketing programs are driving the most calls and begin putting this information to good use. Watch this video to see how it works.

How to Optimize Paid Search with Call Tracking

One of the primary use cases for call tracking is to optimize paid search. Since every living, breathing marketer has used or is using Google Ads, we’ll use it as an example here.

Invoca helps you optimize paid search in Google Ads with its Offline Conversions integration. It does this by giving you closed-loop attribution for phone calls and conversions driven by your paid search and display spend.

Invoca captures valuable data about the digital journey, like marketing campaign and ad creative, and ties that data to phone calls. For example, you can see exactly which paid search campaign and keyword led to a call. When a call is placed, Invoca captures identifiers like the Google Click ID, enabling you to report individual call events and conversions to Google Ads in real time. This gives you a reliable and precise method to get keyword visibility for mobile call extensions and calls from your landing pages.

Since call conversions are reported in Google Ads in much the same way as online conversions, you can treat this call data exactly how you would typically treat digital data.

  • See which ad groups, ads, and keywords are driving each type of call outcome
  • Measure revenue from calls to calculate return on ad spend
  • Use conversions to optimize keyword spend using automated bidding rules

Using Invoca call tracking data to inform Google’s Smart Bidding algorithm is where many of our customers end up getting big results with not a lot of effort. For example, eHealth used the integrations with Google Ads and Adobe Experience Cloud to optimize their paid media against events that are happening on the phone, resulting in a 20% decrease in CPA and a 20% increase in conversion rates — just by feeding Invoca data to Google’s Smart Bidding algorithm. They were also able to realize up to 60% reductions in the cost of acquisition for click-to-call campaigns.

Personalizing the Caller Experience with Call Tracking Software

Creating a better call experience seems like a problem that the call center needs to deal with. However, when the caller (that you drove to call with your marketing dollars) has a poor experience, conversion rates go down and that makes your marketing efforts less effective. Which makes it your problem, too. Call tracking and analytics platforms can help you personalize the call experience and increase your conversion rates.

With Invoca, the call center can retrieve real-time insights about a caller, including their previous engagement history as well as the keyword and ad campaign that drove the call. This data can be used to automatically route and filter calls so callers are sent to the person or department that can best help them without sending them through the phone tree. Watch this video to see how it works.

With this information in hand, call center reps can more efficiently and effectively work with the customer to make a sale. For example, if a customer has an item in their shopping cart and calls before completing the purchase, they can be routed directly to an agent who knows what they have in their cart and why they are calling.

DISH Network, for example, found that many of its online shoppers were abandoning their carts when it came time to provide private information like social security numbers. To make sure it could convert these customers, it used Invoca to seamlessly direct cart abandoners to a call center experience specially tailored to their needs.

By setting up rules in the Invoca call routing logic, calls are automatically routed to the correct department based on the customer’s product interest, and support calls are sent to customer service. Invoca can also provide call center reps with a whisper message (a short system-generated audio clip played to the call center agent) before connecting to the caller to provide even more information about the nature of the call.

Using call tracking allows marketers to make more informed decisions, drive more revenue, and create the ultimate customer experience. And who doesn’t want more sales and happier customers?

Call tracking features that improve the customer experience

  • Improve marketing campaign personalization
  • Intelligently route callers to the best agent based on digital intent data
  • Create cloud IVRs in minutes — no assistance from IT required
  • Flag webpages that are driving digital abandonment
  • Capture deep insights about consumers’ needs and changing expectations
  • Use AI to automatically score sales agent performance and improve coaching 
  • Identify which missed calls are high-value sales opportunities and prioritize your follow-ups accordingly

What Questions Should I Ask When Evaluating Call Tracking Providers?

Many providers offer basic, bare-bones call tracking solutions. However, you should look deeper to determine which provider will truly add the most value. Here are some important questions to ask call tracking providers:

  • Does the call tracking solution provide keyword-level and website click path attribution?
  • Can the call tracking solution track calls from multiple phone numbers on a single web page (such as a Find a Location webpage)?
  • How big a pool of phone numbers does the call tracking solution require to give you the data you need?
  • Does the call tracking solution integrate with all the marketing and sales tools and digital ad platforms your business uses?
  • Can the call tracking solution record and transcribe conversations?
  • How accurate are the transcriptions?
  • Does the call tracking solution provide AI and machine-learning technology that can capture analytics from the transcriptions?
  • Does the call tracking solution enable you to analyze conversations based on factors important to your marketing, such as what words the caller or agent said?
  • Can the call tracking solution measure how many inbound calls are sales or appointment calls and how many of those calls converted?

Want to learn more about call tracking and conversational analytics? Get the Ultimate Guide to Conversation Intelligence.

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