Call Tracking: The Missing ROI Metric

Add Your Comments

Synopsis –  Today’s marketers face intense pressure to increase the volume and quality of leads, optimize ad spend, and — most of all — demonstrate ROI in PPC and SEO programs. But demonstrating ROI isn’t as easy as it sounds. Despite their best efforts, online marketers constantly struggle to understand keyword conversions and showcase the true scope of ROI in online marketing campaigns.

What’s the problem? In many cases, it boils down to a lack of call tracking. When faced with a choice between completing a web form and calling the company directly, many consumers opt to make a phone call, an action that is invisible in many ROI assessment programs.

Subscribers should log in to read the entire article. If you are interested in subscribing, you can do so here.

Call Tracking: The Missing ROI Metric

Today’s marketers face intense pressure to increase the volume and quality of leads, optimize ad spend, and — most of all — demonstrate ROI in PPC and SEO programs. But demonstrating ROI isn’t as easy as it sounds. Despite their best efforts, online marketers constantly struggle to understand keyword conversions and showcase the true scope of ROI in online marketing campaigns.

What’s the problem? In many cases, it boils down to a lack of call tracking. When faced with a choice between completing a web form and calling the company directly, many consumers opt to make a phone call, an action that is invisible in many ROI assessment programs.

According to AdInsight research, 43% of all Internet search sale conversions are happening over the phone. That makes call metrics a prerequisite for marketers interested in receiving full credit for their marketing results.

Without effective call tracking solutions, a sizeable percentage of spend outcomes and ROI measurements fall by the wayside. As a marketer, it’s essential to be able to prove that your SEM campaigns aren’t just delivering clicks, but driving online and offline conversions.

Call Tracking Dynamics

The effective use of call tracking and other techniques can substantially improve ROI assessments for online marketing campaigns. For instance, from Q4 2009 to Q1 2010, WebVisible reported a 35% gain in the number of search clicks that resulted in a phone call for advertisers using call tracking numbers — underscoring the importance of leveraging call tracking in the evaluation of online advertising success.

Call tracking gives marketers (and their clients) total ROI visibility, eliminating blind spots that occur in phone-based calls-to-action. By assigning unique phone numbers to specific online marketing tactics and initiatives, marketers capture the ability to connect phone leads and conversions to web-based marketing efforts.

Call tracking can also be applied on a more granular basis to offer insights at the keyword level. Insights into which keywords drive phone calls help marketers optimize ad spend and subsequently increase online marketing ROI for the companies they represent.

The concept behind keyword call tracking is straightforward — based on the traffic referral source, web visitors are directed to unique phone numbers. When a site user calls the brand via a keyword-based call tracking number, a pop-up menu appears on the salesperson’s screen, providing detailed information about the caller and the keyword used to access the site. Other call information is tracked, such as duration of the call and whether the call resulted in a sale. These metrics can be used to evaluate ROI at the campaign, ad group, and keyword levels.

From an ROI standpoint, it’s hard to beat the power of call tracking as an online marketing measurement tool. According to BIA/Kelsey and ConStat Commerce Monitor, 65% of businesses consider phone calls to be their highest quality lead source. So by accurately gauging the ability of their online ads to generate phone leads, brands gain critical insights that enable them to maximize the potential of some of their most valuable source of sales leads.

Case Studies:  Blue Tent Marketing And Marquis Dental Spa

Blue Tent Marketing is an Internet marketing solutions agency dedicated to helping a range of business clients “win on the web.” The challenge — Blue Tent was finding it increasingly difficult to demonstrate the full effect of their online marketing efforts to their clients. Specifically, Blue Tent clients seemed to have a blind spot regarding the non-click impact of their web-based marketing strategies. To provide their clients with a better picture of online ROI, Blue Tent decided to deploy a call tracking solution for targeted accounts.

One Blue Tent client, TellurideLodging.com, was assigned unique, toll-free phone numbers for individual online marketing channels including email, PPC, banner ads, and event sponsorships. The call tracking solution then produced visibility into the volume of calls by each toll-free number. But more importantly, call tracking enabled TellurideLodging.com to see which online campaigns were actually generating calls and conversions. Over the course of a single month, Google Analytics data indicated a total of 7,300 visits to the client’s website and 31 online transactions (a 0.4% conversion rate). During the same time period, Blue Tent’s online marketing initiatives drove 1,035 phone calls (686 caller IDs) across 19 different toll-free numbers. Of the calls received, 33% were leads, resulting in 75 closed calls (a 33% conversion).

For Blue Tent, the use of call tracking led to a 340% increase in ROI compared to the ROI that would have been reported if they had not relied on a call tracking solution.

Similarly, Marquis Dental Spa, a full-service dental spa offering general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign, and orthodontics was interested in gaining a clearer understanding of the ROI generated by specific ad and marketing campaigns. To accomplish this, Marquis Dental Spa turned to call tracking, assigning more than 250 unique local numbers to ad placements across a range of digital channels including paid search, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Unique local numbers gave them the ability to accurately identify the online source for each phone lead and create solid ROI figures for each digital channel.

After evaluating the insights gleaned from call tracking, Marquis Dental Spa was able to cut their cost per new patient by 50%. Since call tracking revealed that Facebook was the organization’s highest-performing lead source, they reallocated spend to this channel in order to make the most efficient use of their marketing dollars.

Measuring Marketing Impact In A Complex Marketplace

Today’s marketplace is exceptionally complex. Consumers access brands through an ever-widening array of online and offline channels, making it more difficult than ever for marketers to accurately evaluate ROI and the number of leads being driven by specific channels. In many ways, click conversions and phone leads have been treated as parallel outcomes generated by distinct marketing strategies. Unfortunately, this has neglected the role online marketing campaigns have played in driving call leads and boosting non-click conversion rates.

Call tracking solutions bridge the gap between the Internet and the call center. Accurate metrics are important. For marketers and brands interested in capturing precise ROI insights, call tracking is a great tool for gauging the full effect of digital channel performance.

Call Tracking:  The Missing ROI Metric

43% of all search-related conversions happen over the phone

10% increase in CTR for PPC ads with a phone number

56% increase YoY in the % of clicks resulting in phone calls (from Q4 2009-Q4-2010)

65% of businesses consider phone calls their highest quality lead source

(Sources: WebVisible State of Small Business Online Advertising Q4 2010; Forrester Study on behalf of Marchex July 2011; BIA/Kelsey & ConStat Local Commerce Monitor Wave XIII August 2009; AdInsight)

About the Author

As CEO and CTO of Ifbyphone, Irv Shapiro is responsible for overall business strategy and corporate leadership. Irv's successful entrepreneurial experience includes founding Metamor Technologies in 1985 and Edventions in 1999. His business success earned him inductee status with the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

Add Your Comments

  • (will not be published)