This summer, Eric Enge posted on SEW an article entitled A Call for Call Tracking. This week it looks like it has been answered. Both Google AdWords and Marin Software have announced solutions to track phone conversions and attribute their source to paid search campaigns. This is great news for local business chains and companies that have a more complex sales process. It's also good news for marketers battling for bigger search marketing budgets against other channels such as outdoor and TV because it will make it easier to attribute some offline conversions to paid search campaigns.
AdWords Call Metrics Now Available at Campaign Level
Previously part of the Google Ad Innovations program AdWords call metrics is now being made available to more advertisers to track the number of phone calls an AdWords campaign generates. Built on the technology behind Google Voice, call metrics assigns a unique phone number to your campaign and automatically inserts it into both mobile and desktop ads. On smart phones this ad will even be clickable, so users can make a call immediately without dialing the number. According to their post, these phone calls seem to be attributed to the campaign level, rather than the keyword or ad group level:
When a user calls the number in your ad, the call is automatically routed to your business, and AdWords notes that this call took place. Then, when you look at your AdWords reports, you'll see the number of calls generated by each campaign, call duration, and in the near future, caller area code. You'll still only pay for clicks on your ads, but we intend to charge for call metrics in the future.
Paid Search Call Metrics Available at a Keyword Level
Yesterday Marin Software announced a new product, CallTrack, which is open platform for optimizing paid search campaigns to drive ROI improvements from call center activity and purchases. The platform seamlessly integrates with existing in-house and third party call tracking solutions, such as Century Interactive, Clickpath, MarchEx Call Analytics, and Mongoose Metrics, which means that marketers using would not need to invest in new call tracking software.
Matt Lawson, vice president of marketing for Marin Software, also told us that CallTrack works at a keyword level and will track calls from paid search ads across all search engines and can also track calls originating from Facebook.
Why Do Marketers Need Call Tracking?
As Enge highlights in his article, some marketers are finding a 3:1, 4:1 and even 10:1 response ratios in favor of calls, a metric which Lawson echoed, citing 2x to 3x more conversions via an offline channel for some industries. Furthermore certain keywords are more likely to drive offline conversions than online - for instance 'find a dentist' versus 'find a dentist online' shows that users are somewhat qualifying themselves as to the kind of conversion they are likely to make. And it's not just small local businesses that this applies to, the auto industry and financial services industry both show a propensity towards customers using search terms which 'self select' whether to shop online, by phone or in person.
Call tracking is not necessarily for everybody, but if you're a company who has a complex sales process, for example selling a product with customization or you can drive more profit by "upselling" add-ons, then these two new services from Google AdWords and Marin Software have the potential to make your search engine marketing spend that much more effective.