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Call Tracking, Processes, and Impact On Paid Search (Part 1)

Joel Maldonado April 2, 2014 Category Paid Search (PPC)

Call tracking is a big part of performance marketing. Businesses that are able to track offline leads have a better shot at arriving at a true ROI. At Path we have a variety of both, national and local clients, that rely on our call tracking technology to track offline leads. Call Path, otherwise known as our “secret sauce”, allows us to attribute offline call leads to specific campaigns, keywords, and creatives.

Every single one of us has called a company and heard that wonderful message letting us know that this call will be recorded for quality assurance. By now we most certainly have tuned that out. I used to think, “There’s no way they record every single call”. As a person that now spends time listening to those calls I can testify that this message is NOT a bluff. Companies do record calls, and they do listen to them. Which brings me to my next question? What does quality assurance really mean? Well, at Path it means making sure we are using this data to optimize our advertising efforts.

There are several things I look for during my quality assurance sessions. My first objective is to determine whether calls are real people or just spam. Obviously you don’t want to look at data and see a certain keyword is generating lots of leads, only to later discover it was all spam. It’s a bad habit to manage a campaign based on erroneous data and quite frankly, spam doesn’t make clients happy.

Next, I look at where the calls are originating from. Best practice dictates that you should dedicate separate lines to specific campaigns, landing pages, call extensions, etc. This should help you understand what is driving those call leads. Once you’re armed with that info you can tailor your strategy accordingly. For example if the majority of your leads are coming from the call extension, you may want to be more aggressive with your ad positioning. If your leads are primarily coming from your landing pages, it would be wise to maximize click volume by trying lower positions and paying less for each click you receive.

My 3rd objective is to pay close attention the nature of each inquiry. What are leads calling about? Are these the type of leads my client is interested in capturing? Does my keyword strategy and creative material align with the wants and needs of these prospective buyers? These are important questions you should be asking yourself while performing quality assurance for your clients. This information can help you determine whether you are reaching the right people or throwing money away.

It can also help you determine new targeting material that should be considered or excluded, in the same way search query reports provide insight on keywords that need to be added or excluded from a campaign. For example, let’s say you have a furniture client that receives tons of calls about a popular office chair. Your campaign contains general keywords focus on chairs, desks, lamps etc. However, you notice that leads are specifically asking for the “Sierra Series 2 Chair”. Adding this keyword to your campaign could increase call activity while driving down costs by targeting more specific searchers. Furthermore, searchers looking for a specific chair are likely farther down the sales funnel then users looking for office chairs.

Some of you may be thinking, it would be nice to have sophisticated call tracking technology at my disposal, but Google AdWords offers some of that for free now that they don’t charge for forwarding numbers. You’re right. Google has made strides with call tracking technology, but it isn’t wise to rely on just one source for this type of data.  Here at Path we noticed that Google forwarding numbers do not always display. Upon further research we discovered that Google forwarding numbers only display once a certain number of impressions are reached. If that’s your only data source, you could be missing out on some valuable insights. More importantly, Google doesn’t record those calls. They could be real people or it could be spam.

This is all vital information and can be the difference between success stories and failures. Path Interactive is already set up with the call tracking technology and expertise you need to get the most out of your ad spend. Contact Path Interactive today and request a proposal.

Stay tuned for next week’s post!

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