Sign up for weekly recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
Searching For Answers To Phone Leads: What Channel Drove Calls?
When a business receives a call from a potential new customer, a slew of questions immediately pop up:
How did they find us? Which search engine or ad drove the call? Did they visit our website first? Did they make a purchase as a result of the call?
A business that can quickly answer these questions and extract relevant call details and caller demographic information is equipped to measure the effectiveness of their online and offline advertising programs and immediately funnel the feedback into its current campaigns to help drive future quality leads.
The key to gathering this important data is capturing full detail regarding the customer’s research and behaviors that occurred before the call, what was discussed or discovered about the customer during the call, and what happened after the call ended. By proactively monitoring this full call lifecycle, companies will have a complete picture of how their advertising programs are (or aren’t) driving phone leads.
In this article and future pieces, I would like to address each phase —pre-call metrics, real-time call data, and post-call analytics—and how companies can bridge the online-offline information gap, starting with pre-call intelligence based on search behavior and website data.
Where Did The Lead Begin?
Identifying the origin of a call may seem straightforward, but drawing a line from a particular online ad or search campaign to a resulting call is often elusive.
The reason? Consumers frequently engage in multiple forms of research before making contact with a business—many of which include specific online behaviors that culminate with a phone call to the business. In fact, 83% of people who search online for a product or service ultimately contact a business offline.
By capturing consumer engagement points prior to a call—using call measurement tools—companies can tie their online and offline activities back to the original media source for a comprehensive view of where online leads are truly generated.
Putting The Pieces Together: What Happened Before The Call?
Placing call tracking numbers within ad or search campaigns provides an anchor for companies to track all relevant consumer behavior that results. For example, results may show that a phone lead was driven from the company’s website, but it is helpful to know what drove that website visit in the first place, e.g., paid search keyword, banner ad, SEM campaign.
Call tracking numbers associated with the original media source will dynamically populate throughout a company’s website (including landing pages) once the user clicks on the website link in the ad or search result, revealing the true lead source once a call is placed.
The company can take this data a step further to track which pages of their website were visited prior to a call being placed. This exercise provides key intelligence on data such as whether the person looked at product inventory, found driving directions, clicked on coupons, or filled out a form before contacting the business.
Additionally, if the website visit stemmed from a search engine results page, the data can be used to determine which keyword searches drove the site visit. These types of insights can help a company optimize its website, ads, search keywords, vertical markets—even ad copy and creative concepts—based on areas that are getting the best traction.
Proper Attribution Is Key For Sound Ad Strategy
Proper lead attribution is paramount for anyone trying to optimize their ad strategy and performance, but it is especially critical for advertising resellers and publishers who use multiple distribution partners to service both large franchises and small businesses.
These media sellers can use call tracking to help determine which distribution partners are delivering strong results.
For example, if a publisher contracts with 10 distribution partners to generate advertiser traffic for the Florist category and implements call tracking with dynamic number insertion (so the web site auto-populates with call tracking numbers), then the publisher can see when various ads are served up on different sites and determine which calls to advertisers were driven by these ads.
This visibility presents a significant cost savings opportunity to weed out low-performing distributors. It also gives publishers with their own online properties a sense of how well they are driving offline leads. This feedback enables them to improve their own properties for better performance before resorting to external lead purchases to be resold to customers.
Pre-Call Routing For Targeted Service
Particularly beneficial for large national advertisers is the ability to automatically route calls to a particular geographic business location based on the caller’s area code. This pre-call step allows advertisers to use call measurement while giving consumers personalized service that is proactively handled by their closest location.
For example, if a consumer searches Google for auto repair services, finds a national brand and calls the number listed in the paid search ad (call tracking number), he or she will be automatically routed to their local franchise location.
For large companies, this step is also helpful in determining which national or regional SEM campaigns drove calls in a particular market.
Whether advertisers or advertising sellers are looking for simplified metrics or need to drill down into specific areas for analysis, call tracking technologies can provide both in a way that paints a clear picture of advertising performance and correctly attributes lead sources.
Gaining an accurate and complete view of how a company’s online and offline advertising activities are driving leads provides a vital foundation for ensuring every aspect of its advertising program is optimized—enabling them to rise above the competition and drive the most quality leads possible.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.