How does call tracking work?

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If you’re in marketing, it’s likely you’re tracking leads using forms on your website. But if your ads, emails, or landing pages include a phone number, you may be missing out on credit for leads that come in through a call (or text). Depending on your industry, callers can be the most motivated leads. Call tracking helps complete the full picture of the customer journey and shows you how each campaign is performing.


Call tracking 101

Call tracking at the most basic level is pretty simple – it’s using a unique phone number for each marketing campaign to tell calls from each campaign apart.

For example, Atlanta Auto currently spends money on online marketing like Google Ads and offline marketing in the form of direct mail to help generate leads to their business. Atlanta Auto’s marketers want to make sure their phone leads are being tracked, so they purchase two unique phone numbers from their call tracking provider: one for Google Ads and one for direct mail.


How phone call tracking works:

  • Atlanta Auto launches both campaigns using tracking phone numbers instead of their main business line.
  • When a potential customer sees one of those marketing campaigns and calls the number, that call will be forwarded to Atlanta Auto’s main business number (unbeknownst to the customer)
  • Not only will Atlanta Auto’s marketing team be able to generate reports that show which campaign is generating inbound calls, but they will also be able to see logs of their calls with the following details:
    • The caller’s name, telephone number, and location (from caller ID data)
    • The source of the call (manually set by the marketer, ie ‘Google Ads’ or ‘Direct Mail Spring 2020’)
    • The recording of the call
      • + Transcription, with AI-powered highlights provided for quick scanning
    • The caller’s timeline
      • This includes previous calls and texts from this person
      • Tags that categorize these interactions and notes on previous interactions with this customer


Ready for more?

It gets a lot more fun and fancy from here. Let’s talk about leads interacting with your website.

Dynamic number insertion, or DNI, is a method of advanced call tracking on your website. You install a snippet of code on your website (or CallRail’s convenient WordPress plugin) that’s connected to a pool of phone numbers. As visitors come to your site, each person sees a different phone number (dynamically swapping out your main phone number on each page). When they dial that phone number, call tracking providers tie each visitor’s session data to that unique phone number when they call.

note: CallRail’s script for DNI doesn’t affect NAP consistency! Your main phone number still exists in the code of your webpage (and search engines index this HTML code). If a search engine crawler like Googlebot renders the javascript, they render the main phone number too. Other visitors see a dynamic call tracking number.

Have a WordPress or Wix website? We’ve got you covered with call tracking plugins.

With DNI, Atlanta Auto will get more details on their landing page leads without having to set up each campaign individually. Now leads that call from any ad will be associated in the call log with their sessions on the Atlanta Auto site – including landing page parameters, referring sites, etc. Instead of having one unique tracking number per campaign, now each visitor is (temporarily) given a unique tracking number for their use only, so the call tracking provider can identify them and provide even richer data. This gives Atlanta Auto marketers proof that a ppc ad generated leads, even if the lead didn’t call until sessions or days after originally clicking the ad!


With DNI, your call tracking software should be able to get you all the data above, plus:

  • The source of the visitor (dynamically populated based on digital fingerprints, ie. session data: Google Organic, Direct, Google Paid, Facebook, etc)
  • Paid Search Keywords & Campaigns (dynamically populated from valuetrack parameters and Google Ads integration)
  • The visitor session data
    • Referrer
    • Landing page
    • Pages visited
    • Active page during the call
    • The device and browser the caller used
  • The caller’s advanced timeline including session data
    Previous calls / texts / form submissions
    Previous sessions (whether or not they resulted in a call / text / form submission)

With DNI, you can report on all the marketing touchpoints a specific lead interacted with before converting, so your efforts will still get credited even if the lead saw your ad weeks before contacting you.

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With this granular data, Atlanta Auto has insight into specific details on the customer journey of a lead. They can see reporting on which ads, marketing channels, campaigns, emails, keywords, and pages are converting best, empowering them to make decisions on where to focus time and money to get the most leads. For example, maybe an ‘Atlanta Auto Cares’ campaign was very successful at the top of the funnel, getting people to click and visit the website for the first time. Many of these visitors returned later to look at the services list, some calling in and some booking an appointment online at some point in the next month. With call tracking, the ‘Atlanta Auto Cares’ campaign gets credit for all those leads!


How savvy marketers use their call tracking data

Marketers prove additional value by connecting previously untracked phone call leads to marketing campaigns. Call tracking software like CallRail integrate with a number of different softwares, so marketers see improved data accuracy across platforms (Google Ads, Facebook, HubSpot, Salesforce, and many more). Attribution, CPL (cost per lead), and ROI (return on interest) reporting becomes more accurate, allowing you to make key decisions on your ad spend to optimize future returns.



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