What is Call Tracking?


Call tracking is the process of determining where your callers are coming from and how they found your business. Marketing and sales teams can use call tracking data to measure the success of advertising campaigns and optimise future marketing strategy.

When did call tracking start?

Call tracking has been around in a simple form for a number of years. While it was rudimentary compared to current methods, businesses have always been asking, “How did you hear about us?” to first time callers and writing it down on a piece of paper for many years! By asking their customers how they discovered the company, business owners could attribute the client to specific campaigns. Fast forward to today, and many businesses still use the “how did you hear about us?” method to determine what is driving the most calls and new customers.

Call tracking software has evolved since the phone was first used for businesses, and there are now more advanced ways to determine how a lead found your business’s phone number and which advertising channel caught your customers eye.

How has call tracking evolved?

Asking a caller how they got your phone number leads to information about which of a company’s campaigns are performing well, but it could also lead to misattribution. Chances are, the customer probably had more than one touchpoint before converting and making the call. Their answer to how they got your information is typically the last touchpoint they encountered (and majority of the time they usually just say Google :) ) This is called “last touch attribution” and gives 100% of the credit for a sale or a conversion to the last touchpoint a customer encountered.

Early call tracking software allowed marketers to set tracking numbers for their marketing campaigns and count how many calls each campaign brought in. Each type of campaign – online and offline – got its own tracking number. Newspaper ads had a different number than billboards or radio ads - whilst PPC ads had different numbers than those from the company’s website. The number the customer called showed which source drove the conversion.

However, fast forward to today, and we know a customers path to purchase is much more complex than it once was. What if a customer see’s your Facebook ad, then searches your business on Google, clicks a PPC ad and then finally calls from your local Google My Business listing?

The solution is multi channel attribution. Modern call tracking software uses cookies and dynamic number insertion to track online activity and measure the customers journey in more detail. Assigning a unique tracking number to each offline marketing channel is still used today, and allows business owners to see how many interactions a customer has with their business, and the different advertising sources - online or offline - they are engaging with. This all-encompassing tracking allows businesses to work toward a better overall picture of their marketing efforts and what’s driving leads. Much better than the “how did you hear about us?” days!

Who should use call tracking?

Call tracking works well for any industry that relies on inbound calls for sales enquiry, including automotive, healthcare, marketing agencies, home and professional services and directories. Large enterprise businesses trying to track sales and marketing data and small businesses looking to improve their local SEO both can benefit from call tracking software. Essentially any business that is running multiple campaigns and looking to see where their traffic and leads originated from.

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