The Marchex Blog

Call Tracking and Call Analytics: The Basics

You may have heard of call tracking or call analytics but aren’t sure what it means for your marketing. Marketers need data to understand and improve the performance of their initiatives. While digital tactics typically come with metrics included, offline tactics such as phone calls and texts, are measured with Call (or Conversation) Analytics. For instance, conversation data can help a marketer learn which channel drives the most calls and the highest-quality calls, which are not always the same.

When customers begin their research online, the next step is often a phone call for more personalized information. Call outcomes don’t show in digital metric platforms, so there can be a blind spot into the customer journey as a result. Call analytics are key metrics from phone calls that can shed light on this blind spot.

Calls can be analyzed individually, when businesses want to understand what happened on a particular call, or they can be reviewed collectively when the goal is to learn the source of a call and how a call impacts a business. Calls are inevitably part of the path to purchase when a customer is considering a particular products or service, and savvy marketers can use this first-party data to optimize their marketing.

The importance of marketing attribution

Call Analytics measures marketing performance related to driving phone calls. By attributing inbound calls to the marketing program that drove the call, marketers gain attribution, a key to measuring success. By understanding which channels perform, you can refine your marketing mix, improve your return on ad spend and get credit for the leads you are generating.

How call tracking works

Call tracking is the technology that procures relevant data from calls. First, assign specific phone numbers to the marketing channel or asset you want to collect data from. For example, if you wanted to know which channel was delivering the most calls, you would add a call tracking number to all the channels you use for your campaign or initiative. To get the level of granularity you’re looking for, you may have different numbers for your website, click-to-call or paid search ads, direct mail, etc. Then, you can compare the number of calls to each tracking line and learn which channel drives the highest-quality calls. Here’s how:

  1. Procure call tracking numbers from a call tracking provider
  2. Insert call tracking numbers into your marketing properties or assets
  3. Review call data and learn from your results

Businesses that can benefit from Call Analytics

If your business has an inbound phone channel for sales calls, it should consider a call tracking and call analytics solution. When you derive revenue from calls, understanding where your high-value calls come from is paramount to optimizing your marketing efforts. For example, your business can likely benefit if you use click-to-call ads or call extensions in paid search. When mobile searchers are ready to take the next step, they are most likely to call directly from the search results since it’s the simplest next step. These calls can and should be tracked so you can learn which ad groups, ads or keywords are driving calls that convert. Certain industries are more likely to invest in Call Analytics given the nature of their business. See our article highlighting 10 Industries That Need Call Tracking to learn more.

How businesses can improve the performance of inbound call channels

Once you deploy call tracking on your phone and text lines, you can see which channels your prospects are responding to. With that information, you will likely learn that all channels and assets are not created equal. Next, you want to adjust your budget to favor the higher-performing channels and remove budget from channels or ads that don’t perform. As you refine your marketing mix in favor of your better channels, you are likely to see more inbound leads for your same budget. Since some of these additional opportunities are likely to convert, you will also see a boost in revenue.