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Bridging The Gap Between Phone Calls & Analytics in 2014

by Tommy Walker

Look at you, the Smart Marketer: setting up heat maps, using conversion tags, being all innovative with your email marketing, and using smart retargeting techniques.

You understand the importance of page flow and designing with emotion. If your website were a real-life store, they’d block off main street because there are so many people dying to get in.

You’re just that good. You’re the growth-hacking, data-driven Fonzie of online marketing, and there is just no stopping you.

So, let me ask you one simple question.

What happens to your data if someone picks up the phone to call you?


What Web Analytics Alone Can Never Tell You

All that work analyzing click data to optimize your sales funnel and A/B testing pages is undermined the moment a web visitor does the most human call to action possible—they call you.

You don’t know what pages they visited. You don’t know if they’re an email subscriber. You don’t know if they’ve bought anything or if they have a vendetta.

It’s just you, them and those first few moments of dead air where you have no idea what they’ve been exposed to or why they might be calling.

For as detailed as web analytics get, they’ll never pinpoint the pages that generate the most calls. On their own, web analytics will never tell you every single piece of content the caller has looked at, or how often they’ve visited your site, or exactly what page they’re looking at the moment they become brave enough call.

Who cares? You could reason it all away. Say these metrics—that phone calls themselves—don’t matter. You may even be right.

But then again, inbound phone calls are 10-15 x more likely to convert.  So there’s that.

Are you really leaving that much money on the table?

Do You Have To Sacrifice Analytics On Phone Leads?

Fortunately, you don’t have to.

There’s a little-known technology called call tracking that generates a unique phone number for everyone who comes to your website.

When a visitor calls, their online behavior leading up to the call is captured, such as referral domain or search engine, ad clicked, and landing page visited.

With call tracking, you know the keywords that drive the most phone leads, which pages prompt the most phone calls, and when someone’s viewing your website from their desktop, mobile phone or tablet—all very powerful data that closes the loop on phone calls and analytics.

With this information, you can address common questions on key pages, adapt your phone sales strategy for visitor’s coming from social media, organic, or paid search, and any other number of optimization techniques to make inbound calls a more profitable marketing method.

The Case For Paying More Attention To Inbound Calls

Still not convinced that inbound calls are worth looking into?

Let’s look at what happens when someone fills out an email form and signals they’d like you to call them.

A study by M.I.T and revealed that the average company takes 1 day, 18 hours & 15 minutes to respond to an email lead by phone.

That’s like walking into a shoe store, asking the sales rep to tell you about a pair of shoes, and them asking you to wait until tomorrow night.

Think of the speed of which things move on the internet, if your prospect says they want to get in touch, they want to talk now.

You’ll be shocked to learn your chances of making contact drops by 100% within the first 5-1o minutes from when the visitor enters their information.


image source

Even worse, if you haven’t contacted the lead within an hour, they’re 6 times less likely to become qualified. 

In other words, when you’re not talking to leads right away, you waste about 92% of your time and budget.

On the bright side, the research found that when leads are contacted within 30 minutes, they’re 21 times more likely to be qualified, and 100 times more likely to be reached.

And just to re-iterate, this if you’re calling them. 

How much more powerful do you think this be if they were calling you?

100% Contact Rate, 2x Conversions Over Form Leads

This case study by my favorite call tracking company Invoca tells the story of how their client Edufficient achieved a 100% contact rate with inbound phone leads and how inbound phone calls doubled the conversions of form leads.

That may not seem like much until you realize that “conversion” for Edufficient is enrolling students into college programs.

It’s even more impressive when you learn that 51% of colleges report being dissatisfied with the transparency of their lead data and are unhappy about the lack of exclusive leads.

transparency-in-education-lead-generationWhat I like about this case study is that it goes beyond call tracking on websites and shows how Edufficient uses the technology to generate unique phone numbers for affiliates to use with Google’s “Click-To-Call” ad extension.

If you’re unfamiliar with Click-To-Call, it’s a mobile-only advertising extension Google rolled out in 2011 that works just like PPC, with a few major differences.

First, when a user clicks the ad, they’re instantly connected with your business over the phone. Google reports Click-To-Call producing up to 30% more conversions than standard mobile ads.

Second, you’re only charged if someone calls. For Edufficient, this allowed them to focus their ad spend on the keywords that delivered hyper-qualified phone leads. In return, they’ve seen up to 200% improvement in lead quality.

Will Call Tracking Be Right For Me?

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?

Before you know if any new technology is going to work for your business, you should know the industry benchmarks to determine if it’s going to be right for you.

Fortunately, this study shows the average conversion of website visitors to inbound callers generated by the call tracking numbers found on the website.


image source

Looking at these numbers, it’s easy to think home services (think roofers, landscapers, plumbers, etc.) have it good and e-commerce has it bad, but you’d have to consider all of the factors that make inbound calls a more profitable channel for your business.

With e-commerce specifically, 2013 was the year mobile surpassed desktops with 55% of all time spent on e-commerce sites happening on a mobile device.

Problem is, 90% of shoppers will switch screens to complete the task. So, if you notice mobile shoppers have higher cart abandonment rates, it’s worth emphasizing the value of a call tracking number on the page for them to complete the order over the phone.

Regardless, with each industry seeing positive conversion and with Google reporting 20% of customers calling at the “moment of truth, 53% of marketers reporting NOT using call tracking, and a general sense that call-in leads are more valuable,  the question is, Smart Marketer, are you willing to let those phone leads go to waste?

Does Call Tracking Integrate With My Existing CRM & Automation Tools?

If you do use call tracking, it should integrate with your existing CRM & marketing automation tools.

With a little work (or a Zapier integration), many call-tracking vendors do have the ability to sync with popular services.

But my favorite out of the box is Invoca, because they already have apps on the SalesForce marketplace and are partnered with Hubspot, Marketo, Tealium, Cake Performance Marketing, and they’re actively growing their list of integrated partners. Also, it doesn’t hurt that SalesForce’s VP Brett Queener on their Board.
With the Salesforce integration, you can take call tracking beyond the web to create campaign specific numbers and track leads coming from offline sources like print, TV, or radio, as well as online video.

For online leads, you can also see the keywords your caller used, the pages they’ve visited, and whether or not the caller is an email subscriber on a lead-by-lead basis. All of this can be used to make sales reps more informed and generate higher revenues.

So, Smart Marketer, What Next?

The question is, can you ignore one of the fastest growing sources of trackable, scalable revenue out there?

With inbound sales calls estimated to be worth 4.17 billion dollars in revenue in 2014, wouldn’t you like to know where those calls are coming from?

After all, you are a data-driven marketing genius.  Can you afford to let one of the most elusive metrics slip by?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Tommy Walker.



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Tommy Walker

Tommy Walker is an online marketing strategist, show host, and prolific guest blogger specializing in highly effective, counter-intuitive approaches to online marketing. He seeks to expand your thinking on what's possible with online content.

Check out his approach on guest post landing pages, and get a free copy of The Top Ten Content Marketing Strategy Mistakes by clicking here.


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  1. February 19, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Call tracking is a boon for organizations to get pin point customer location and including much more features in which we can record call and logged at real time and take clear pictur of our customers with analytics.

    • February 20, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Agreed. It’s amazing what you can learn if you take time to collect the data! Thanks for sharing, Shawn.

  2. Joseph says:
    July 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Nice artice man
    but to be honest – tracking phone calls woth changing phone numbers is an old and inefficient mothod that definittly suit my business

    i use to track my phone calls and to know from which keywords clients are calling my business – works perfectly

    • Neil Patel says:
      July 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Joseph, awesome! Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  3. January 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I’m surprised to see Legal and Professional Services are at ~5% conversion from a visitor to an inbound call. I’m guessing it depends on what kind of web site it is and quality of visitors.

    For such local service businesses almost all of their new leads come in through a phone call. Even when I’m shopping for a roofer or a car mechanic, I’d rather call because I want to make a decision right away. Unfortunately it is true that submitting on online form will usually mean getting a calll 24-48 hours later when I’ve already forgotten what I asked about.

    We run call tracking and lead management service at For most of our clients main goal of advertising is to generate calls so we’re actually seeing upwards of 25% visitor to call conversion rate, given that all visitor traffic is well-qualified coming from a PPC or some type of other ad.

    On the comment about decrease in phone usage, that may be true for some industries but not so for the local services. Even if I want to tweet my bank to help me answer a question, I’d still rather call to schedule for my HVAC maintenance.

    All in all, this is a great industry development, it is interesting to have seen the growth of some companies in 2013, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 is going to bring about!

  4. Henry Johnson says:
    January 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I guess I put my foot in my mouth but I would be interested in reading more statistics around this. This company looks like it has a lot of upside.

  5. Henry Johnson says:
    January 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm


    I am just learning about Invoca after watching a video about Mark Suster and I do find it interesting. I believe that analytics is the future of marketing and marketing automation will be a large part of how the path is paved.

    My concern in regard to Invoca is where human nature is going. It seems to me that year over year people are using their telephones less and less. This make me wonder if Invoca is a solution that makes great sense today but will not be viable in the future. What do you think? How do you think the steady decrease in phone usage will affect Invoca? Do you think something of this nature will be sustainable in the mass market?

    • Tommy Walker says:
      January 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Lol, I’m glad you came across that infographic because it explains a lot.

      This one too

      I’m pretty sure that all the statistics behind mobile phone usage, and phone usage in general indicate that things are growing.

      Consider also the research behind mobile e-commerce growing, with an estimated 61.1% of ecommerce projected to happen over mobile in 2014, and mobile to overtake desktop ecommerce in just a couple years, I think the opportunity here is huge.

      A big part of it comes down to how willing WE are as marketers to re-think the entire shopping experience. I hate to say it, but from my rough assesment of the market place, for the first time Marketers have been outpaced by technology and user behavior.

      I’m shocked by the amount of e-tailors who don’t have a mobile optimized experience, making it easier for mobile visitors to browse the site. Or worse, shopping carts that aren’t appropriate for mobile phones.

      Ask yourself, how much more willing to shop on your phone would you be, if the checkout process weren’t such a pain in the ass? Even better, how much more likely would you be to buy if you knew you could add things to your cart on the phone, then call and speak to a real live human being to check out.

      It’d be like Amazon meets ordering a Pizza.

      From the company’s side utilizing call tracking in that process, they’d be able to assign personalized phone numbers to each visitor, display only to mobile users, and track the exact effectiveness of what a hybrid of online shopping & order over the phone would be.

      In turn, they could improve their ad strategy to attract more phone shoppers and scale the whole process up.

      Anyhow… I’m excited by the technology, and I think there’s a HUGE untapped potential here, as long as we can understand user behavior and design for what they actually do, and not what we think they should do.

  6. David Lyon says:
    January 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Great article, I’m amazed at how many smart marketing teams let calls slip through the cracks. The start up I worked with years ago adopted call tracking as part of the effort to be an A-Z online marketing solution for SMBs. Tracking phone calls and reporting them in a sharp dashboard took “accountability in online markting” to a whole new level for them and for us. Yodle aquired that business (ProfitFuel) and was doing the same thing with a PPC focused offer. Call tracking and tying it back to ROI is a critical component of their amazing success (watch for a nice IPO soon). Most recently during my time at Trada (crowsourced ppc) we leveraged call tracking on landing pages, tying conversions (calls of a certian duration for example) to keywords, adcopy, landing pages etc to great benefit, also in higher ed. Don’t miss the boat on some of the highest quality leads and don’t miss the point about response times if you on the sales side!

    • Tommy Walker says:
      January 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Hey David, thanks for sharing your experience with call tracking!

      I was amazed at how much of a rabbit hole it all is once you really get into it, so it’s great to hear someone else’s experience and how you’re using it.

      Out of curiousity, do you know off hand what the % of improvement through the call channel once you started implementing it? I’ve heard of crazy lifts where people saying their call volume goes up by 80%, I’m curious to know if that’s pretty consistant.

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