Marketing January 9, 2017 Last updated January 6th, 2017 1,541 Reads share

Good Marketer/Bad Marketer: 7 Unforgivable Mistakes PPC Analysts Make When Using Call Tracking

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Having spent a lot of time working with internet marketing agencies and professional PPC analysts, we found out a surprising thing. The majority of marketers still think that call tracking is only a basic tool. That it is fit only for finding out the sources and keywords of inbound calls.  And even worse, some of the professionals still have an outdated idea of the service. Perhaps, it shouldn’t be surprising, as many call tracking services offer only basic features.

Perhaps, it shouldn’t be surprising, as many call tracking services offer only basic features. Yet, there is so much more that an advanced call tracking can provide. By ignoring these features PPC analysts might be making a huge mistake. Let us delve into the specific examples.

Mistake #1. Tracking the total number of calls, without distinguishing target and non-target calls

At first sight, call tracking should focus on helping marketers getting more calls for their clients. However, even more important is to make sure that these calls are target.  It means that they are coming from potential customers. If someone calls to buy a couch but reaches a motor oil store, there will be little value in such call.

Imagine that as a PPC analyst, you have a client who sells tires. The client’s online store does not have rims in stock. However, your client has given you inaccurate information. You had already launched a PPC campaign, in which some keywords attract non-target traffic. Specifically, those who want to buy rims, but not tires. The product niches are close, so when visitors don’t find rims on the website, they call.

In the end, your client receives many calls. And you think that ineffective advertising campaign works, based on the Google Analytics report. The outcome is upsetting: using the data you have, you increase the budget for the campaign. It seems logical, as your client continues to get calls. But the event of the call has turned into a pseudo-metric, which you didn’t even know. So you continue to spend your client’s money on unproductive advertising.

It is like optimizing a website for better ranking, rather than for a conversions boost.

To tackle this problem, you should determine the status of the call. Target calls last longer than non-target ones. Again, let’s use the example of tires business. Non-target call will usually end soon with the short answer: ‘Unfortunately, we don’t have rims, only tires.’ The call length, in this case, is usually under 30 seconds. Instead, potential clients would ask about the product origin, its availability, and delivery options. The length of such calls is usually more than 2 minutes.

Analysts say that setting and viewing reports on target, missed and answered calls is a must. Additionally, it won’t harm to listen to recorded conversations (especially the non-target calls). It will let you know what went wrong (was it spam, trash call or poorly working keys?)

What does a good PPC analyst understand?

  • Not all the calls come from potential clients.
  • Tracking the total number of calls will not show the full picture, unless you break them down into target, non-target, answered or missed call statuses.
  • Tracking only the metrics ‘All Calls’ can lead to wrong conclusions about the efficiency of the advertising campaign and result in its poor optimization.

What does a good analyst do?

  • In the call tracking project settings chooses the length of the target call, considering the client’s business specifics. Sets and tracks minimum 6 important reports:
  1. Target call report
  2. Missed calls report
  3. Call report by channel  
  4. Callback report
  5. Calls received by specific agent to a specific number
  6. Outbound calls report
  • Reviews conversation recordings of the non-target calls and understand what was misleading to the visitors, and optimizes PPC accordingly.

Netpeak Agency says:

‘It is obligatory to view reports for all calls as well as for target calls. The perfect number of target calls should exceed 60%. If the number is less than 50%, it means there is a problem. It can be either advertising campaign or with the business processes.’

Mistake #2: Calculating ROMI for the total number of calls

Let’s get to the next point, which is crucial for assessing the efficiency of an advertising campaign — the ROMI calculation. In general, for calculating ROMI you should concentrate on target calls. Question is, should you account all of them? 

The answer is ‘yes’ if your client’s business is a kind of routine service, such as taxi, where repeated sales are a common occurrence. However, everything is different with real estate, furniture retail or motorbikes, and aerial photography drones stores. In the niches like that, repeat sales are rather rare and the sales cycle intends several contacts over a lengthy period.

Understanding the specific features of different businesses, we propose to transmit unique calls to Google Analytics as a separate event. And moreover, add an event for target calls. 

What does a good PPC analyst understand?

  • Calculating ROMI for the total number of calls is a bad idea.
  • Using repeated calls in the sales cycle will not show the real profitability of the advertising campaign.

What does a good analyst do?

  • Sets sales cycle (number of days) in the call tracking settings, so that repeated, non-target calls in the sales cycle would not be displayed as achieved goals in target calls section.

Having unique calls grouped into separate categories gives our clients the real picture of advertising profitability. More precise statistics are only accessible through the integration of call tracking with CRM or omnichannel analytics services.

Mistake #3. Inaccurate calculation of the price of attracting a target and unique call.

Good marketing agency will not only draw in new leads but also make them cheaper. That is why the conversion price calculation should be as precise as possible. You are not going to get precise analytical data, if you calculate all the marketing activities in general, without breaking them down into separate channels and doing additional analysis. 

Let’s suppose there is one advertising channel that attracts many conversions — Google Analytics report in most cases will show which one exactly. And now imagine that your client has made a beneficial offer to the buyers, so they bought 100 units of a discounted product. The product turned out to be of poor quality and 70 buyers returned it. Google Analytics report will show profits when in reality the company incurred losses. In this case, using Google Analytics for calculating ROMI accurately is impossible. You need other tools, for example, a CRM service. It will display the data on canceled deals and transmit it into the web analytics service.

Of course, not all clients wish to give the data on closed deals to PPC analysts and let them transmit the costs to Google Analytics, however, it is necessary for getting the accurate value of ROMI. 

What does a good PPC analyst understand?

  • Correct calculation of ROMI is impossible without additional analysis and separate tracking all the advertising channels.

What does a good analyst do?

  • Fills the gaps in the analytics, connecting call tracking to CRM services, with the help of data transmission through webhooks or integration via API interface.
  • Assesses the structure of proceeds with the help of CRM and finds weak spots in all the communication channels.
  • Inquires the client about closed deals or persuades the client to set data transmission into the web analytics service, to be able to calculate correctly ROMI.
  • Basing on the data optimizes advertising campaigns with the maximum benefit for the client.

Mistake #4. Ignoring call tracking for optimizing advertising schedule and agents’ work

Call tracking can help you track the quantity of missed and answered calls. But also, to understand the reason behind the high percentage of missed calls (14% is already a lot). Usually, the high percentage of missed calls indicates the wrong scheduling of advertising by day or time of the day, rather than poor work of the agents or call center.

To explain it better let’s use the example of one of our clients who has a tier-selling business. He launches a promotional campaign, selling 4 winter tires for the price of 3. The offer is great for the season; he starts an advertising campaign. One of the channels used is radio, where ads air in prime time between 8 and 9 pm. Radio advertising induces the clients to call whenever they hear the ad. And of course, late in the evening, potential clients would reach no one in the empty office.

Our special report, that allows you to see call distribution by the time of the day, will indicate this problem.

Also, it will enable you to optimize advertising, by removing ads from inconvenient time and shifting them to better suited period. Or instead, you can optimize the schedule of call agents and call center so that during peak hours they would be in the office.

What does the good PPC analyst understand?

  • Tracking the performance of call agents and analyzing missed calls is crucial for increasing the efficiency of the advertising campaign.

What does a good analyst do?

  • Customizes the report on calls by day and time of the day, optimizes advertising schedule, understanding when it is a better time to intensify the campaign and when to slow it down.

Mistake #5. Being sure that keyword tracking is enough for full-fledged analytics

Many PPC analysts still think that keyword tracking is a sufficient for optimizing the advertising campaigns. But various omnichannel analytics services can give so much more information. 

After all, if there is an opportunity to have more data, why not use it?

For example, with the help of a multi-channel funnel report, you will be able to determine the sources of calls and their sequences, which have led to a call.

What does a good PPC analyst understand?

  • Keyword tracking and optimization is not enough for full-fledged analytics and building effective advertising campaign.

What does a good analyst do?

  • Analyses multi-funnel reports; knows which set of advertising channels gives conversions, and with that in mind optimizes advertising campaign.  

Mistake #6. Not using dynamic content substitution or using it without a/b testing

Bringing targeted traffic to an e-commerce site is just a part of the task. Even more important is to retain the attention of the potential buyer, the interest in staying on the website and purchasing from it.

For this purpose, marketers use landing pages, which correspond to the search query of the visitor in the best possible way. But what if there are lots of search queries and there’s only one landing page? And what if the site sells several thousand products in numerous categories?

But even if there is only one product, clients can use many different search queries to find it. Often users don’t know the proper label of the product or its name is too long and complicated. No one will look for ‘smart telephone watch with GPS-tracker for distance control over the child’s safety’ (and that is exactly how the manufacturer labeled the product on the website.) More probably users will search ‘watches with a telephone for children’, ‘smart watches for children’, or ‘GPS tracker for child.’ How to deal with it?  

All these tasks can be solved by using the services that offer dynamic content insertion option (the likes of Optimizely.) In practice, this allows selling several product categories from the same landing page or promoting one product using different keywords. The site visitor will see the content (headings, text, and even pictures) that correlate with the search query in the best possible way. Meanwhile, headings substitution can be done through simple manipulations in Google Tag Manager.

Additionally, integration of dynamic content insertion services with call tracking enables call analysis. You will be able to see the number of calls for each dynamic insertion option, rather than conversions through the online form only. This is especially important in a business model with a lot of phone calls. Integration enables data aggregation into simple tables and possibility of a/b testing (defining the degree in which a specific option is more attractive than the original.)

What does a good PPC analyst understand?

  • Dynamic content insertion gives a great advantage of selling different product categories using one landing page. Adaptable content will not be effective without testing and analytics, including analysis of telephone calls.

What does a good PPC specialist do?

  • Sets Ringostat integration with a dynamic content insertion service;
  • Researches the efficiency of adaptable landings and tests different versions of content, taking into account both online and offline conversions.

Mistake #7. Ignoring additional instruments for analytics

Working with data is essential for web analytics. The wider data spectrum gets, the more precise analytics become. It is understood by every PPC and marketing analyst. Of course, not every business model requires omnichannel analytics, which can produce a large data set. For a small business that has a narrow client base, it would be enough to customize data export from Google Analytics (or CRM) and call tracking into Google Spreadsheets. Then it is possible to make calculations either manually or with the help of built-in formulas. Ideally, the expenditure for analytics does not have to exceed 10% -30% of company’s advertising budget.

Nowadays, quality web analytics can be done with the tools like Woopra, Kissmetrics, and OWOX.

Woopra is the web analytics and statistics platform. It researches the visitors’ behavior in real time: who are they, which source has brought them and how they work with the website, etc.

Kissmetrics is an analytics platform for advanced statistics. With its help, you can get each user’s full timeline on the website and receive data in real time. As well, Kissmetrics allows constructing various funnels and model the behavior of various user types.

The OWOX platform enables working with larger data sets, understanding the value of each user session and getting a more objective picture. OWOX allows distributing analytics for each product group and device type. Additionally, with OWOX you can export call tracking data from Google Analytics to Google BigQuery and get required calculations in a couple of minutes.

What does a good PPC analyst understand?

  • More analytical data makes advertising campaign more effective

What does a good analyst do?

  • Connects call tracking to Kissmetrics/Woopra/OWOX and other advanced web analytics platforms.


Let us sum up. What mistakes you should avoid when using call tracking services?

  • analysing the total number of calls without distinguishing target and non-target calls
  • defining the efficiency of advertising campaign by calculating the total number of calls and not excluding repeat calls
  • calculating ROMI without tracking each advertising channel separately
  • ignoring the advantages of call tracking for optimization of advertising and the work of call agents
  • being sure that keyword research is enough for full-fledged analytics
  • not using dynamic number insertion or using it without a/b testing
  • ignoring advanced analytical instruments

The major thing to remember: tracking the source of call down to the keyword is not the only function call tracking can offer. This kind of service can give you far more for quality web analytics.

As confirmed by the professionals we have interviewed, for receiving accurate data and efficient optimization of advertising campaigns, it is crucial to consider the following:

  • you should track not only the general number of calls, but make distinction between target and non-target calls;
  • customize sales cycles in the settings, in order to filter out repeated calls;
  • when calculating ROMI, analyze every advertising channel separately and connect the call tracking to CRM;
  • optimize advertising schedule, working with reports by the time of the day and days of the week;
  • analyze multi-channel report to understand which advertising channels work and which need optimization;
  • use dynamic content insertion and do the a/b testing;
  • use advanced analytics platforms that can work with larger data sets.

This is the professional approach to call tracking (and web analytics in general). It brings effective advertising optimization and maximum benefit for the clients of internet marketing agencies. Choosing to ignore these tools can bring poor results and drive the clients away.

Image: Composite image of cheerful smart call center agent working while posing

Julia Holovko

Julia Holovko

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