Search And Call Measurement: An Advanced Placement Class

If you’re the marketing director of a business that relies in some way on phone calls to drive new sales or set appointments, you’re probably already using call extensions in your search program.  After all, more than $65 billion is spent annually across media to generate consumer calls to businesses, according to a recent report by research firm BIA/Kelsey.

If you’re unfamiliar with call extensions -- the term for the call icon and clickable phone number that appear as part of a sponsored result in mobile search -- then check out our tips and best practices, which appeared here on Search Insider last summer.  Consider this article a follow-up to that, with today’s focus being on three key steps to help make the most out of call-driven campaigns:

1.     Understand which phone calls are from prospects and which phone calls are from existing customers. You’ve probably figured out that short phone calls are unlikely to have produced a sale, or could be a signal of low consumer intent.  But how should you evaluate longer phone calls?  Unfortunately for marketers, looking at duration alone is not enough information to tell you if someone was calling to sign up for your product or to complain about a lack of service (or even worse, cancel!).



One of the best ways to improve your investment in search marketing is to understand the percentage of phone calls generated by campaign and by keyword that are from prospects.  An IVR, or phone tree, is a great tool in a marketer’s arsenal to understand this level of consumer intent.  Call centers are often challenged to provide IVR data back to marketers that can be tied to search campaigns, and so advanced search marketers will typically turn to a call measurement or call analytics product.

Call analytics products allow marketers to place a tracking phone number in media assets, such as search campaigns, that include a built-in IVR.  When a consumer clicks on a search campaign with that tracking number, they can be hear a message like “Thank you for calling Best Cable, press 1 for new service and press 2 if you are a current customer.”  When the consumer presses 1 or 2, the call is directed to the call center and the search marketer gets a piece of data it can tie directly to a campaign.

2.       Measure your call experience as you would measure your website. It’s common practice on digital marketing teams to constantly test every part of the landing page of a search campaign: the colors, the copy, the promotions, the images, and so on.  And yet often these same teams infrequently, or never, change the message consumers hear when they place a phone call as part of that same campaign.  It may surprise you that simple changes in the call experience, from the voice and copy of the introductory message, to the order and wording of choices in a phone tree, can produce dramatic results in conversion and measurability.  If you don’t use a built-in IVR from a call measurement product, then get on the phone and start working with your call center on regularly addressing the customer experience.

3.     Move from campaign-level call metrics to keyword-level call metrics. The lifeblood of most advanced search marketers is keyword optimization. But call extensions today are activated for Google or Bing at the campaign or ad group level.   Advanced search marketers use solutions like “dynamic call tracking” to include data from phone calls in keyword-level optimizations.  This feature within a call analytics or measurement product allows marketers to insert code into a landing page that dynamically fetches a call tracking phone number and temporarily assigns that phone number to the referring keyword, giving the ability to attribute the phone call to the specific keyword. As mobile search traffic grows, advanced search marketers also use unique attribution models to track Google click-to-call data at the keyword level.

Search marketers who follow these three steps will have effectively moved from basic call measurement to advanced call measurement.  Later this year, I’ll dive into more detail to discuss perfect call measurement, in which search marketers can have as much visibility into a phone call as they would an online transaction, all down to the keyword or session.

1 comment about "Search And Call Measurement: An Advanced Placement Class".
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  1. Raphaël ISCAR from Agendize, July 25, 2014 at 10:26 a.m.

    Very interesting post. Indeed, while looking to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, call tracking is a great way to understand from what advertising channel your leads come from. You can take a look at Agendize Call Tracking tool that helps you do that:

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