All You Need To Know About Call Tracking

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All You Need To Know About Call Tracking
September 23, 2016

Our experience with call tracking started a few years back in 2012 when a large US multinational digital agency entered the Dutch market with this – at that time – a fairly new concept of tracking calls from online marketing efforts, in this case for Google AdWords.This company managed to gain market share quite fast because of this new technology, which gave the answer to (service) oriented businesses doing online marketing.

Imagine you find yourself in need of a plumber. Badly. I mean water gushing out of the sink on your wooden floor-badly.

“I imagine myself searching for a plumber, clicking the first website that pops up, and filling in the contact form.” Said no one, ever.

We pick up the phone and start dialing.
Suitable for the plumber who made himself visible to you on top of the results pages of Google.

However, this poses a problem for the plumbing company, specifically for the person managing the AdWords campaigns. Can you guess what it is?

Of course, you can! This person will only see the amount of filled-in contact forms but not the incoming phone calls. (which in some businesses will be the main route for communication with new clients). This means that this person is managing campaigns in the dark.

Let’s take a moment to Imagine your blindfolded dentist treating you.

Don’t like the idea?

Well, it’s basically what most of us do to our businesses regarding (online) marketing. Not all crucial information and data is being properly measured. Since we have to make decisions, these decisions will be based on half (and often less) of the facts.

If you are a dentist, plumber, builder, doctor, cab driver, accountant, lawyer (or any other service-oriented business that most of the time does not directly sell & deliver through the website) and you wish to make decisions based on the best data available, start using call tracking.

What does call tracking do?

With call tracking, you can measure all of what your online marketing efforts and investments generate you. This way, you (or your campaign manager) will have the full picture and directions on where to go.

After using call tracking for our clients, we learned that there were cases where only 30% of the actual conversions (leads or sales) were measured. And more importantly, where they were coming from.

Not having the source of your income or ROI clear is like watering your neighbors’ crops instead of your own—enough with the metaphors. Let’s dive in.

What Exactly is Call Tracking?

As the name implies, call tracking is a way to measure incoming phone calls. From any source, offline and online. We can even measure the keyword level and know which keywords generate which calls.

Think that’s neat? Well, it is.

It will prevent you from downgrading or removing keywords from your campaign that seemed like they did not generate as much as other keywords but generated the calls you did not register before.


Yes, you might want to reconsider your campaign and restore some keywords you did not like, or thought were expensive.

How does call tracking work?

By placing a piece of code on each page of your website (where the phone number is listed) and having a pool of tracking numbers, we can display a different number to a certain group and type of visitors, depending on which traffic source one wishes to measure.

This can often be Google AdWords, but the same can be done for organic visitors, social media, or whichever source you wish to measure.

These specific visitors will be shown a different phone number with a tracking cookie in the browser. This means that even if the visitor walks away from the computer (hopefully to the phone), we can still track this person and link his phone call to a specific source (and keyword!).

When this visitor calls the special tracking number he was shown, it will automatically redirect to the regular phone number through the call tracking system. This way, we can measure the call and record it for training and quality purposes.

Yes. You can also listen to these conversations and train yourself, your employees, and your colleagues.

We at Great Results Online use specific software to offer this to our clients and have been extensively looking into the different suppliers in this market. In my next post about call tracking, I will share our findings and experiences with the different providers.