What options are available for tracking incoming phone calls back to the PPC ad or online display ads that produce them?

Stevie DeGroff from Google says they are testing call tracking within their interface which can be dynamically inserted on your website. No dates on when this will be released.

Andrew Wheeler from iProspect recommends a simple email solution. User clicks on an ad and chooses to call on a page that plants a cookie. The moment they call, the email goes out to them to click back to the website, which takes them to a confirmation page for tracking.

Steve Wiideman’s (My) Suggestions

Call tracking can be a complicated game. Aside from Andrew’s suggestion, here are a couple of ways you can manage tracking calls for PPC campaigns or any other online marketing campaign.

Third Party Call Tracking Software

The difficult (and expensive) downfall of using third party programs, such as the ones listed below, is that they do not integrate well with Google Analytics (at least not at a keyword-level) and latch on your websites like a leach, adding another layer of programming to your online marketing. There’s no light-weight or simple solution.

  • IfByPhone.com does a great job tracking calls at the campaign level, but fails at the keyword level
  • Mongoose Metrics is an excellent service, but adds that extra layer I mentioned and can be expensive
  • Engine Ready comes with the same heavy attachment issue – their software supersedes your GA rather than complimenting it

Sophisticated Call-Tracking Ideas

Use Click to Call technology that allows for a redirect after the user clicks “call”. The two solutions I know of for click to call do not yet offer this magic redirect, but I know it’s out there somewhere.

You can also use Promo Codes in your ad copy that correlate to specific keywords. The back end of this technique can get complicated because essentially you’ll have to have your phone system ping your website with the appropriate tracking codes. Advanced Segmentation in Google Analytics will help you sort out and match calls to keywords.

What Do You Recommend?

Please share your feedback on the use of call-tracking strategy for PPC or other Internet marketing. Do you use something currently or have you heard of something that you’d like me to test out?