Taking credit where credit is due: Website Call Conversions

For anyone who has been following my articles over the past few weeks, there is probably something you know about me by now. Tracking. I’m all about tracking. When it comes to digital marketing, tracking is everything. I’ve said it before, your campaign is only as good as the quality of the data you’re working with. This is where Google’s latest tool comes into play, ‘Website Call Conversions.’ Before we get to what it is, how it works and why it’s great, I want to put some context around the development to give us a better idea of how it works.

A number of months ago, Google introduced its 1800 call forwarding number. In essence, this is a free 1800 number provided by Google to all its AdWords accounts. Once dialed (or clicked on), it redirects the phone call to the businesses nominated phone number. The reason why this is great is because before now we could only track phone calls that came from a mobile device. When a customer clicked on the phone number from the advert, Google could identify that the number had been called and could attribute it in the AdWords campaign as a mobile click-to-call. This is great, but didn’t take into account the people who search on a desktop and manually dial the number when it’s on the screen. With this in mind, it’s safe to say there are probably more calls coming in from your ads that your AdWords account wasn’t able to take credit for.

The reason that the 1800 call forwarding number was a big development is because the only way a customer could find your 1800 number would be by performing a Google search and seeing it in your ads. As a result, any time the 1800 number is called Google knows that your ads must have triggered it so it notes the call in the AdWords campaign and gives credit where credit is due. Not only that, the 1800 phone call is time stamped by Google and attributed to the Keyword that was triggered around the time the phone call happened. What this means is as digital marketers, we get a great understanding about which keywords are bringing you the calls… pretty clever, right?

Now the one catch with all of this is that Google reserves the right to change your 1800 number at any time without notice. Although the number remains active for 90 days, it will no doubt change regularly. Meaning, you shouldn’t put your 1800 on your website to track calls.

So now we have the context around the 1800 call forwarding number, let’s talk about taking this to the next level. What if we were able to take this idea and apply it to your website? What if we were able to know when someone manually dials your phone number from your website after clicking on your ads? What if I told you the clever people at Google have given us the tools to allow this to happen?

That’s right, Website Call Conversions is the latest step in this progression.

So what is it?

Website Call Conversions is a tool offered by Google. It’s basically a snippet of conversion code which detects when a user visits your website through Google AdWords. If the code recognises that the user has come through AdWords, it will dynamically change the phone number on your website to be the 1800 call forwarding number that would have been displayed on the ad the user clicked on.

Lets say your customer comes to your site via Google AdWords and takes some time to research what you offer before picking up the phone to call. The Google website call tracking code dynamically inserts the call forwarding number onto your website. When someone calls that number, Google knows about it, feeds the data back into AdWords and again attributes the call to the keywords that generated the lead. The tracking number picks up calls from a mobile phone where the number is clicked or calls that are manually dialed from a user searching on a desktop. All of a sudden, your amazing AdWords campaign is getting the recognition it deserves for bringing in leads and phone calls. All of a sudden, we have a clearer picture about how everything works together and how your converting customers find you in the first place. With more accurate data comes more accurate optimisation which leads to better results in the long run.

I see this is a great step in the right direction. As I have previously mentioned, data quality is everything. To be able to take credit for manually dialed phone calls and know for certain that the lead has come through an AdWords campaign, allows me to better justify my decisions. This new tool helps us to further understand our customers which in turn allows us to better target them with our marketing strategies. Most importantly, it shines a spotlight on an area of lead generation that we were previously in the dark about. Up until now the information regarding the leads generated through phone enquiries has been somewhat anecdotal. Not anymore. 


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Ling Lee

Ling Lee , at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Thanks for the great article David! I had no idea about the Google adwords and call conversions, thanks for the heads up!