PPC Call Tracking: Know Where Your Calls are Coming From (Down to the Keyword Level)

  1. 6%-8% of mobile users are more likely to click on PPC ads that contain phone numbers
  2. 52% of people who click on PPC ads still call the advertiser
  3. PPC Phone leads are three times more likely to convert

Business wants a call from the customers. Yes, I am sure huge companies like Amazon would not like everyone calling them, but they are just an exception.

Even if you are not selling anything online, you will still be happy to get a call from someone who wants to know what time you open and close and how to get to your location.

These callers, as you already know, are potential customers almost ready to buy from you.

Pay per click (PPC) campaigns measure their successes by monitoring their online conversions through form fill ups, e-commerce sales, video views, and email signups.

But for some business, most of their conversion happens through the phone. For many advertisers, phone calls are the bread and butter.

No one will purchase a 7-figure business system over the web. However, they would definitely call to know more about the system and start the process.

People who call are often down the sales funnel, whereas, those filling out signup forms are in the early stages and are not ready to talk to a sales representative.

In the past, call tracking was not possible over the PPC. Instead, businesses must rely on unreliable and error-prone methods to keep track of phone calls – creating separate landing pages, or sometimes, even creating separate websites, using a different number, or rely on call-center reps to know how they got their numbers.

But recently, call tracking has evolved. Today, businesses can keep track of their phone calls to know which keywords users used to call them.

If you want your visitors to call you, you need to provide a phone number at each touch points – your ads, landing page and remarketing ads – to increase the chances of them calling you.

For each of these touch points, you need a different implementation:

1) Tracking Phone Calls from Google Ads

According to a study by Google, it has been found that 70% of users call an advertiser from the search results instead of clicking on the ad.

In the past, you would just place your phone number in your ad post. However, today, that will be against Google’s policy. Leverage the “call extensions” instead.

ads on search result

Image credit

On your mobile device, you will be shown the “Call” buttons (as shown below). They look different, but they are shown from the same AdWords settings for desktop users.

ads on mobile result

Image credit

You can even set up your Call extensions to show different numbers for targeted people.

Let’s say you are running a business throughout the San Francisco area. You can display your phone number with the 415 prefix for ad groups with “San Francisco” keywords and the 650 prefix for ad groups with keywords for “Palo Alto.”

The best thing about showing a number through call extension is there is no charge when people call you, even when using Google Voice to track the calls.
Benefits of using your own number and Google Voice Tracking Number…

  • Your audiences will most likely call you …if they write down your number.
  • You can use your local phone number to reinforce that you are a local provider close to your people.
  • If you use GV number, then Google can keep track of calls connected and generate a report of individual calls as conversions.

2. Tracking Calls from Your Website

Let’s say the user visits your site instead of calling the number in the ad. The good news is that you can still track your calls.

Here is a quick and dirty fix solution: display a different number you will use nowhere else on all of your landing pages for your ads. When people call using that number, you will immediately know that they clicked on your ad.

Tracking Calls from Your Website

Image credit

A better approach would be to set up a call tracking system that will dynamically display different phone numbers to people who click your ads.

3. TrackingPhone Calls in Display Ads

To track phone calls in display ads, however, you will have to insert your phone number manually.

This is because Google does not provide options for call extensions in display ads, they only work on mobile devices, and cannot be tracked for conversions.

Your best bet would be to set aside few unique numbers and use each in your campaign.

You won’t have all the specific details, but at least you can tell from where your calls are coming.
It’s the Showtime: Time to Track Phone Calls in Reports
So now that you have used your tracking numbers at all touch points, it is time to look at those reports to find out the performance of your ad campaign.

And here’s good news: Google’s call extensions can use Google voice to connect calls, letting you see all call data through AdWords reports. This is because before Google’s Voice integration feature was built, there was no way of telling what happened. Did that call connect and how long did it last, for example, after users clicked on a phone number on their mobile phones.
Taking Things to the Next Level: Tracking Only Those Calls That Lead into Sales
If you want to get more advanced and only assign a conversion if that call turns into an actual sale, you can do so using the Google’s offline conversion report feature.

With this new feature, you can easily store Google’s unique click ID, also known as gclid parameter in your CRM. When the sale takes place, you can upload the gclid back to Google. This will help you see which keywords lead to a sale.
Free Call Tracking Options Available for PPC Advertisers
Here are few ingenious, easy to set up, and of course, free call tracking options available for PPC advertisers.

4. Call Extensions

They are free extensions offered by both Google and Bing to PPC advertisers. (Only takes a minute to set up.)
I. Setting up call extension in Google:

Setting up call extension in Google

Image credit

  1. Go to Ad Extensions and choose Call Extensions.
  2. Select the +Extension button and follow instructions
  3. Next, use Google forwarding number feature to get reporting data within your AdWords account to know which campaigns or ad groups (not keywords) led calls.

Setting up call extension in Google

Image credit

II. Setting up call extension in Bing:
The setup process in Bing is similar to Google.

1. Simply choose “Call Extensions” from the Ad Extensions tab.

call extensions bing image

Image credit

2. Then, select the extension you want to add.

call extension bing image 02

Image credit

One thing that Bing provides that Google does not: the ability to show a local number or a toll-free number.

Using your local number usually generates a positive response rate, but we recommend you use both options to see what works best for your campaign.

Website Calls Conversions

Besides Call Extensions, you can use Website Call Conversions (another free feature) to keep track of PPC calls. It is a free service launched recently by Google for PPC advertisers.

With this feature, you can add dynamic phone numbers on your website (previously only available to call tracking providers).

Website Call Conversion allows you to track phone calls from landing pages, down to the keyword level. (Check out this article to learn all the benefits of using Website Call Conversions.)

The drawback of using the website call conversion feature is you can only track traffic coming from your PPC Google AdWords.

If you want to track calls from other sources, you will have to use a call tracking provider.