The Ultimate Guide to Call Tracking: Definition, Benefits, Metrics

This resourceful guide tells you all you need to know about call tracking. We dive into the benefits, implementation, and how it helps businesses maximize their marketing efforts and ROI.
Faye Chong
Faye Chong

Digital Marketing Executive

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Ultimate Guide to Call Tracking: Definition, Benefits & Metrics

In 2020, the annual number of phone calls made to businesses will reach 169 billion.

That must mean more sales for businesses if people are interested in getting in touch right? If you think that that’s great news, wait till you hear this. Phone calls form up to 50% of all conversions!

Proportion of conversion rates attributed to calls vs clicks.

This is why marketers spend a large amount of time and money to drive calls through marketing campaigns.

While it’s important to keep the calls coming in, tracking them is just as important. In fact, you could be losing 80% of conversions because you’re not tracking your calls.

That’s where call tracking software come in.

Call tracking tracks every phone call to the marketing campaign of origin. This helps you gain information on customer data such as where they’re calling from, which keywords they searched for before calling your business, and the reason for the call.

This provides you a 360-degree view of customer behavior, giving you more insight into your campaigns’ performance. This allows you to optimize your better-performing campaigns and increase your marketing returns of investment (ROI).

In this guide, we provide in-depth analyses of call tracking. If you don’t have the time to read them all, click on the headers to jump directly to the specific sections:

What is Call Tracking?

Call tracking is a feature that analyzes which digital and offline marketing campaigns are the source of calls coming in.

In other words, it is the process of determining how callers found your business. This allows you to track campaigns that drive call traffic for your business.

Your teams can use this data to measure the success of existing campaigns and optimize the best-performing ones.

Here’s an example.

A visitor sees your ad on Facebook and decides to call you by clicking on the ad. When the call gets through, you’ll know that they called through this specific ad campaign. Throughout the week, you receive several calls and realize that they all come from Facebook. This gives you insight into the performance of the Facebook ad that you wouldn’t have identified if you did not track your calls.

Keep in mind that when we talk about marketing campaigns, we aren’t just referring to paid ads. An SEO strategy with the aim of driving traffic to your website is also considered a campaign.

 

How does call tracking work?

Diagram depicting a general overview of how call tracking works. Source: Boberdoo

 

Call tracking traces your business calls all the way to their sources. In other words, it allows you to attribute your inbound calls to a specific marketing campaign.

Bear in mind that traditional media is not dead yet. Inbound business calls can still be attributed to offline campaigns.

Let’s take a look at the online ones first, shall we?

Online campaign attribution

With DNI

DNI assigns unique tracking numbers to online campaigns to allow businesses to track them.

 

A huge portion of attributing calls to online campaigns involves dynamic number insertion (DNI).

It is a feature that automatically assigns a unique phone number to each campaign and displays that number to visitors who arrive at your website via a specific campaign.

DNI can be easily installed into your website by embedding a Javascript code. The code detects the visitor’s source and places a cookie on their browser. The cookie then tells your website to assign a specific phone number to that specific visitor.

For instance, if a visitor finds your company via Google organic search, a specific phone will be shown to them throughout the entire time on your website. When they decide to call using that number, you’ll know that they came through a Google organic search.

These site visitors are directed to your site via paid ads too.

Think ads on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and social media platforms that direct your leads to your website. Each ad is assigned a unique number and this allows your call tracking software to attribute the inbound call to that particular ad.

With DNI, the same number always appears for that visitor, even if they leave your website and come back later.

Without DNI

Another type of online ad can come in the form of a lead form embedded onto a social media ad. The leads click on the ad, a lead form pops up, and the leads enter their contact information for the purpose of scheduling a call.

In this case, DNI is not used to generate random phone numbers. Instead, the call tracking software you are using will log the call and is able to trace it back to the ad with the lead form.

Offline campaign attribution

Meanwhile, offline campaigns come in various forms of traditional media such as posters, billboards, and TV ads.

Each of these ads comes with unique phone numbers too. The call tracking software can then use these numbers to attribute the calls to the specific offline campaign.

Other features of call tracking software

Call tracking solutions also capture other types of information. These include (but are not limited to) the number of calls received and the duration of calls.

Common features that come with most call tracking software are call recording and transcription. These features give you a more detailed analysis of your calls by identifying what was said during the call and common keywords used.

This not only helps you to understand your customers better, but it also gives you a clearer picture of the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Summing up

Before we move on to the next segment, here’s a table that sums up everything we’ve said about call tracking:

Offline/Online
Uses DNI?
Directs leads to your website?
Examples of campaigns
How call tracking works here?
Online
Yes
Yes
Paid ads on Google search engines or social media channelsDNI automatically assigns a unique number to each ad. Call tracking tools can then attribute leads to specific ads based on the number of inbound calls received through each number.
No
No
Online ads with embedded lead formsLeads fill in their contact details for the purpose of scheduling a business call. Software logs this number and attributes it to the source.
Yes
Yes
SEO inbound strategyLeads find your site through google search. DNI automatically assigns a unique number to each lead. Call tracking tools can then attribute leads to specific ads based on the number of inbound calls received through each number.
Offline
No
Yes
Billboards, Posters, TV adsA unique number to each ad. Call tracking tools can then attribute leads to specific ads based on the number of inbound calls received through each number.

If you haven’t picked it out yet, as long as leads are directed to your website, DNI is involved.

Types of call tracking

As the customer journey becomes less and less linear, the way customers interact with your business becomes increasingly unpredictable.

They are now interacting with your business across several different channels and it has become a challenge to piece all customer touchpoints together.

As call tracking solutions evolve to bridge the gaps between customer-business interactions, different types of call tracking have surfaced.

We run through each type of call tracking and how it helps businesses see correlations between their marketing efforts and how they drive customer traffic.

1. Keyword-level tracking

Keyword-level tracking helps you find out which search terms are driving the most traffic to your website.

Diagram depicting keyword-level call tracking. Source: CallRail

The foundation of keyword-level tracking is a pool of phone numbers that are unique to your business.

When a customer searches for a keyword and clicks on your ad, a dedicated phone number is assigned to them from the pool. If the customer calls your business using that number, you’ll be able to identify the call source and which keyword the caller used.

By capturing data on keywords that are driving calls, this gives you actionable insights on how to optimize keywords and your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

Pros:

  • Allows you to collect detailed information on the types of keywords and search terms used to find your company. This is great for companies that invest heavily in SEO marketing.
  • Keyword-level tracking is easily scalable as DNI automatically generates a unique number per site visitor. This allows you to run multiple campaigns simultaneously.

Cons:

  • Customer interactions that don’t involve search terms are not captured. It is focused on SEO strategies.

2. Source-level tracking

Source-level tracking gives you insight on which marketing campaigns are driving traffic by using a unique phone number for each campaign.

 

Diagram depicting source-level tracking. Source: CallRail

 

With source-level tracking, you are able to track both offline and online campaigns.

All you need are unique numbers for each of the campaigns you want to track.

When customers call the specific tracking numbers, call tracking software will be able to determine the source that referred them.

Source-level tracking allows you to test out the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns to fine-tune future marketing strategies to suit your business.

Also, by identifying campaigns that drive traffic to your website, this helps you understand which campaigns resonate with your customer base.

Pros:

  • It is simple to set up by assigning a unique number for each campaign.
  • Allows you to easily attribute calls to individual campaigns as each campaign has a specific number.
  • Able to track the effectiveness of offline campaigns such as printed ads and billboards. This allows you to reach out to a larger audience by not only focusing on online campaigns.

Cons:

  • There is a limited view of how the customer interacted with your business before the call.
  • It is not scalable if you are running multiple campaigns as there is a unique number assigned to each campaign. This can be challenging to track all numbers back to its source.
  • Source-level tracking lacks granular data such as information on keywords and other browsing activity. This can create blind spots in your marketing campaigns.

3. Multi-channel attribution tracking

Multi-channel attribution tracking helps you track your customers’ entire journey from start to finish. In other words, you are able to pinpoint all the interactions that lead to them converting.

CallRail’s multi-channel lead attribution function. Source: CallRail

To give you a better understanding of how this works, picture this.

A visitor clicks into your website through Google PPC ads. They browse your site for a moment and go offline. After a few days, they remember visiting your website and decide to visit again by doing an organic search. They exit your website and return after a few days through a retargeted ad.

With multi-channel attribution, you’re able to view the entire customer cycle from when they first came through Google Ads, to organic search, and lastly through a retargeted ad.

The data collected helps you measure which marketing campaign leads to conversions. Knowing the initial customer touchpoint till the last gives you an idea of the digital channels worth investing in, allowing you to optimize future marketing strategies.

Pros:

  • Provides a detailed view of the entire customer journey, from initial touchpoint to the last. This gives you an understanding of how customers interact with your business.

Cons:

  • Complex call tracking data might be more suitable for experienced marketing and sales teams or larger companies. The data presented might be too much for smaller businesses that do not need to track so much information as they have not yet started investing heavily in marketing campaigns.

How do you add call tracking software to your website?

Setting up a call tracking software on your website is simple.

You have to first locate the JavaScript code of the call tracking software that you are using. This code will then be used to enable DNI.

Do note that the way you go about doing it will vary depending on the website platform you use. For instance, Novocall is integrated with WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify.

You can access Novocall’s installation code by logging in to your Novocall account and clicking ‘Installation’ on the side menu. You can then copy the code directly.

Novocall Conversations’ call tracking JavaScript code

WordPress

1. On your WordPress dashboard > Click on Plugins tab > Click on “Add New” from the dropdown menu.

2. Search for the name of your Click to Call software. In this case, ‘Novocall’.

3. Install the plugin and activate it.

4. Go to Settings > Click the “Novocall” from the dropdown menu.

5. Paste the code.

 

Squarespace

1. Navigate to the bottom of the website > Click on “Advanced” at the left sidebar menu.

 

 

2. Copy the link from your Novocall account.

3. Navigate back to Squarespace > Paste the code in the “Header” box.

 

 

Wix

1. Navigate to “Settings” > “Tracking & Analytics” from the dropdown menu.

 

 

2. Click “New Tools” > Click “Custom“.

 

 

3. Paste the code in the “Code Snippet”. Select “All pages” > Select “Load code on each new page” > Click “Apply”.

 

 

Shopify

1. Login to your Shopify account, go to Online Store, and click Themes in the menu on the left.

2. Click on the Customize theme button.

3. Click Theme options in the top menu and choose the Edit HTML / CSS option from the drop-down menu.

 

 

4. After selecting Edit HTML/CSS, find the file called theme.liquid inside of your Layout directory. Open the file in Shopify’s editor.

 

 

5. Find the tag.

6. Scroll to the very end of this file and paste the code you have copied from Novocall right before the tag.

7. Click save to save the changes.

What are the benefits of call tracking?

Now that you’re aware of what call tracking is and how it works, it’s time to dive into how it can benefit your business.

1. Prevent wasted ad spending

Call tracking helps you make informed decisions on which marketing channels to invest heavily in as well as cut off inefficient advertising strategies.

By tracking calls, you’re able to identify and focus on the campaigns that are driving calls to your business. This eliminates unnecessary spending on ads that are not gaining substantial traffic and focus on the ones driving quality calls.

You also have more wiggle room to test other advertising channels to decide what is the best way to reach out to your customers.

2. Track offline and online marketing efforts

With call tracking, you don’t have to worry about the performance of your offline campaigns. From print ads to billboards, you just have to assign a unique number to each of these campaigns. This helps to differentiate each offline marketing source when calls start coming in.

You can easily monitor and track which offline campaigns are performing better than others, and which channels you should relocate your marketing budget to.

3. Improve Search Engine Optimization

Call tracking gives you a better view of how your web pages and search terms are doing. With keyword-level tracking, you will know exactly which keywords triggered your customers to call.

Such valuable information allows you to refine your SEO and focus on keywords that customers are actively searching for.

4. Provide a tailored customer experience

By tracking phone calls, you gain insights into interactions customers have with your business. This helps you understand the caller’s intent.

The data captured and calls recorded lets you analyze what your customers said during the call. This gives you a new perspective on what your customers’ needs are and how to better accommodate them.

Some important insights you can takeaway:

  • What time of day customers are calling
  • What customers are usually calling in for
  • If a solution has been provided for the customer

By capturing first-hand customer interactions and information, you can share this data with relevant teams. This provides customers with a more tailored customer experience when they call.

5. Manage staff and call representatives

Call tracking helps you identify why your reps aren’t able to close leads.

The ability to record calls gives you insight into the conversations between the customer and your call reps.

The data collected gives you a holistic view of which reps are performing well and those who require additional training. This helps to improve the way your reps communicate and deliver solutions for your customers which can eventually close the deal.

How do you measure the effectiveness of call tracking?

Call tracking can help you gather a plethora of important information to provide insights to optimize your marketing efforts. We compiled a list of some of the most valuable call tracking metrics you should pay attention to.

1. Call duration

The longer the conversation lasts, the more chances you have to convert a lead into a customer.

Afterall, visitors would not spend so much time talking to your reps if they aren’t interested in your product or service. Find out which campaigns drive longer and more meaningful conversations.

2. Call sources

Using distinct phone numbers for each marketing campaign helps you identify which ads and campaigns are driving the most calls. You’ll then be able to decide where to focus your efforts and marketing budget on.

 

Novocall is a holistic call management system that comes with a variety of call-related capabilities.
Novocall is a holistic call management system that comes with a variety of call-related capabilities.

 

Let’s say you receive 30 calls in one day. 29 calls come from your PPC ad and 1 call from your printed ad.

Both of them have the same marketing message, just through different platforms. There is a significant difference between the performance of both campaigns. This allows you to optimize your marketing strategy in the future.

3. Call volume

Detailed reports about the number of calls you receive can highlight which campaign drives the majority of your calls.

For example, you’ve recently pushed out a Facebook ad and noticed a significant increase in the number of calls. By tracing the calls, you’ll know that the Facebook ad was driving the calls to your business. You can then decide to invest more of your marketing budget into Facebook ads.

4. First-time callers

First-time callers help you identify which campaigns are driving potential customers to your business.

By separating data on first-time callers from repeat callers, this allows you to deeply analyze their behavior and how they interacted with your business before calling.

In fact, by isolating first-time callers, you can provide a more personalized approach when they call your business.

5. Landing page performance

Landing page performance gives you an idea of which marketing campaigns drive landing page referrals.

Landing pages are designed to drive an action from the visitor, whether it is filling out a form or chatting with a chatbot.

But how many visitors would do either one of those?

If you only gather information from filled forms and messages with chatbots, this creates several blind spots in your marketing efforts. You aren’t able to credit marketing campaigns that drive traffic to your website, which will impact your marketing ROI and efficacy.

6. Time of day

Finding out the time of day that drives the most calls allows you to identify any patterns to leverage and maximize your PPC campaign budget.

CallRail’s call reports segmented by day and time. Source: CallRail

For example, you notice an influx of call traffic during the weekends and a low call rate on weekdays. With this knowledge, you decide to increase the ad budget for the weekends and reduce the ads shown from Monday to Friday.

To attract customers, you can change the marketing message or provide discounts and offers during low traffic periods.

What are the common mistakes when using call tracking?

While call tracking can be beneficial for your business, we highlight some common mistakes that companies make and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Over-focus on call volume

Quantity doesn’t equal quality.

Just because there’s an influx of calls doesn’t mean you can call the campaign a success. In fact, counting all calls as conversions, regardless of the quality, can give you a false sense of success.

For instance, receiving 20 calls from visitors complaining about an ad glitch versus 10 calls from visitors who are genuinely interested. Evidently, the chances of conversion of the 20 calls are slim to none, while it might be higher for the 10 visitors.

This is why it is more important to determine which campaign drives the most qualified leads to your business.

Solution:

Some call tracking software offer advanced features to filter out callers based on their location, whether or not their callers are new or repeated, and even minimum call duration.

This lets you qualify calls only when certain conditions are met. You’ll be able to identify exactly how many quality calls you receive from each campaign and filter out calls that don’t provide valuable actions to your business.

Mistake 2: Failing to optimize keywords

In order to maximize your SEO campaigns, it is necessary to track which keywords are driving the most traffic.

Call tracking can surface important information about keywords, such as what customers entered in the search engines to direct them to your website.

More often than not, businesses fail to use this information to fine-tune their keyword targeting and optimize their PPC ads. This causes them to rank poorly on search engines, which isn’t something you want.

Solution:

Implement keyword-level call tracking to your ad campaigns to collect data such as specific keywords used and what pages they visited before clicking on your website. With this information, you can calculate your true ROI and adjust your marketing budget to yield better results.

Mistake 3: Integrating with the wrong CRM tool

Using a call tracking software integrated with a CRM suited to your business will save you a lot of time. Different CRM solutions provide different features depending on the business needs.

Oftentimes, businesses use call tracking software that are integrated with CRM tools that don’t match their business needs.

For example, small businesses need CRM tools with lesser features and functions, so using a tool like Salesforce wouldn’t be suitable for them.

Solution:

Invest in a call tracking software that is already integrated with the right CRM tool for your business. This prevents any problems from arising in the future. Fortunately, most call tracking providers integrate with popular CRM tools for both large and small companies.

What to look out for when choosing the right call tracking software?

With so many call tracking providers that provide the same basic functions, choosing the one that fits your business needs can be tough. To help you, we’ve listed out what to look out for when you’re choosing a call tracking software.

1. Easy of set-up and use

No one likes to waste time because in business, time is money

That’s why the ease of setting up and using the software is important.

As a business ourselves, we know the frustration of wasting unnecessary time on setting up overly complicated solutions all too well.

The faster you can get the software up and running, the faster you can start tracking calls and collecting data.

2. Customizability

Good call tracking software should offer flexible and customizable plans.

Each plan should come with a set of features in order to suit the specific requirements of different businesses. The plan should also be customizable depending on the business size and their needs.

Typically, an enterprise-level business has the highest budget and will go for the most expensive plans with the most number of features.

3. Call recording

The call recording function records conversations between customers and reps.

Based on the recorded data, it can be used to review call and conversation quality.

This means businesses can gain useful information from it to improve sales team performance for handling calls and understand better what the customer needs.

4. CRM integrations

By integrating your software with CRM software you don’t need to manually log calls and customer contact information into the system.

This integration also allows you to track and measure your lead’s journey through multiple touchpoints and identify the final step that led to a conversion.

A comprehensive and detailed report enables you to identify which methods or platforms are most effective in attracting qualified leads.

5. Real-time and past analytics

It gives your business the ability to simultaneously observe current changes in data points whilst analyzing past data.

This allows you to make better and more informed decisions by learning from past interactions with your leads and customers.

Some AI-powered software facilitates in-call analytics so they can analyze conversations even before the call even ends.

Costs of call tracking tools

Call tracking software are priced differently depending on the features and services provided.

When choosing a call tracking software, you have to analyze the features that they provide and determine if they are able to provide solutions to your business needs.

Here’s a quick overview of the price range of call tracking software:

Basic plans: $0 – $115 per month

The basic plans for most call tracking software provides, well, basic features. It allows you to tie every call back to the marketing campaign, providing basic call recording and tracking features.

It might be more suitable for companies that just started out and only have one or two marketing campaigns to track.

Mid-tier plans: $39 to $499 per month

Mid-tier plans usually offer features such as detailed call tracking, conversation intelligence reporting, and even more integration options that they don’t provide in the basic plans.

This will be good for small to medium-sized companies who are running multiple campaigns and want a more in-depth analysis of their calls.

Enterprise plans: Custom pricing

On top of offering you the full features, the enterprise plan usually consists of bonus services. Some of these include dedicated technical support services and custom integrations.

This is suitable for companies that have high call volumes and require the flexibility and scalability that the enterprise plan can provide them.

Examples of some call tracking software

1. ActiveDemand

 

ActiveDemand is an integrated marketing platform that helps businesses manage multiple call tracking campaigns. It also has a call lead scoring feature that gives a custom lead score to all calls based on factors such as previous visits, campaign engagement, and keywords. You can also reach out to customers with ActiveDemand’s email marketing capabilities and scheduled direct text messages.

Ease of setting up: Easy set up

Customizability: No

Call Recording Function: Yes. They have full Call Transcription and Actionable Keyword Monitoring to transcribe conversations and give leads score based on keywords.

CRM Integration: Yes. PipelineDeals, Pipedrive, Salesforce, Zoho, Microsoft Dynamic 365, and many more

Real-time data tracking and analytics: Yes

Pricing: Call tracker: $0 per month, Email Marketer: $15 per month, Small Business Marketer: $69 per month, Corporate Marketer: $199 per month

Software review site’s rating:

G2 Rating
Capterra Rating
Software Advice Rating
Average Rating
4.5
4.2
4.2
4.3

2. CallFire

 

CallFire is a cloud call center software that automates outbound calls and monitors business activity. You can purchase multiple local and international tracking numbers to assign them to your marketing campaigns. The call tracking feature provides real-time call reporting to give you a holistic view of your marketing campaign, and data gathered can be linked to Google Analytics.

Ease of setting up: Easy set up

Customizability: Yes.

Call Recording Function: Yes

CRM Integration: Yes. Zapier

Real-time data tracking and analytics: Yes

Pricing: Pay as you go: 6¢/minute or text, Lite: $99 per month, Startup: $199 per month, Grow: $299 per month, Pro: $599 per month

Software review site’s rating:

G2 Rating
Capterra Rating
Software Advice Rating
Average Rating
4.4
4.6
4.6
4.5

2. CallRail

 

CallRail helps businesses set their marketing strategy on the right path with its compact call tracking feature. Their AI-powered analytic tools give businesses insights on how to align their products with customer’s needs. It works for tracking inbound and outbound calls.  To improve your team’s efficiency, you can organize your own call flow to build a personalized routing system. Its use of round robin algorithms optimizes its call tracking feature by distributing callers based on locations for specific areas or zip codes. It also has a Responsive Routing feature that distributes calls based on lead qualification status, website activities, or past call history.

Ease of setting up: Easy setup

Customizability: No

Call Recording Function: Yes. Conversation Intelligence and Form Tracking

CRM Integration: Yes. Salesforce

Real-time data tracking and analytics: Yes

Pricing: Call tracking: $45 per month, Conversation Analytics: $95 per month, Marketing Analytics: $95 per month, Analytics Suite: $145 per month

Software review site’s rating:

G2 Rating
Capterra Rating
Software Advice Rating
Average Rating
4.6
4.6
4.6
4.6

4. Novocall

Novocall is a business phone system that comes with call tracking features to help businesses optimize campaigns and drive more conversions. As a call automation software, Novocall Conversations can be embedded onto users’ websites as a widget that allows their site visitors to schedule a call with their sales reps. It can also be integrated with lead forms on Facebook ads to allow users to reach out to a wider audience.

Ease of setting up: Easy set up

Customizability: Yes

Call Recording Function: Yes

CRM Integration: Yes. Salesforce, Zapier, HubSpot

Real-time data tracking and analytics: Yes

Pricing: request for a price

Software review site’s rating:

G2 Rating
Capterra Rating
Software Advice Rating
Average Rating
4.8
4.8
4.8
4.8

5. Retreaver

Retreaver attributes inbound business calls to their campaign source through its real-time call tracking capability. It also gives users the ability to route calls to specific departments and call reps. This matches customers to the most qualified reps. Retreaver has several integrations such as Hubspot, ActiveCampaign and Zapier to cater to different business needs.

Ease of setting up: Easy set up

Customizability: Yes

Call Recording Function: Yes

CRM Integration: Yes. Salesforce, Microsoft Outlook, Zoho, and many more

Real-time data tracking and analytics: Yes

Pricing: Customizable based on your business needs

Software review site’s rating:

G2 Rating
Capterra Rating
Software Advice Rating
Average Rating
4.8
5
5
4.9

What’s next?

We hope that this comprehensive guide has given you insight into what call tracking can do for your business.

If you’re still wondering if call tracking is right for you, you may want to find out more about how call tracking has benefited businesses in different industries.

If you would like to find out more about how Novocall Conversations’ call tracking feature can help your business, get started with us today!

Faye
Faye

Faye is a digital marketing executive at Novocall. When she’s not busy writing articles for Novocall’s blog, she spends her time baking and playing with her dogs.

Subscribe to our blog

Get insights & actionable advice read by thousands of professionals every week.

Discover more 

Free Download

No time to read the whole guide?

Download it for free and read it on the go!