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6 useful tips for PPC Specialist working with call tracking data

Both Google Analytics and call tracking integration allow analyzing calls as any conversion. What is important here is not to dwell on the call itself. Eugene Glazyrin, Netpeak Agency PPC Specialist, explains how to search for insights and what is important here. Want to know how to simplify the communication with the customer? Eugene also gives some advice for those who provide the setup of paid advertising.

I am using call tracking for two years already during the paid advertising setup and optimization for customers. I have applied call tracking to different projects: from SaaS to the real estate. Ringostat is the one I use more often than others. That’s why I will describe call tracking abilities making an example out of it.

Call tracking is indispensable for lots of companies. Usually, this concerns businesses with features mentioned below. 

  1. The ones that have a phone number on the website that is called by more than 5-10% of customers.
  2. Customers have to specify additional criteria before making an order. E.g. kitchen fitter, compartment wardrobe, sanitary equipment, industrial details.   
  3. A product/service is discussing instead of adding it to the shopping cart. E.g. buying real estate, car, courses, service delivery, etc. 

It is better to use call tracking in such cases. Otherwise, the specialist won’t see all conversions. As well as he won’t be able to see the whole picture for evaluating the company’s productiveness, finding out weaknesses and correcting them.

The agency prevents the customer that fits in the criteria above in advance of the call tracking. We explain that this will help the specialists to spend funds more wisely the same as analyzing the advertising effectiveness 

Where to start?

First of all, a few words about my work with call data in the analytical system. This may be useful for beginners at call tracking. You may skip this section if you are a proficient user. 

Once the new project began and ad campaigns started we need to wait until the sufficient amount of data is collected. This time is individual and depends on the specificity of the product/service and the number of calls. Further logic is the same as in previous conversions. First of all, open the report Acquisition — All Traffic — Channels. Then choose a goal connected to the phone calls. For example, a targeted call.

Here you can see the number of calls made by each channel:

 6 useful tips for PPC Specialist working with call tracking data

Secondly, scroll “through the funnel”. Starting from the company level at the relevant section of the Google Ads report to the ad group and keywords level. At each stage look at the number of requests made by this or that activity and their quality, as specified below. 

As in the case with other conversions, we need to analyze calls cost besides their number and “quality”. Ideally, in the beginning, the client of the agency names his allocation for the target conversion. Otherwise, we count on the budget that we can provide. We look at the cost of the inbound calls and whether we fit into the plan for each company.

For example, there are no/not enough calls in a certain ad group. In this case, we need to look at the keywords report for this group and to define inefficient words. It is possible to expand the negative keywords list by analyzing calls. We optimize ad campaigns and change the text of advertisements as well. This is useful to increase the ad campaign efficiency and not to raise the advertising budget in the meantime.

Typically, we provide to the client of the agency reporting made in Google Sheets. Calls data is presented there as well. Several issues can also be illustrated as Google Analytics screenshots.

 6 useful tips for PPC Specialist working with call tracking data

The report on calls data example: Conversions — Goals — Overview

It was the basics but calls can provide even more benefits to the PPC Specialist if you don’t stop here. Moreover, I would like to share with you my own experience.

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TIP №1. Set up different goals for calls

My work at any project connected with call tracking starts from this. Calls data is almost useless for PPC-specialists without the division. Let me give you an example. Let’s say there were 4 callers: 

  • the first one got the wrong number;
  • the second one didn’t get the advertisement and was asking for a product that is not for sale;
  • the third one made a request yesterday but decided to specify details today;
  • the fourth one didn’t wait for the sales manager answer.

What do you get? It may seem that the advertisement is useful if we focus on the common goal “Сall”. However, in reality, we didn’t get any new lead for today.

To evaluate calls that came from ads you need to customize goals by calls, for sure if your call tracking allows it. I usually use Ringostat tech support here. Nevertheless, it is possible to do it on your own in the Admin section of Google Analytics.

 6 useful tips for PPC Specialist working with call tracking data

Then click to +Goal and step by step create it with the Event type.

 6 useful tips for PPC Specialist working with call tracking data

 I often use several goals.

  1. All calls. When Ringostat is connected the goal is automatically transmitted to Google Analytics.
  2. Unique first calls. The goal is appropriate for cases with the long completion period of the deal. It is also suitable for companies where clients are calling for consultations. In such cases, it is useful to distinguish unique first calls from new customers from the whole number of calls.
  3. All Missed calls. It may be especially important for the agency if you need to prove that there are calls from ads but the sales managers miss them. 
  4. All the calls via Callback Widget. In the case when the customer is using the callback widget.

There were only some goals. In Ringostat, it is possible to configure other goals specifically for the needs of a certain project. You may find more details in the article from the knowledge base.

TIP №2. Listen to the calls recordings at least at early stages of the company launching  

Even if you are not responsible for listening to the calls recordings, I highly recommend you to do it. Starting the new project, analyze at least several requests per week. It won’t take tones of time if you filter only calls from the contextual advertising. There is a special report in Ringostat created for such cases. It is also possible to create reports for different companies. The specialist can download recordings or listen to them right in the system.

6 useful tips for PPC Specialist working with call tracking data

Listening may help to understand how sales managers work with leads. It happens that ads do not bring a lot of sales and this raises customer questions to the contractor. By listening to the recordings you can find out whether there is no guilt of your employees. 

I had an example with the company that produced and sold the kitchen furniture. While I was listening to the recordings of this project, I found out the “weak link”. It was a sales manager who didn’t work with objections at all. Let’s say there was a customer ready to make a request but doubting in price. Several basic arguments from the sales manager and the deal would be successful. However, the sales manager didn’t do that. 

One more case. There are a lot of requests but the client of the agency claims that most of the calls are made by the non-targeted audience. Recordings listening may be also useful here. Pay attention to the customer’s words. It is possible that the advertisement is too generalized. That’s why people understand the advertisement in the wrong way. In this case, you need to change the text and the advertising message.

When the number of calls is sufficient but the biggest amount of them is non-targeted, you need to follow step by step the schema below.

  1. You need to note the reasons that affect the results of the deal: what does the person say, what is he interested in, the questions he makes.
  2. Check whether the advertising leads to the relevant target page. Otherwise, it may be confusing for the visitors.
  3. Add a frequent mistaken request to the negative keywords list. For example, a company is selling flats, nevertheless, people are calling by the keyword “rent”.
  4. Change the text of your advertising and make it the more clear possible if the callers don’t understand the advertisement at all.

TIP №3. More than 5-10% missed calls set alarm bells ringing

Your main interests are the client that does not waste his money and advertising that brings deals. Moreover, it often happens that the customer can’t reach the company as there are not enough sales managers, or they are skipping work.

Missing calls is a real crime as it leads to money loss. 

Call tracking, as well as Google Analytics gives you an opportunity to view the missed calls’ statistics. You only need to open the appropriate report that is available in all projects by default.

6 useful tips for PPC Specialist working with call tracking data

Do not hesitate to discuss this with a customer. He is interested in employees who bring the profit but not financial loss. To make sure that your client doesn’t have any doubts, you may send a link to the call tracking report. He can check the missed calls report there on his own. It is also possible to give him a list of phone numbers and time when the sales managers have missed the calls. 

TIP №4: Pay attention to your callers from advertising  

Sometimes the customer can’t clearly understand who is in his target audience. For example, we were working with a client who was selling fishing equipment. Originally he thought that his targeted audience are men from 25 to 50 years old. Seems logical. However, the analytics showed lots of successful deals where the customers were women. Probably they were buying the fishing equipment as a present to their relatives.

You need to note the features of the unexpected category of customers if you found out one during the recordings listening. It may be that you or a client of the agency missed something while making the company’s set up. That’s why you need to change or expand the target audience.

TIP №5. Go deeper even if it seems that your creatives work well

Once we had a SaaS project that was working with contextual advertising and contextual targeting tool as our client. There were much more unique first calls on the second channel than on the first one. Moreover, they were cheaper. It was okay to stop here but as I said: you always need to drill in, so I did.

It turned out that advertising that was often shown on the website and the website design itself had the match style and colors. There were bright and attractive banners. Nevertheless, the message was abstract, like “Increase your sales”. Most of the audience considered the advertisement as a part of the website. Meanwhile, the text on the banner didn’t give the exact guidance to action. The visitors clicked on the advertisement, went to our customer’s website and called as they were mystified. As a result, there were a lot of requests from people who were interested in something else but not in the product. 

This problem when the specialist starts an ad campaign where the message is too generalized is quite widespread. In this case, people will call to discover what are you selling. Use concrete phrases instead of “beautiful” ones. Such a strategy will save your budget.

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TIP №6. Use calls data to test advertisements 

Calls from potential customers can be a nice tool to find out the advertisements that work and those that are not. You may use their data for testing the optimal advertisement texts. For example the frequent question: “to discover/not the product price”? It is directly related to business specifics and company tasks.

For example, it is possible to start the ad campaign without mentioning the price. On the hand, this will push people to call you. Then it’s the sales manager’s turn to enter the game. On the other hand, a certain part of the budget is unavoidably spending on clicks of people who are calling to specify the price and do not buy anything. Call data is helpful here to discover whether it was justified or not.

The gross profit is also important. For example, you are selling stationery. In the case when you don’t mention the price you will need enough people in your staff to answer the calls from those who only want to ask the price. This is barely profitable when the price of your product is about 2$. The same for you if you are a big retailer having thousands of products in your catalog. It is better to set the price at once here. Otherwise, the sales managers won’t be able to answer all the calls.

Property developer selling flats in the luxury new building is an opposite example. You may not mention the price here. Instead of it, better to point out the proximity to the sea, guarded area, free parking, etc. The customer will call to specify the price and the experienced sales manager will explain the advantages, persuade to visit the office, the location, etc.

Anyway, each business is unique in this or that way. That’s why only tests can help to choose the appropriate variant of the advertisement text. They are also useful when you need to decide what to mention or not in the text itself. For sure, the specialist’s experience as well important here, especially his previous work with similar companies.  


Call tracking helps a PPC Specialist to discover not obvious insights, to hear the customer and to understand how he perceives the advertisement. All this is useful to make the advertisement more effective and to bring more profit to the customer. To accomplish that, you need to follow several rules.

  1. Set up different goals for calls. You can’t define the advertisement efficacy when you analyze all requests without their division.
  2. Listen to the calls recordings at least at the early stages of the company launching. You will notice the problem at its early stages. Especially negligent sales managers who miss the leads.
  3. Prevent the client of the agency when there are more than 5-10% missed calls. In this case, the advertising budget is wasting and the number of customers is not growing up. 
  4. Pay attention to your callers from advertising. This will help you to define your target audience more precisely.
  5. Go deeper even if it seems that your creatives work well. A huge amount of calls may also be a problem indicator.
  6. Use call data to test advertisements. Search for creatives and advertising texts that bring requests from potential buyers. Avoid messages written in a too abstract way. Otherwise, you receive a lot of requests from people who don’t understand what you are selling.
About author

Editor of the Ringostat blog. Author of articles for the media about digital and big portals about business. Studied journalism at the Odessa National University named after I. I. Mechnikov.

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