The Guide to the History of Call Tracking – How it all Started
Few years ago, marketers were troubled with the fact that they received a rather inadequate analysis of their marketing efforts. They faced many challenges amongst which included the inability to fully see the true performance of their advertising and also a view of their marketing ROI. Phone calls are always considered as a conversion and there was no tool to track those conversions. Out of the desire for increased visibility into lead sources, Call tracking was birthed by some evidence-based marketers. And as we celebrated a call tracking day on October 30th, we decided to create a comprehensive guide on the history of this technology — how it developed and the current trends that are crucial for today’s top-notch businesses.
It’s no longer news that a lot of companies have claimed to be the founders or the brain behind the idea of call tracking. But we are still unaware as to who actually came up with this history making call analysis software. We’ve heard different call tracking company founders explain how it all started for them. Alex Maksymeniuk, CEO and сo-founder at Ringostat Intelligent Call tracking was caught up in an interview where he dished out some experiences he had prior to launching the tool that has become the number one call tracking service in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and top-5 in CIS region. And still expanding its reach into the western world.
So Let’s Begin with How it all Started
The whole concept of call tracking sprung up because there was a need to record information about inbound telephone calls. This technology enables the pay per call, pay per lead or pay per minute business model, providing the opportunity for call tracking to be linked with performance-based advertising such as Google AdWords, SEO services etc. From the very onset till date, this tech has passed through several developmental stages to get to where it is today. In 2014 Google released the Google Adwords call tracking tool which became a logical extension of their corporate analytics package. It achieved a reputation that made it a charismatic solution – being that it’s free and can allow insertion of dynamic numbers. But this tool has limitations, which we recently gathered in this post. This propelled marketers to dig deeper in finding a lasting solution to the problem of inadequate data from phone calls. Let’s have a close look on how Call tracking technology has evolved so far.
It all started off from, well;
- Questions — Businesses started asking customers and potential clients questions like, “where did you get our phone number? Where did you hear about us”. Well the full scenario is that the marketing team of these businesses must have left a phone number on several public ads – on print media, TV, radio, bill boards, newspapers etc. At the moment they were definitely not certain which source the inbound call is coming from.
Well over time as more of these calls kept coming in, they thought of finding a means to decipher exactly where each call is coming from. But this was an extremely tasking way of achieving success in understanding the source of inbound phone calls. So they thought of other ways to make work a lot more easier and receive better analytics. And they came up with the idea of using promo codes on advertising campaigns.
- Promo codes — promo codes were mostly used for online advertising in order to improve data accuracy on the inbound calls. Online shops took great advantage of this to better understand the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. They could see which platforms generate the most calls or lead to conversions.
The promo codes also provided a certain kind of incentive for the customers, which increased the propelling force that makes them purchase. Promo codes are an excellent way of tracking and measuring advertising ROI. Just by using a different code for each campaign outlet (i.e Google or Bing or Facebook or Twitter etc), they were able to see exactly how many sales each campaign generated. Attaching specific numbers and letters to different ad campaigns is quite helpful. In a case where a customer sees the promotion advertised in an email or on social media but doesn’t click immediately to follow through on the promotion, but rather calls in with the promo code. You could still be able to analyze and capture the ROI of the advertising campaign when the customer will dictate the code to you.
By the way, Ringostat also provides call tracking service via promo codes. Although we’ve advanced to higher and better levels. But of course, you can always check out what we have regarding this service. But this method of course couldn’t provide the excellent way of accurately analyzing the phone calls. In some cases mistakes could occur from both parties – the customer and the sales agent who receives the promo code from customer. For instance, in the process of dictating the code, the client might mention the wrong number of letter or the sales agent might record the wrong numbers. And in this scenario, a huge error is inevitable. And in the effort to find a system that could provide more accurate data and prevent these mistakes from reoccurring, the evidence-based marketers came up with the idea of classic call tracking.
- Classic call tracking — in its most basic form, classic call tracking software can associate a campaign with a single business phone number. And it can allow a business to automatically monitor phone metrics like number of calls, source of the calls and the duration of the calls. This totally ended the era of asking the lead, “How did you find us?”. Classic call tracking also empowers companies to determine which offline engagements add the most value. Prior to this time, marketers struggled to gain visibility into which television or radio ads, for example, offer the best returns. Imagine you operate a real estate business and you want to run radio ads, but unsure as to which demographics will give the best ROI. Assuming you finally ended up, running ads on a talkshow radio station, a Top 20 station and a music station. For you to accurately understand which ads drive most sales, you will need to assign three separate phone numbers. And with call tracking system you can then know which of the three performs best and drives the most sales.
Well of course a good business is one that always strives to improve and gain new levels and like Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”. In a quest for a higher customer journey data accuracy, the evidence-based marketers sought to understand even deeper what triggers inbound phone calls and not just know the advertising source that generates more ROI. They wanted to narrow it down to the keyword level and particular ads. The initial idea was to assign a particular phone number to each keyword, but of course that was beyond the bounds of possibility. And then comes dynamic call tracking.
- Dynamic call tracking — this type of call tracking provided a much better dynamics of tracking inbound phone calls and allowed marketers to see and receive more insight into the customer journey — down to very keyword that brought the calls. It’s based mainly on the user session on the website. Using dynamic call tracking, site visitors are shown different phone numbers. A particular virtual phone number from the pool of phone numbers is assigned to each user session thus, marketers could track and understand the user experience individually.
It’s pretty much in line to say that most online marketers are not properly tracking phone calls and properly linking them to the right advertising source. There might be some misuse or failures in the accurate implementation of a solid strategy for dynamic call tracking.
So what’s the best way to use call tracking
To achieve maximum possible results using call tracking, a carefully planned implementation process comes into play. Call tracking pays off but if not rightly used, will yield inadequate results. Imagine giving a million dollars to a startup and this newbie company lacks the right skills to properly investment this money – the inevitable will definitely happen. At the end of the day, there’s an almost 100% tendency that the startup must have misused the funds. Same goes with the tech call tracking if a business will not implement it properly.
For example, to implement a dynamic trackable phone number on a campaign specific landing page:
- Choose a call tracking service that will provide you with the ability to utilize a dynamic trackable number.
Google has a feature called the website call conversions or Google call tracking, but this actually does not allow to listen to the call recordings or see the caller ID, which are some of the basic data that online marketers require to truly understand in real time who converted and who didn’t.
- Find a prominent position on your landing page and place the phone number. Make sure it’s visible enough for site visitors.
- Use dynamic call tracking to track calls based on the keywords and campaigns that generate them.
Keep in mind the core reasons why call tracking was implemented in the first place. This will help you stay in tune with the evolving trend. The tool came on board to answer questions like:
- How to successfully manage advertising budget by knowing the channels that bring calls and those that has poor performance in terms of amount of phone calls to your company.
- How to better understand your customer journey.
- How to control and reduce the amount of missed calls
- How to monitor, optimize and improve the performance of your sales reps
As an online marketer, you can as well, have a visible list of these core reasons somewhere in your office or at home. It helps to keep you in focus and working towards achieving the best results with call tracking. We have seen recently that call tracking plays great roles in different sectors globally and so many success stories have been recorded. As it progressed, the system must have passed through several stages of failures, which of course led to many improvements that it has gone through so far. The best advice is to understand the service way more better and find out for yourself how best you can use the it to better your business. Look out for some operational tips that will help you properly implement call tracking for optimum productivity.
What about the next phase of call tracking? What are the tendencies for improvements?
The change and history of call tracking has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Marketers up until today still seek for better ways to analyze phone calls and receive the best of results. The quest still continues and we are currently looking at call tracking becoming an important part of omnichannel analytics and thus the new development should be backed up with the optimization of call tracking with a more powerful API and web-hooks, which will allow to transfer call tracking data in real time to other services and systems – like the CRM system or the BI solutions. This new development model will give the marketers the opportunity to better implement the omnichannel analytics and therefore drive more results and we have provided a detailed instruction for marketers to guide in the implementation process.
Talking about tendency for more developments of this call tracking service, here at Ringostat, we’ve come up with a new better call tracking script – version 4, which will be launched this fall. The new scripts comes with interesting flexible and adjustable features to give users the best experience ever. Such flexibility will include:
- The ability to use lesser amount of phone number for the same number of visitors thereby saving you some $$$.
- The new script will collect the same data that Google Analytics can collect. And it promises to be the most accurate call tracking script amongst many other alternatives.
- A one time installation of the script and if need be to adjust anything, you can easily get onto the interface and make any required changes without the help of a programmer.
In the end of the day, all that matters is quality and the ability to be most successful as both a marketer and a customer. Call tracking has played a major role in businesses since its inception and will continue to do so. And as the search for a more improved data analytics on phone calls continues, we here at Ringostat promise to keep you apprised of the most recent developments.