Calls are in — in a big way. The adoption of mobile and ease of satisfying a near-immediate search need with a quick phone call have fueled the universal acceptance of calls as a key engagement and conversion indicator. All direct response advertisers — regardless of size or sophistication — understand and appreciate the value of a call.
As attribution conversations heat up and marketers look for ways to validate the performance of their various ad campaigns, many are adopting calls as a cross-media performance metric for their desktop and mobile search campaigns.
With this growth, however, it is important for marketers not to lose sight of the call measurement best practices that are essential to maximizing the value that call-based programs can deliver.
To extend the value of call-based advertising programs, marketers must adopt the following best practices:
1. Take A Data-Driven Approach
Call counts alone are an over simplification of call measurement results, so apply big data principles to call-based advertising programs to glean relevant insights. Actionable intelligence like caller demographics, peak call times, call durations and caller location can reveal valuable patterns that can help inform and optimize campaigns.
For example, we worked with one local advertising provider that was placing ads across six different distribution partners to evaluate which partners delivered the highest quality calls and conversions.
Ultimately, the analysis enabled the provider to reduce the number of distribution partners while increasing higher quality lead generation.
2. Track Calls, Not Clicks
While click-to-call metrics validate the number of times a consumer pressed an ad’s call button, there is no visibility into whether the call connected, nor access to the additional metrics available when you measure the duration of the call.
Marketers must use call measurement technology that can monitor the entire call session to gain visibility into the engagement and conversion indicators. This data is only available when measuring calls with unique tracking numbers and is key to helping businesses evaluate lead quality and validate purchase behavior and engagement.
3. Monitor Online-Offline Attribution
Calls are a universal metric that link traditional and digital consumer response. In fact, dynamic number insertion (DNI) technologies allow advertisers to tie calls back to the online or mobile source that delivered the lead, thus bridging the online-offline attribution gap and revealing the true impact of direct response ad campaigns.
With DNI, phone numbers on an advertiser’s website or landing pages are dynamically replaced with call tracking numbers based on how the visitor arrived at the site or page — via mobile search engine and/or keyword combination, etc.
4. Block Telemarketer Spam
With nearly 40 percent of all ad-driven calls originating from telemarketers, eliminating these spam calls before they reach the advertiser is key. Marketers should seek out providers that offer robust solutions to identify and block suspected telemarketer calls from reaching advertisers.
Telemarketer spam can have serious financial implications as advertisers could be paying for costly telemarketing calls that take valuable time away from the business, so using an automatic telemarketer call block solution saves time, frustration and money as well as ensures the quality of the call tracking analytics.
5. Use Local Phone Numbers When Possible
Location matters to local search consumers — they want a truly local business — and the business’s phone number is a key identifier of location.
One of our advertising solutions provider clients ran two mirror local plumbing campaigns where the only difference was the phone number. One series of ads ran with toll free numbers and the other series of ads ran local numbers. The ads with the local numbers generated four times the number of calls as the ads with the toll free numbers.
Be wary of providers that try to pigeonhole you into toll free numbers only. It is important to ensure you have access to a scalable number of local lines including a hybrid network of digital and traditional lines.
6. Increase Conversions With Effective Inbound Call Handling
The consumer’s phone experience once the business answers the call plays a big role in determining whether the lead converts. To capitalize on phone leads and improve conversions, make sure staff is well trained on phone handling.
General sales and customer service training is a must. This includes live staffing of phones during peak call times, friendly, helpful phone staff and knowledge of relevant promotions. Also as many local businesses today rely on interactive voice response (IVR) solutions, make sure the prompts are efficient and customized for your business to help engage the caller.
Calls are now a go-to performance metric for mobile and local direct response ad campaigns, but also for generating a complete picture of results for cross-platform ad initiatives.
However, time-tested call measurement best practices are essential to optimizing the resulting intelligence for improved ad campaign performance, increased conversions and ultimately a sustainable revenue boost.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.