AnalyticsHow FREE Website Call Conversion Tracking From Google Will Benefit You

How FREE Website Call Conversion Tracking From Google Will Benefit You

If a large percentage of your website sales happen over the phone, this is a huge announcement by Google that they will offer FREE call conversion tracking.

Are you using call-tracking software?

More than 70 percent of mobile searchers use click-to-call when getting to your website. Do you get calls from your website that you can’t track?

If a large percentage of your website sales happen over the phone, this is a huge announcement by Google to offer FREE call conversion tracking.

For years Google has had Call Extensions that allow you to use a unique phone number in the PPC ads. The problem is many users don’t call from the ad; they click through to the website before calling. This means they will see the generic phone number and the advertiser has no idea where that call came from. In the example below, using AdWords Call Extensions, you can see which PPC ads generated calls, the cost per call, and the conversion rate of visitors to calls.


Google now offers advertisers the ability to use unique numbers on your website to see which campaigns are driving calls. Call extensions help you optimize which ads generate calls but now you can see when a visitor clicks through to your website which keyword they used before calling.

To use this feature you have to have text numbers not images and add a small script to your website. Google can now dynamically change the phone number based on the campaigns or keyword used. When a visitor comes to your website from a search ad, the visitor will see a unique number, not just the main number that you have on the site. This allows you, the advertiser, the ability to identify which keywords and campaigns are driving calls.

How Does Call Tracking Work?

There are two common types of call tracking options:

  1. Session-Based, where every visitor coming to the site receives a unique phone number based on the referring URL.
  2. Rule-Based, where you only use a unique phone numbers for specific campaigns.

In the example below, when you come directly to you see 888-909-RAIN, but when you come from Google AdWords (?s=gaw), the visitor will see a different phone number.


Why Is This Important?

I have always told my clients that if you get more than 20 percent of your sales or leads from phone calls, then you need to invest in call analytics to help identify which campaigns and keywords are working and which ones are wasting money. Before Google released website call conversion tracking, I would usually recommend a third-party vendor from the list below.


You still need to use a third-party vendor if you want to track other campaigns outside of Google AdWords such as Bing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, display, or offline ads including TV or radio. In order to get the most accurate data around phone calls, you probably should use a vendor, but paying per number and per minute can get expensive.

The ultimate goal of search marketing is to identify profitable keywords (that drive sales or calls) and maximize the volume you can get form these keywords.

Before call analytics the only method of identifying profitable keywords was to dig into your Web analytics to see which keywords generated an online conversion, which usually meant they purchases a product or filled out a form. With mobile devices growing in popularity, more conversions happen over the phone versus online.

How to Find Profitable Keywords From Your Competition

Other than using your own keyword data and analytics, another strategy to find profitable keywords is to spy on your competition. There are several tools that allow you to see which keywords are working for your competition, but has an algorithm that calculates Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI). This tool helps you quickly see the keywords that are working for them by looking at several factors, including days seen, average position, and last seen date.


Any keyword more than 80 KEI is usually working for an advertiser. As you can see above, Wine Racks America’s top three keywords with more than a 97 KEI are “wine rack store,” “wine rack design,” and “wine cellar ideas.” After we locate the top keywords with the highest KEI, I usually evaluate the search volume these words have to prioritize the opportunity. Use this strategy to uncover profitable keywords if you are a new advertiser or if you haven’t collected enough Web or call analytics data on your own marketing.

Takeaways/Action Items

For beginners, this post, The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Conversion Types, is a great starting point to understand the current conversion tracking options in AdWords. Most of the time the keywords that drive online sales or leads are the same keywords that drive phone calls. But I have seen a keyword look like a loser so we turn it off and then the phone stops ringing.

In conclusion, when most of your conversions happen over the phone, this new call conversion feature from Google will allow you to see where these calls are coming from, which helps you generate more profit per keyword. My only concern with this technology is the reliability of the phone numbers, call quality, and bandwidth if you get significant calls from your marketing. Feel free to try it out, get some call conversion data, and then return to your normal phone numbers once you feel you understand what is working and what should be paused or eliminated. Let me know your experience with call tracking and any positive or negative results in the comments below.


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