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Tracking Phone Calls from AdWords

It’s vital to track conversions from advertising spend on AdWords, whether they are sales, online enquiries, sign-ups or other actions that might take place following a click on an ad. For many companies, phone calls are an important metric but the tracking of these can be difficult as the action can take place offline and therefore breaks any link with an AdWords click. However, there are a number of ways to track calls from this activity.

If phone calls are an important conversion action for your business then there are a number of ways you could track these:

a) Ask the caller – at the simplest level, remember to ask a new caller where they heard about you, and whether they found you through Google. Of course this isn’t ideal as you and your staff need to remember to ask the question, and the caller may not know the difference between a paid or organic search result, or what search term they used!

b) Use call extensions – one of the standard ad extensions that can be used is call extensions, where your phone number of shown with your ad, and on a mobile this can be a ‘click to call’ button. You can track conversions with a Google call forwarding number from the extension, but mostly works when this is activated from a mobile ad. Also this tracking doesn’t pick up calls once people have gone from your ad and view your website.

c) Phone calls as events – one way to get around the above issue is to tag your phone number on your website with event tracking code in Google Analytics (or Tag Manager) so that if someone clicks a phone number on your website – usually from a mobile device – then this will be counted in Analytics and can be used as a goal / conversion. Again, this only works when there is a direct interaction with your phone number and won’t capture people who pick up their phone and manually dial your number.

d) Tracking calls from your website – to get around the above issue then requires call tracking on your website. This can be done through paid services such as those offered by Jet Interactive or Avanser, or you could use Google’s own call conversion tracking which requires some set up on your website. This means that you use dynamically-generated Google forwarding numbers that replace your business number on your website, without any cost to you. As a result, you can see which specific keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns are leading to call conversions.

Setting up the call tracking on your site is relatively straight-forward but does require some script changes and may need to be done by your website developer if you’re not confident in the process. Google does provide step by step guidance for this, and it’s easier to implement if your phone number is part of your HTML code, rather than embedded in an image. This tracking will also mean that AdWords visitors to your site won’t see your own number but a Google provided number, although this is probably less important than not tracking the action in the first place.

If you want to implement any of these phone call tracking methods and would like any further information or help from us, please get in touch.


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