PAY-PER-CLICK CALL TRACKING. How Call Tracking Data Can Improve & Optimize Your PPC Strategy

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How Call Tracking Data Can Improve & Optimize

Your PPC Strategy



Table of Contents

Introduction 3

What is PPC? 4

Google AdWords Features 6

What is Call Tracking? 8

Using Call Tracking to Enhance PPC 9

PPC Blind Spots 12

Integrating Call Tracking with Google AdWords and Analytics 14

Case Studies 16

Conclusion 18




If you’re reading this, you’re probably already very well-aware of how important measuring is to the success of your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Regularly analyzing data that’s gathered through Google AdWords, or your PPC platform of choice, will ultimately help you better understand what’s working and what isn’t, allowing you to tweak your campaigns as needed for improved performance and ROI.

Although AdWords and other PPC platforms like Bing Webmaster Tools already give you powerful insights into your audience behavior and campaign performance, there’s always more data to be analyzed

— data that may be virtually invisible to you at this time, meaning you may be missing an important piece of the analytics puzzle. Call tracking software can prove to be a valuable solution for marketers who are looking to get a better grasp on their audience behavior and actions in order to better optimize their overall PPC strategies.

This white paper will discuss:

• What call tracking is

• How call tracking can help improve your PPC strategy

• How to optimize Google AdWords and Analytics with call tracking for enhanced PPC analysis and reporting

• How call tracking can ultimately help improve your PPC ROI We’ll also share the stories of some businesses that have seen outstanding results after adding call tracking to their pay per click strategy.Our goal of publishing this white paper is to provide you with a better understanding of how call tracking can help enhance and optimize your PPC efforts to boost your ROI and decrease your ad spend.


What is PPC?

PPC advertising, is a form of digital advertising in which businesses or individuals elect to have their ads displayed online. In turn, they only pay whenever their ad is clicked.

There are two main types of PPC ads: search and display ads. Search ads, which are typically text based, appear in search engine results when triggered by certain keywords designated by the advertiser.

These types of ads work best when the target audience is actively searching for something, like a particular product or service.

Conversely, display ads often contain images and appear on certain websites that may or may not be relevant. That being said, these types of ads target more of a passive audience — in other words, someone visiting that website may not be shopping or searching for any

particular product or service, but they may be enticed to click on your ad if it’s intriguing enough. Therefore, you may have to work extra hard to create a display ad that will grab your target audience’s attention and get them to click.

Cost per click (CPC) is determined based on the competitiveness of a keyword and your Quality Score — the more competitive a keyword is, the more expensive it is; the higher your Quality Score, the less expensive your CPC. CPC for traditional search ads is typically higher than it is for display ads, mainly because click-thru rate (CTR) on search ads is usually higher.



The most popular platform for PPC advertising by far is Google AdWords, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the market.

However, Bing is definitely on the rise with as many as 1 in 3

Americans regularly relying on the search network. CPC is typically lower on Bing, too, which makes it even more attractive for those who are looking to boost their PPC game. In this white paper, we’ll primarily focus on Google AdWords and what its features can do for your business.


Google AdWords offers an assortment of powerful features that

businesses can leverage to enhance their online advertising, including but not limited to:

Keyword Planner

Arguably one of AdWords’ most popular features, Keyword Planner allows businesses to research what their target customers are

searching for online. This handy tool makes it easy for businesses to build out their keyword lists by showing which keywords have the best predicted performance and highest search volume. In turn, businesses can use this information to better optimize their PPC strategy and ultimately increase revenue and decrease ad spend. The best part?

Keyword Planner is free to use.

Powerful Insights

In addition to keywords, AdWords makes it easy to see important factors like clicks, your ad spend, and conversions, allowing you to get a thorough visual of your PPC ROI. Linking AdWords to Google Analytics gives you even deeper insight into your PPC success by following your customers’ behavior well after they click on your ad.

This information can allow you to get a better idea of your customer’s journey and life cycle to ultimately better optimize your campaigns.

Click to Call Ads

These types of ads are becoming increasingly more popular as more and more people use mobile for online research. Click to call ads offer the option to directly dial a business’s phone number when they’re clicked, allowing the visitor to instantly connect with that business or service.

Google AdWords Features



AdWords tracks click to call ads only when a user dials your business from their mobile device, not when the ad is clicked. This is beneficial because it allows you to accurately track incoming calls that stem from your PPC efforts. Click to call is available on both standard search ads, as well as “call-only” ads, the latter of which do not link to the business’s website — they only display the business’s name, phone number and a brief description. As simple as they are, call-only ads have been proven to increase phone calls and conversions thanks to their straightforward calls to action.

“When people are searching for a service on their mobile devices, they’re typically looking for a phone number, so these types of ads give them that connection right away without them having to dig around for a phone number online,” said Caesar, a senior paid search strategist at an e-commerce marketing agency. “These types of ads tend to convert better.

- Caesar Barba Inflow


Call tracking software allows businesses to measure phone calls as conversions and effectively track the customer journey from start to finish. This means tracking which digital and offline campaigns or keywords are driving calls, where callers are calling from, the pages the caller visited on your site before calling and deeper insights into your audience’s behavior. Since phone calls can be tracked as conversions, you’re able to get a more accurate picture of how potential leads become customers.

While Google Analytics, AdWords and other data analytics tools are powerful and necessary for proper analysis and reporting, they are unable to effectively track your advertising and marketing efforts as a whole, meaning you’re missing important information that can help you better optimize your overall strategy. By integrating call tracking into your marketing analytics toolbox, you’ll be able to get a 360-degree view of your marketing efforts and better understand your customer in order to improve your AdWords and PPC strategy.

What is Call Tracking?



Integrating call tracking into your marketing and advertising strategy can help you gain significant traction over your competitors and ultimately help you boost your revenue. How so? Because while AdWords and other PPC platforms offer their own set of powerful tools, adding call tracking to your PPC arsenal can help you better understand your audience’s behavior in order to more accurately optimize your ads for success. We’ll talk about some of call tracking’s most notable features and how they can help you decrease your PPC ad spend and ultimately increase your revenue.

Dynamic Number Insertion

Google AdWords and Bing Webmaster Tools make it easy to see which ads are performing the best over time. For example, you can go into those programs and see firsthand which ads got the most clicks and resulted in the most online sales. But how do you know which ads are driving calls?

That great mystery can be solved with dynamic number insertion.

This powerful feature generates unique phone numbers for each traffic source in order to better track where your calls are coming from. All it takes is one line of JavaScript and you’ll be able to see how each visitor arrives to your website and what interaction ultimately leads them to call you.

Keyword Level Call Tracking

As any marketer knows, certain keywords can be quite expensive thanks to their competition. But with call tracking in place, you’re

Using Call Tracking to

Enhance PPC



Keyword level call tracking gives marketers firsthand insight into exactly which keywords are driving calls and conversions. Again, while AdWords already offers great insights into the performance of your keywords, call tracking’s ability to determine the top keywords that convert into calls is crucial to building out your ad campaigns and optimizing them for success. If you have low-converting keywords, you can decrease your PPC ad spend by eliminating them from your campaigns. The better you understand what your audience is searching for, the better you can set up your campaigns for great results.

Campaign Level Call Tracking

Similarly, call tracking at the campaign level allows you to assign a unique phone number per campaign in order to determine what’s working and what isn’t. This is a great way for businesses to A/B test which campaigns are performing the best and resulting in the most calls. For example, you can place one call tracking number on version A of a Facebook ad and another on version B and see for yourself which is driving more conversions and clicks.

Again, campaign level call tracking can help you determine which paid ad campaigns are the most successful for your business. Continue to build out the campaigns that are driving consumer interest and you’ll have a better chance of setting up your PPC strategy for success.



The Benefits of Call Recording

Perhaps one of the most notable features of call tracking is the ability to record phone conversations. By recording phone calls, you’re able to better qualify leads, gain insight directly from your target customer, and identify areas of improvement with your customer service

department. But how does all of this tie back into PPC?

Let’s say someone picks up the phone after finding your paid ad online. With call recording in place, you discover exactly what your customer is looking for, any questions your customer has, and what additional details relayed by your staff ultimately lead him to buy. This is all extremely valuable information that would otherwise be lost in translation without call recording.

With call tracking, you know precisely which ad led to that call, allowing you to further build out that campaign for future success.

But on top of that, you’re able to take that recorded conversation and directly apply it to your campaign to better optimize it for results. Was there something your employee said that caused your customer to convert to a sale? Was there something specific that your customer was looking for? These details are just a few things you should be paying attention to in order to optimize your ad campaigns — and call recording can help you do that.


We’ve touched on some of the many outstanding features of Google AdWords. While AdWords is a powerful tool that is free to use, it may not be able to give you a thorough grasp on which of your PPC efforts are driving calls and conversions. We’ll briefly discuss some of the blind spots you may encounter with AdWords and how call tracking can improve your AdWords optimization.

Google Forwarding Numbers

Google AdWords offers its own version of call tracking through forwarding numbers. Similarly to how it determines which ads are driving clicks, AdWords can also track which click-to-call ads are driving calls and offer important information about your caller (such as location, call time, and whether or not the call actually connected to your business). You can also count phone calls as conversions per certain parameters (i.e. you can designate how long a call must be in order for it to count as a conversion).

That being said, you’re probably asking yourself why you would need a third-party call tracking service if you receive all of that information from AdWords. Why even bother exploring another option?

While we do agree that all of that is great information, the power of Google forwarding numbers only extends so far. For one, they can only be used on the Search Network, so you’re unable to drive and track calls from Display Network ads that reach roughly 90 percent of Internet users. More importantly, Google forwarding numbers are the property of Google; therefore, you can’t use them anywhere outside of Google (for example, on Facebook, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). As far as tracking and reporting goes, you’re essentially limited to Google click- to-call ads.

PPC Blind Spots



in order to gain a larger perspective of your PPC strategy. With call tracking, you can track phone calls generated by PPC ads across both Google and Bing, as well as any ads you wish to place on social media.

Through the power of dynamic number insertion, you have the ability to see each source of traffic directly at your fingertips, allowing you to tailor your paid campaigns according to your audience’s behavior.

Offline Conversion Tracking

We’ve talked about this quite a bit, but it’s important to note that call tracking enables you to track phone calls as conversions. While Google does allow you to count certain calls as conversions per your own parameters, you’re only limited to click-to-call ads. Otherwise, you’re only able to see and track online conversions, i.e. those that result from online transactions, subscriptions, registrations, etc. This means you could be missing a huge chunk of conversions that occur offline over the phone.

With call tracking in place, you’ll have a more thorough visual of which PPC efforts are resulting in offline conversions. Whether it’s a paid ad on Yelp that enticed someone to call or a display ad that caught a lead’s eye, you’ll be able to know exactly where your callers are coming from and be able to build out those campaigns for further success.

While Google Analytics and AdWords are powerful on their own, they’re even more powerful when paired with call tracking. Let’s take a look at the many useful features of AdWords and Analytics before we delve into how call tracking can integrate into your Google PPC accounts.


AdWords and Analytics Key Features

• Reporting – Google Analytics and AdWords both allow you to see your performance over time, such as impressions, clicks, traffic, sources, most popular pages, conversions, etc.

• Event tracking – A key component of Google Analytics, event tracking enables you to track things such as downloads, video plays and of course, ad clicks.How to optimize Google AdWords and Analytics with call tracking for enhanced PPC analysis and reporting

• Goal tracking – Another key feature of Analytics, goal tracking allows you to track conversions such as subscriptions,

transactions and downloads of gated content.

• Keyword Planner – One of the best features of Google

AdWords, Keyword Planner lets you research the best keywords to reach your target audience and create ad groups surrounding those keywords.

• Mobile and desktop insight – Google AdWords and Analytics give you in-depth insight into your mobile and desktop visitors’

behavior, allowing you to better tailor your ads for both audiences.

This data can sync seamlessly with additional information gathered via call tracking to make analysis and reporting easy to accomplish from one central location.

Integrating Call Tracking

with Google AdWords and




Pairing Call Tracking with Google Analytics and AdWords

By tracking calls as conversions, you’re able to see all the data right from your Google AdWords account. Tracking calls as conversions in AdWords can be done one of two different ways:

1. Set up call tracking to integrate with your Google Analytics account – By setting up goals for calls in Analytics, you can track them as conversions alongside other conversions, like online form fills or newsletter signups. The data will then be synced back to your AdWords account.

2. Manually import conversions as a spreadsheet into Google AdWords – Take the data as described above and manually import it into AdWords from Analytics for more hands-on reporting.

By implementing call tracking, you can see offline conversions

alongside your online conversions to gain an accurate perspective of your marketing ROI.


Call tracking has proven to be effective in helping many businesses optimize their PPC campaigns. We’ll take a look at two real-life success stories.

Top Level Management

A provider of businesses and marketing services for franchisors, Top Level Management places a focus on PPC consulting and

management as part of their business model. The company knew that one of their clients’ AdWords campaigns was driving more than 50 percent of their phone leads, yet they didn’t have an effective way to measure the data.

Once the company turned to call tracking, Top Level Management was able to gather insight into which keywords were driving qualified leads and sales. Armed with this knowledge, the company has been able to better optimize their ads and lower their customer acquisition cost by 66 percent. They also discovered that more than 70 percent of their leads stem from phone calls, and twice as many people turn to phone calls versus Web forms. Without call tracking in place, the company would be missing all of this important information and wasting valuable ad spend on insufficient PPC efforts.

“Once we see what keywords are driving leads through AdWords, we can optimize ads to drive more of those qualified leads,” said Ross Kaplan-Winn, search engine marketing manager at Top Level Management. “Without CallRail’s keyword level call tracking, we wouldn’t be able to view any of this data.”

Case Studies



National Builder Supply

National Builder Supply is an e-commerce retailer that specializes in delivering home renovation products. After implementing call tracking, the company was able to cut its PPC ad spend by 60 percent

— all while maintaining sales volume. How? By seeing exactly which campaigns were underperforming without any guesswork.

After giving those low-value campaigns the axe, National Builder Supply has been able to better optimize its campaigns thanks to the solid set of data provided

through call tracking. As a bonus, the company was also able to pull some underperforming products off of Amazon thanks to the insights gathered through call tracking.

“CallRail has really made the difference for us,” said David Gallmeier, marketing and development for National Builder Supply. “I now have a solid picture of sales, revenue and margin attribution. I no longer give underperforming advertisements the benefit of the doubt; I can just eliminate the expense.”


When paired with the powerful features of Google AdWords and Analytics, call tracking can ultimately help you increase your revenue and decrease your PPC ad spend. With powerful insights into which keywords and campaigns are driving conversions, as well as those gathered by call recording, you can gain an in-depth perspective of your PPC strategy and optimize it for better results to increase your ROI.

If you’re interested in using call tracking to enhance your PPC efforts, we invite you to review the many benefits of CallRail’s software. You can explore all the innovative features that can ultimately help you improve your PPC analysis and optimization in order to boost your marketing and advertising ROI. If you’d like to take get a tour of CallRail, request a demo and we’ll walk you through the software.


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