Paid Search

4 Predictions for Call Tracking in 2014

Call tracking is a nearly $1B industry. Call tracking is used primarily by online marketers to track which ads, campaigns, and keywords are generating phone calls. Most users are advertisers, agencies, and publishers that want to know where to spend valuable marketing budget dollars. In short: they want to figure out which marketing dollars generate phone calls and which don’t. 

Since call tracking is such an integral part of the SEM world, and since 2013 was such a watershed year in the call tracking industry, many marketers wonder what’s going to happen in 2014.

Prediction 1 – Google will, at some point, expand their call tracking offerings.

They already provide call tracking numbers for certain Pay Per Call ads and word is they’re looking to expand even more. This has been written about on SEJ and elsewhere.

So, what does this mean?

First, it probably means very little for marketers already using call tracking. Google will likely not expand into Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI), which most online marketers use to get call tracking data. It is likely that Google’s offerings will remain mobile-focused.

Second, if marketers only want raw numbers of phone calls, Google call tracking may work well for them. However, extensive case studies conducted by LogMyCalls and our partners indicate that Google call tracking isn’t…well…terribly accurate.

Google call tracking simply tracks–and bills you–when a phone number is tapped on a mobile phone and the call process begins. It does not track:

  1. how frequently the call actually reached the business, or
  2. whether or not the caller was actually a sales inquiry.

In short: Google’s data will display ‘calls’ that never actually arrived at your business. In our case studies almost 40% of the calls Google displayed via their call tracking were never even arrived at the business. The caller terminated them before the phone even rang. However, if someone were using Google call tracking, they would never have known that.

Prediction 2 – Advanced analytics solutions will grow in popularity.

Basic call tracking just doesn’t cut it anymore. Marketers are demanding more data from their phone calls. They’re demanding as much data from their call analytics dashboards as they receive from their web analytics tools. Imagine, for example, if a web analytics tool only provided raw visits and referring source? That would be a very substandard web analytics tool.  And yet, that’s basically what regular call tracking provides.

Marketers are increasingly demanding more data. Thus, the several call tracking solutions that offer advanced analytics tools will grow in popularity in 2014. Those that don’t provide advanced analytics will be left behind.

Prediction 3 – Local search experts will completely accept call tracking.

This is a bold prediction. The long held belief that call tracking harms SEO is starting to dissipate. Local search experts are realizing, that when used correctly, call tracking does not harm SEO. And, fortunately, call tracking providers are educating their clients more effectively about the incorrect ways to use call tracking.

Call tracking can hurt SEO when it is used on directory listings of any kind. These uses of call tracking numbers confuse Google and harm NAP which will, in turn, eventually damage rankings. (Of course, no one knows how much rankings are harmed by a messed up NAP). And once the incorrect NAP is out of the proverbial barn, it is difficult to get back inside.

However, if call tracking is used correctly, via Dynamic Number Insertion on websites, it does not, in fact, CANNOT, hurt SEO. In this case, a unique phone number is simply displayed via a Javascript snippet when a visitors comes to the site via a specific source, campaign, or channel.

The hard-coded number never changes. NAP is not confused and all is right with the world. All local search experts, even those openly critical of call tracking providers, universally acknowledge this fact.

Call tracking does not hurt SEO if implemented correctly. In 2014 more local marketers will realize this. Our prediction is that this ‘concern’ will largely dissipate at 2015 dawns.

Prediction 4 – Marketers will demand more integrations with other SaaS platforms

In 2014 a call tracking provider that can’t send and receive data from other SaaS platforms will be rendered essentially useless. There are several that provide robust API and functionality and one or two that provide Webhooks. There are some that integrate with specific solutions. In 2014 this integration capability will rise in importance. Marketers will demand it.

Final prediction: 2014 is going to be a massive year for call tracking.

 

Featured Image Credit: Screenshot taken 12/15/2013 of www.LogMyCalls.com

 4 Predictions for Call Tracking in 2014

McKay Allen

Inbound Marketing Manager at LogMyCalls
McKay Allen is the Inbound Marketing Manager at LogMyCalls. He has spoken at SMX, Social Media Strategies Summit and elsewhere. He hosts a weekly webinar series where he has interviewed over 100 marketing experts. Download his most recent White Paper 5 Ways to Prove Marketing ROI with Call Tracking
 4 Predictions for Call Tracking in 2014
 4 Predictions for Call Tracking in 2014

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3 thoughts on “4 Predictions for Call Tracking in 2014

  1. Good Predictions I must say, but don’t you think It will take some more time ( I mean two three years ) till people; especially online business owners will accept this as integral part of their tracking campaigns?
    As far as online marketing agencies are concerned I totally agree with your predictions, these smart guys (like you ;) ) would definitely try to convince their customers to pay attention to call tracking too as they pay attention to analytics. All in all, good post indeed and hopefully a good news for call tracking agencies like yours.

  2. I love call tacking and completely agree. This industry is going to boom in 2014. I started with about 5 tracking numbers in 2012 and am now up to over 50. They work great for tracking where your traffic is coming from and for showing clients that they are benefiting from our efforts. We record the calls using our tracking service and the client can go into the dashboard to listen to the recordings later. This is also a great feature for a search marketing company that wants to use a pay for performance model.

  3. What is interesting about Google Call Tracking is that we’re seeing up to 70% of call abandonment rate when using Click-to-Call on mobile ads.

    What happens when people click on the little phone or “Call” button on an Adwords ad, they get a confirmation popup that says “Dial (555) 123-4567?” with Call and Cancel buttons. Google considers this as a successful click to call but in reality the company didn’t actually receive a call.

    I’d be interested to see what solution will come about for this.