In White Shark Media we have a lot of small business Clients who heavily rely on phone call leads generated via Google AdWords. This adds another facet to the aspect of managing your PPC account, as it does no longer just rely on your conversion data in the interface.
When doing lead generation via AdWords, it’s important not to just focus on getting a conversion, but also on what happens after the conversion.
In White Shark Media we include basic call tracking in all our AdWords management plans and encourage all eligible Clients to upgrade to a keyword-level call tracking solution. Basic call tracking is great for finding out your overall ROI from your PPC efforts, but it’s more or less worthless when trying to optimize your PPC campaign.
You need ad and keyword-level metrics in order to know what aspects are generating the majority of your leads. In this post I’m summarizing the process that we internally have in White Shark Media in order to process inbound leads for our own ad campaigns as well as for most of our Clients.
50% Contact Form Leads, 40% Calls and 10% Random Emails
When trying to generate leads you’ll always get quite a big percentage of leads that would rather call you than fill out your contact form. A study made in early 2011 lead us to the conclusion that less than 10% of over 25 ad agencies responded within 24 hours to a lead from a contact form.
If you’ve decided that you need help from a company, then calling instead of completing a contact form can therefore be a big time-saver if you’re afraid that you won’t get contacted in a timely manner. Yes, you should skip the company if they don’t have good enough service to answer new customer requests, but not all industries are filled with credible alternatives.
To help us track the many phone calls we get every month we decided to sign up with Mongoose Metrics, one of our oldest Call Tracking partners. Mongoose Metrics are a bit more expensive (IMO) than the other solutions out there, but their service is great and the platform works flawlessly.
Dynamic Keyword Level Call Tracking with Mongoose Metrics
The Mongoose Metrics technology allows us to integrate their call tracking into Google Analytics. This further allows us to integrate eligible phone calls into Google AdWords so we can optimize our AdWords campaigns directly in the interface (or utilize automated rules) without having to rely on third party review reports.
Another feature that is very important when you import your call tracking data to Analytics is that you don’t want to count all phone calls as conversions. I was very surprised with the amount of SPAM calls that came up through our call tracking. Many calls are of course filtered out, but we still see a lot of phone calls coming from automated machines or calls that are just irrelevant to our ad campaigns.
To avoid this, we used a feature in Mongoose Metrics allowing us not to import phone calls lasting below 60 seconds. It’s not perfect, but it filters out about 95% of the spam calls from being counted as conversions in our AdWords interface.
Just Getting a Conversion Is Not Enough
A distinction between managing AdWords campaigns for ecommerce and lead generation is the fact that just getting a lead is just half the battle.
A great example can be found in the highly competitive testosterone therapy industry. We took over a campaign from another agency that was doing great on paper. The overall cost-per-conversion was very low and the ads looked great.
However, after reviewing the website and confirming with the Client we found out that the campaign was set up without regards for obtaining a high lead quality.
All the leads came from keywords like testosterone supplements, testosterone bigger muscles etc. Our Client were looking for leads with the following profile:
- 40-60 years old
- Impotency, virility or depression problems
The chosen keywords and ad messages were attracting the wrong searchers from the SERPs.
Knowing your Lead Quality Determines your Bid Optimization Process
Different keywords will attract different leads. If you don’t know which keywords generated the leads you’ll never know how to optimize your bidding.
When optimizing your AdWords campaign it’s crucial to know the conversion value for the ad groups/keywords in order to optimize your bidding. Two campaigns might each generate 50 leads per month, but if one of the campaigns converts twice as many leads than the other , then you can afford to pay a lot more per conversion in the first campaign.
We’ve gone a step further with tracking keyword post-conversion value. We have developed a PHP code that pulls the keyword (organic or AdWords) being used by the lead in Google and puts it into the email we receive after the lead completes the contact form.
By combining this data with the keyword level call tracking we are able to set up a Google Docs sheet that gets updated on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. From these data we can quickly identify our keywords with the highest conversion value in dollars instead of just seeing a generic lead.
Optimizing our AdWords campaigns is now all about the conversion value provided by each keyword. This has proven to increase our AdWords ROI several 100% from when we only optimized based on the amount of immediate leads generated.
Lead Generation Is Harder Than Ecommerce
The process of managing inbound leads is in many instances more complicated than simply receiving an order from your ecommerce shopping cart.
There is a delay in finding out what the real value from a conversion is, you need to constantly follow up with the lead and you’re not guaranteed to get anything out of your AdWords conversions.
However, by implementing an all-round system to process your inbound leads you’ll be more likely to obtain the same amount of data as if you were managing an AdWords campaign for ecommerce.