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PPC 101: How to Make Calls Part of Your Paid Mobile Search Strategy

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Eric Holmen
Eric Holmen
PPC 101: How to Make Calls Part of Your Paid Mobile Search Strategy

Mobile isn’t the future of marketing, it’s our current reality. With more than 160 million consumers using smartphones in the U.S., it’s no surprise that mobile ad spending will hit nearly $18 billion this year, according to Gartner. Mobile search is the door to discovery, but what happens beyond browsing? Today’s consumers want a straightforward path — and that doesn’t mean thumbing their information into tiny forms on their mobile screens.

When it comes to buying something, consumers inherently know something many marketers overlook: A mobile phone is also…well, a phone. And more and more consumers are choosing to pick up the phone. BIA/Kelsey estimates that mobile search will drive more than 70 billion consumer calls to businesses by 2018. And they are picking up the phone at an important time — when they’re about to buy.

In today’s mobile world, voice conversations are the key to conversions, as calls convert at a higher rate than clicks do. And data about those calls and conversations can help you unlock a major mobile marketing opportunity and improve your paid search performance.

Consider these do’s and don’ts for making inbound calls a part of your mobile search strategy:

Track Your Calls, But Don’t Rely Only on Google

Google recently announced Website Call Conversions, which lets advertisers get attribution data for calls that follow ad clicks. This innovation helps marketers update their digital marketing playbook, but Google AdWords is only one place marketers are spending money to drive calls. What about the billions spent in other channels like email, display, social, print, radio, TV, affiliates, and even other search marketing platforms?

While it’s important to know when a call occurs and what search ads drove that call, basic call tracking for search marketing efforts leaves a huge piece of the attribution pie missing. Be sure you have the broad capabilities to track all of your call conversions – closing the loop by attributing them back to the specific campaign that drove the call. With dynamic call tracking, a unique tracking phone number is assigned to each online visitor. If this number is called, you will capture the online activity that preceded the call such as the search engine, campaign, keyword, landing page and any other unique parameters you need to track.

Capture Powerful Data Unique to Calls

Optimizing your paid search campaigns doesn’t end with connecting online actions and offline conversations. There is a wealth of data within each phone call that has the potential to improve your marketing efforts and the way you reach customers. Capture everything they’ve done leading up to the call, and use custom parameters to gather any other unique data that’s relevant to your marketing efforts.

Think about getting the same metrics for call interactions that you would for clicks: the keywords that drove the call, the ad group (if applicable), which campaign prompted the call, and the landing page from which the consumer called. Be sure to get demographic data, too: the caller’s city or region, the date of the call, whether they are a new or repeat caller, and whether it was a customer service or a sales call.

This information will help you direct callers to the right person immediately, creating a better experience for your potential customer and increasing conversions. If you can predict which calls will be the best, you can route the most valuable customers to the right place, while sending low-value callers through less expensive marketing channels.

How to Make Calls Part of Your Paid Mobile Search StrategyImage credit: Pixabay

Don’t Just Track Where a Call Comes From, Track What Happens on the Call

Tracking calls from search is an important first step, but understanding the outcome of a call is the only way to figure out the true ROI for paid search.

Tie online campaigns to actual revenue by tracking the call’s outcome. Was an appointment set? Was a quote given? Was a sale made? What is the lifetime value of the customer? Which keywords drove the most valuable calls?

Examine which campaigns convert better offline, then optimize landing pages, ads, and messaging to encourage calls. Listen to calls so you can understand customer questions and objections. If you see the same question repeatedly arise, you may want to clarify the copy on your ads and landing page. If an expensive keyword keeps driving customer service calls instead of new customers and sales, you may want to reconsider your bidding strategy or drop the keyword altogether, encouraging customers to click-through your organic listing instead.

Make it Easier for Prospects to Call

Once you start capturing inbound call analytics, one thing will become abundantly clear — your mobile customers want to call. Nearly half of mobile searchers say if a business does not have a phone number associated with its search results, they likely explore other brands, according to Google.

Make sure you’re getting the most for your mobile paid search investment.

Make it convenient for them by using call extensions, prominently displaying phone numbers on your landing pages, using click-to-call buttons that open up an autodialer, and encouraging your prospects to call with a clear and powerful call-based call-to-action.

People who take the trouble to dial the phone to ask questions are typically valuable prospects you don’t want to ignore. Their interactions can tell you a great deal about your paid search performance and show untapped areas for growth.

When it comes to your paid mobile search strategy, phone calls present a major opportunity. Make the most of inbound calls by tracking call conversions beyond Google, capturing valuable call data – including the outcome of the call – and streamlining the steps a customer takes to call your business.

Featured Image: Mark Fischer via Shutterstock

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Eric Holmen

Eric Holmen

Eric Holmen is president at Invoca, the call intelligence company. He is a proven growth leader bringing over 20 years ... [Read full bio]

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