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Should Marketers Use One-to-One or User-Level Call Tracking?

Jonathon Byrd Customer Success Director, DialogTech

Call tracking for digital sources and channels requires an in-depth, comprehensive strategy. Without a firm grasp on what you’re looking to track and the level of granularity needed by source, marketers will end up with either not enough information to make data-driven decisions or too much information, which leads to a prolonged process of determining how to use that data. Below, you will find a list of various sources and channels that can utilize call tracking and the pros and cons for using one-to-one vs user level tracking.

Paid Search

Call tracking for paid search is the most common use case for session-level tracking. It provides a granular level of information that allows marketers to obtain a full grasp on what keywords, adgroups, and campaigns drive the most offline conversions. By tracking paid search at a session level, call conversions can be integrated into AdWords and bid management platforms (such as Kenshoo, Marin, DoubleClick, and more) so marketers can make bidding decisions based on online and offline conversions. Without call tracking, marketers have a black hole in their dataset and cannot fully optimize campaigns as they may only be utilizing half or less of the total conversions to make decisions.

For those that are new to tracking calls, using a one-to-one approach can be beneficial, especially if you do not have any clues as to how many calls are generated by your website. By utilizing this conservative approach initially, marketers can determine the quantity of calls generated by their website and can then make a data-driven decision to move to session-level tracking if the benefits outweigh the costs.

Display Advertising

Based on my past experience, marketers seem to go back and forth as to whether user-level data for display ads is necessary. Personally, I feel that next to paid search, display campaigns should utilize session-level tracking because marketers can gain significant insight into which campaigns are and are not driving offline call conversions. When utilizing session-level tracking for display, marketers can determine what devices visitors are using, which ad copy drives more call conversions than others post click, and of course, what domains are referring the most visitors to the website.

Utilizing one-to-one tracking for display provides a general call count at a campaign level and helps marketers determine which campaigns drive more conversions. However, marketers gain no additional insight into which ads and copy perform best. Also, one-to-one tracking cannot utilize third-party integrations with bid management platforms or AdWords due to the lack of a captured unique visitor ID. Therefore call data will only be viewable in Google Analytics or first-party reporting.

Email Marketing

Generally, I recommend one-to-one tracking for email campaigns. I’m not referring to just adding a trackable number in the content of the email but rather the act of dynamically inserting a phone number to visitors that arrive onto a website from a link provided in an email. DialogTech, for example, has the ability to dynamically show the same number used in email content to a visitor that arrives onto a website directly from that email. This provides further call attribution to calls that did not occur from the email itself but rather that person’s visit to the site from that content.

Session-level tracking can be utilized for visitors that arrive onto a landing page from emails, however, the phone number costs associated with tracking these visitors at a session level typically outweigh the visitor data acquired.

SEO (Organic and Referrals)

Perhaps the most debatable, SEO user-level call tracking can be extremely beneficial for marketers looking for insight into what non-paid sources are driving offline call conversions. Using this tactic, marketers are also able to determine what devices people use to browse and contact businesses by phone, and what are the popular landing page and organic paths that ultimately lead to phone call conversions.

The con to tracking these channels at a session level is that depending on site traffic, it can be cost prohibitive for those who have strict budgets. However, DialogTech utilizes a unique proprietary technology called Heartbeat, which allows marketers to implement the most efficient call tracking product on the market. Heartbeat can determine when visitors are and are not on a website and in turn is able to re-use dynamic numbers more often. By using dynamic numbers more frequently, tracking visitors from SEO is more efficient and requires less phone numbers. This results in a cost savings that makes tracking organic and referrals at a session level more feasible.

Direct Visitors

A feature that is seldom available among call tracking vendors, session-level tracking for direct visitors provides insight into the web activities they perform and the devices they use to browse a website. In my past experience, this feature was most beneficial for marketers that use a third-party application to identify direct visitors and require the call tracking vendor to capture this ID if that visitor were to call. This helps them to determine if the person who called was a repeat customer and whether subsequent conversion(s) should be applied to that customer’s profile internally. Nine times out of ten, tracking direct visitors at a session level is not a necessity but it can be extremely beneficial to marketers using tactics similar to the above scenario.

To learn more about the various ways DialogTech can track calls from your digital marketing channels, request a demo today!