Posted 06 October 2014

What Do You Mean My Call Tracking Data Is Not Integrated into Google Analytics?


The insight provided through call tracking helps customers to bridge the online to offline divide. In most cases, there is a need to leverage the data in multiple systems in an effort to derive the greatest business benefit. As such, many customers often ask us questions that begin with the words “Do you integrate with…?”  

In the case of Google Analytics, integration is (rightly so) a minimum requirement for any of our customers. Of course, any customer that asks any call tracking company “Do you integrate with Google Analytics?” will hear a resounding “Yes!” The sad truth is, however, that most call tracking companies claiming to integrate with Google Analytics do not.    

So, what does that mean for you?

Were you asked to set up a web page on your site that your call tracking company uses to trigger GA goals when a call is made? If so, chances are, these conversions are entirely separate from the broader experience of the customer that called, providing only a call count for a particular keyword. The likely result is, you can’t see the landing page, the conversion page, media interactions or which page was viewed the longest. You’re probably lacking the full path analysis or the option to fully leverage the powerful GA attribution tools. 

Any subsequent events in that customer’s journey – a purchase on another day, for example – will not be linked to the call, undervaluing the click, spend or keyword. The picture of your performance becomes dangerously skewed, and you could be missing out on opportunities to generate more sales. 

Another alarm bell should ring if your provider talks to you about ‘cookie windows’. This is what other call tracking companies use to assign a number to a visitor for a fixed period beyond their website visit. I could write an entire piece just on the disaster the ‘cookie window’ creates – high costs, bad data, poor budgeting decisions, etc. – but for now, I’ll let the data do the talking, by looking at a report in Google Analytics:

  1. Navigate to “Conversions” on the left navigation bar under the Reporting tab
  2. Click on “Attribution” and then “Model Comparison Tool”
  3. Pick your date range in the upper right, and select all Phone Call Conversions from the “Conversions” drop-down menu
  4. Change the “Lookback Window” to 90 days
  5. Select the “Last AdWords Click” attribution model from the “select model” drop-down OR create your own “new custom model” that “includes” anything with a “medium” of “CPC” or “display” 

With a basic integration into Google Analytics, such as those implemented by other call tracking companies, you will notice that the number of phone call conversions attributed to Paid Search and the CPA for Paid Search driven phone calls do not improve when comparing different attribution models.  Notice that the CPA and Conversions attributed to Paid Search (PPC) for the “Last Paid Interaction” attribution model remain unchanged compared with those of the “Last Interaction” model.  This should never happen for a 90-day lookback.  With this flawed basic GA integration, you’ll see this skewed phenomenon occur regardless of the length of the lookback window set in GA’s Attribution Model Comparison Tool.

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Comment: Notice in the screen shot below, even with a full 90-day lookback, we see zero improvement in the number of phone calls attributed to Paid Search and no CPA improvement for Paid Search driven phone calls.

This is happening because these calls are not being tied to the caller’s actual web journey. Thus, you’re not able to see the interaction between channels and not able to establish an accurate CPA or accurate number of calls credited to PPC. Therefore, you’re essentially receiving bad data and limited optimization capabilities. Without being able to leverage and optimize based on interactions prior to and following the phone call, the purpose of a Google Analytics integration is truly lost.  

When you track the complete customer journey leading to a phone call, as is the case with ResponseTap, and are able to fully integrate into Google Analytics, the results are plain to see. In many cases, customers such as TUI travel see 30-50% reductions in CPA and are able to attribute more conversions to digital spend.  

The screen shot below shows what you would see if you were using ResponseTap. Notice that the number of phone call conversions attributed to paid search increase from 60 to 88 (a whopping 46.7%) and the CPA improved by a very respectable 31.8% from $409 to $279. This comparison and the realized improvement in the phone call CPA and number of calls attributed to PPC is only possible with the true integration that ResponseTap offers. It allows you to accurately and properly baseline and optimize your marketing channels. 

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Comment: Notice in the screen shot below, with a full 90-day lookback, we see a dramatic 46.7% increase in the number of phone calls attributed to Paid Search and an equally dramatic 31.8% CPA improvement for Paid Search driven phone calls.

ResponseTap’s call-based marketing automation tools include advanced visitor-level call tracking, allowing you to link call data to individual customer journeys. This also allows you to update Google Analytics with events and goals that happen at any point during the journey, creating a dialogue between your digital marketing and sales teams. The result is a call agent who understands and can engage with the customer more deeply in real time, and a digital marketing team that can optimize to ROI and revenue with confidence. 

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