This post was originally published on Street Fight on April 16, 2015.
When it comes to uncovering the real value behind a pay-per-call (PPC) campaign, analytics are key. Performance analytics provide the types of holistic insights that marketers need to determine what is working about their PPC campaigns — and what isn’t.
Although the specific types of analytics offered will vary by technology vendor, many firms that manage PPC campaigns are able to provide clients with campaign analytics including data about the markets their ads are playing in, how much their competitors are bidding, and the volume of calls in the categories they have selected. Marketers are able to determine which of their campaigns is driving the most traffic to their websites and calls to their stores, and they can directly see what factors impact how they could be converting more calls into sales.
Using this data, marketers are better able to make strategic business decisions, as well as precisely measure the return-on-investment (ROI) from their PPC campaigns.
The Demand for Data
Without context, analytics are nothing more than a jumbled mess of figures, percentages, and data points. As small and mid-size business owners have gotten more comfortable using technology in the past decade, they’ve begun asking vendors to provide them with more analytics to justify the value of their PPC campaigns.
Fifty-five percent of marketers are now using analytics to measure all or most of their marketing campaign returns, according to an October 2014 study by Forbes Insights. That number is only expected to increase in the coming years. More than 70% of marketing executives say they expect to increase their reliance on data analytics in the next three years, according to that same study, while just 2% say they plan to use analytics less.
One of the most common data points for a pay-per-call vendor to supply involves campaign conversion. Unfortunately, 54% of marketers in a 2014 survey said they still don’t know how to track this information. This points to a disconnect between marketers and the vendors they’re working with.
For PPC campaigns, vendors are generally able to measure caller sentiment, analyze conversations, identify which campaigns are resulting in the highest call volume, track leads both before and during their telephone calls, and — most important in the eyes of many merchants — link calls to specific ad campaigns. Merchants can easily see which keywords or media channels are bringing the highest-quality customer calls, and which ads are leading to calls from customers who rarely convert.
Being able to link calls to specific PPC campaigns can help businesses make budget allocation decisions. Features like dynamic tracking enable vendors to report every call generated by an ad. Even call quality can be measured through algorithms and laid out in an analytics dashboard. Businesses are able to discover which categories or keywords are leading to the most spam calls, and they can use this data to clean up their campaigns.
The most advanced technology vendors are now able to link calls to customers’ web histories, as well. This provides merchants with the ability to see which keywords a customer has entered, which websites he or she has viewed, and which specific webpage triggered the first telephone call to the business.
How merchants use the analytics that vendors provide for them varies. In most cases, the data is useful for tweaking campaigns to improve results. For example, a business owner that discovers the volume of calls in his selected category is comparatively low may decide to add related categories to his PPC campaign.
In other cases, merchants have been able to use the analytics from their PPC campaigns to re-shape the way they do business, adjusting the products or services they offer based on the information they’ve been able to collect about consumer demand. (For more strategies to increase ROI, click here.)
For the clearest view inside their campaigns, marketers rely on an open pipeline between ad partners and PPC providers. Accuracy and openness are two elements that influence how detailed a vendor can be with the types of performance analytics it provides to clients. Based on these metrics, it’s possible to optimize future campaigns, while also optimizing any campaigns that are already in progress.
Rather than looking at call analytics in a silo, businesses should be using the data that vendors provide as one of many elements in an omni-channel strategy. Using analytics, businesses can focus their resources on the campaigns they know are driving actual sales, which is something that was never before possible with traditional offline marketing.
The dynamic nature of PPC analytics means that a marketer’s job is never truly done, and campaigns can always be adjusted based on updated market trends. These continued refinements are what help businesses derive the most value from their PPC campaigns, paving the way for these campaigns to perform to the best of their ability.