As online marketing efforts become increasingly important and increasingly competitive, the need for reliable, actionable metrics to measure those efforts becomes vital. Not only do purely online interactions with customers need to be tracked (e.g., web forms, chat, shopping cart transactions), but also so do offline interactions that occur via online advertising—especially phone calls.
Mongoose Metrics’ AccuTrack product plugs this “offline interaction” hole by tracking, measuring, and reporting on what phone calls are coming from what advertising source. Although not as robust and deep-diving as our AccuTrack Session, AccuTrack Dynamic 1-1 will allow you to track if a visitor came from a specific source, but with a more simpler method of using one number to be shown per each source you wish to track.
This data doesn’t just measure the effectiveness of your online campaigns—it also gives great insights into how to optimize those campaigns for better results. Knowing the PPC keywords that you are bidding on that result in phone calls (or not) helps an advertiser focus their bidding on the keywords that convert. Knowing the organic keywords that drive phone calls can change the focus of SEO efforts for the better.
ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT
This document was written to give an overview of the process of getting a single AccuTrack Session campaign up-and-running with Mongoose Metrics—from initially evaluating a site’s readiness for AccuTrack Session all the way to final implementation and testing. The detail in this document may make the process appear slightly intimidating, but in reality, the process is fast, simple, and something that we do several times a day here at Mongoose Metrics.
We truly believe that the biggest strength in our company and services are our relationships with our customers—so if at any time you have questions about anything inside of this document, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Account Manager with any questions that you might have. Our goal is to make sure you are successful.
The first step of any AccuTrack Session installation is a quick look at the candidate website on which you are looking to install call tracking. You’re looking for a few things:
- Is there a phone number prominently displayed on the website?
- Is the phone number displayed as text on the site (instead of embedded inside of an image?)
- Is there one central phone number that the calls you are looking to track are routed to? (Multiple destination numbers will need our more advanced AccuTrack Multi Dynamic 1-1
If the site meets these three high-level qualifications, the site is likely a good candidate for AccuTrack Session installation.
Figure 1 - Example of an AccuTrack Session-ready website
The next step in the process is to get a handle on the size of the “pool” of tracking numbers that need to be dedicated to the site. This number is based upon the monthly volume of visitors from sources you want to track. For example, if you’re only looking to track visitors from your Google AdWords campaign, you just need to get an estimate of the number of Google AdWords click-throughs you pay for each month. If you wanted to track all pay-per-click (PPC) and organic traffic, you’d need the total number of PPC click-throughs plus the total number of organic visits per month.
By taking this monthly visitor number and dividing it by 50, you will arrive at an approximation of the number of tracking phone numbers you need for the campaign number pool.
ACCUTRACK SESSION NUMBER POOLS
We are commonly asked why a pool of phone numbers is necessary and how we determine the correct size of that number pool.
To get down to the keyword level, each user who arrives on the website from a tracked traffic source is assigned their own, unique phone number from the reserved pool of numbers. This phone number is then “linked” to that user’s web session, and all of the information that we want is stored in Mongoose Metrics’ servers: the phone number assigned, the keyword and source of the user’s visit, the user’s IP address, etc. We even drop a cookie to the user’s browser so we can identify them if they leave the site and come back.
When the user dials that number, the Mongoose Metrics system automatically routes them to that website’s main destination number (usually their sales number)—but it also then is able to loop back to the session information it stored in the past—marking it as a phone conversion.
These pool numbers have two major factors that make them extremely reliable and accurate:
- Each phone number is associated to that user for 12 hours – increasingly the likelihood that when they call we will still associate their tracking number to them (instead of somebody else.)
- Each phone number in a pool is permanently reserved to that campaign. This means that if somebody writes down the number and calls it three months later, they will still be connected to that business.
So, given the fact that individual numbers are assigned to users for 12 hours, we have found that the maximum number of visitors over a peak period of time on a website is roughly equal to one-fiftieth of their monthly volume—hence our requirement to reserve one pool phone number for every fifty tracked visitors per month.
The second major usage-based factor for an AccuTrack Session campaign is the number of inbound minutes that will be required monthly for the tracked phone calls. Although this is usually a more difficult number to arrive at, we have a few methods to create an initial estimate:
- Web volume-based – Given average phone conversion rates, we typically find that a customer needs one minute of talktime for every five tracked visitors. This assumes an average phone call length of three minutes.
- Percentage-based – Take a look at last month’s phone bill—and just look at the number of incoming minutes on the sales line that you used. Estimate the percentage of those calls coming from your tracked sources. That percentage of the incoming minutes on your bill is likely going to be a good initial estimate.
- Day-based – Look at the number of calls you’re getting every day and take an educated guess on what proportion of those calls are coming from tracked campaigns. Multiply that number by 3 or 4 to approximate the total number of minutes you need daily, then multiply that by 22 for a “Monday – Friday” business or by 30 for a business that’s open seven days a week.
The key here is that these are estimates, and they are just a stake in the ground to get a website started. Minutes are sold as monthly packages—the more minutes that are purchased in the monthly package, the lower the per-minute rate will be. Any minutes that are not used at the end of the month are forfeited, therefore, it is a best practice to be fairly conservative in the number of minutes you purchase in a package. Any minute usage above and beyond the package rate will be billed at the end of the billing cycle as an overage—your overage rate is determined by your contract, and is most often a few cents more per minute than the package minute rate.
CREATING A NEW ACCUTRACK SESSION CAMPAIGN
After you have decided on the appropriate amount of pool phone numbers and talktime minutes, you should contact your Mongoose Metrics account representative to create the new AccuTrack Session campaign. In your request, include the numbers and minutes necessary, plus the following information:
- What is the URL of the website that this campaign is for?
- Would you like toll-free or local numbers? If local, what municipality would you like numbers in?
- Will this be a national or regional campaign?
- What is the destination number for the calls going to this campaign?
- Are you going to be tracking pay-per-call keywords, organic keywords, or both?
Your Mongoose Metrics account representative will review this information along with your current account information and deliver a final monthly cost and one-time setup charge. Depending on your current agreement with Mongoose Metrics, some simple paperwork may need to be signed and returned to Mongoose Metrics to get started.
CONFIGURING NUMBER REPLACEMENT
By default, AccuTrack Session automatically updates all phone numbers that it detects on a webpage to the assigned pool number. There are situations in which more granular control is necessary though, and the Mongoose Metrics dashboard allows you to tweak how number replacement occurs in three ways:
- Replace all of the phone numbers on a webpage, except certain numbers.
- Only replace one particular phone number on the webpage.
- Look for particular HTML <SPAN> tags on the page with an id of “numberassigned”, “numberassigned_1”, “numberassigned_2”, etc.
The number replacement settings can be accessed by clicking on the “Edit” link under the “Replace Settings” column on the “Campaigns” page.
Figure 2 - Finding the Setup Instructions Link
After you have copied the code, be sure to update the ‘ENTER_DEFAULT_NUMBER_HERE’ string in the code with the default telephone number you would want to display if your pool of reserved phone numbers was exhausted.
To identify and record information about user sessions coming from pay per click advertisements, such as Google AdWords or Microsoft AdCenter, a query string needs to be appended to the destination URL that each advertisement links to. To find the query string text that you need to add, you’re going to want to look on the same “Setup Instructions” page as above, and look for some text in red:
Figure 4 - Finding the Query String in the Setup Instructions
That text should be added to the end of the destination URL for any pay-per-click ad that you would like to track using AccuTrack Session. Please note that the very end of the red text contains “XXXX”. For each individual campaign that you update the destination URL for, feel free to replace with a short alphanumeric string that identifies the campaign.
After that, you will begin to receive tracking data for your incoming phone calls sourced on your website. Further documents explain more about what to do with this data to both optimize your PPC campaign and maximize the value you are getting from AccuTrack Session.
Mongoose Metrics has several integrations available for the AccuTrack Session product. The three integrations below: our Salesforce CRM, Google Analytics, and bid management integrations, are examples of what is possible.
By integrating call data with Salesforce CRM, it is possible to determine not just what ad spending and keyword clicks are generating phone calls, but also to determine your overall ROI from advertisements that result in phone calls.
The Salesforce CRM integration requires a version of Salesforce with API access available (Enterprise or above.) The Mongoose Metrics integration utilizes this API. The installation of the Salesforce integration is performed directly by the Mongoose Metrics technical engineers—no special configuration is necessary on the customer’s end.
The Salesforce CRM integration adds custom fields to the object of the customer’s choice inside of Salesforce: whether that’s Opportunities, Contacts, Accounts, Leads, or even creating a custom Activity in Salesforce just for Mongoose Metrics phone calls.
When a call that was directed through a Mongoose Metrics campaign completes, the system communicates with Salesforce and searches for a record that contains the same phone number as the incoming caller’s phone number. This occurs after a fifteen minute “wait time”, which gives a sales representative some time to update Salesforce with the results of the phone call (or even a new record) before attempting to find and update the record.
If a record is found, the desired custom fields inside of the record in Salesforce are updated with the Mongoose Metrics call information.
If a record isn’t found, the system waits another fifteen minutes and retries the lookup. It continues this loop four times. If a record still can not be found, one of two actions can occur, based on the customerdesired settings for that campaign:
- No data is written to Salesforce and that call will not be added to the system (default) OR,
- Mongoose Metrics can automatically create a new record, with the caller’s phone number and call information added to the record. (Note: we don’t typically suggest this unless there is a plan in place for reviewing these “headless records” and updating them.
ATTRIBUTING REVENUE FROM PHONE CALLS
Taking the CRM integration a step further, the Mongoose Metrics system has the capability to store revenue information with each phone call inside of the Mongoose Metrics system.
Once a conversion resulting in revenue has occurred, the client’s CRM system can execute an API call to the Mongoose Metrics revenue web service--including both the unique incoming caller’s phone number and the revenue amount from the conversion.
This revenue information is then stored along with the phone call information, and is available for integration with bid management systems, such as in the example below:
As the most popular tool for professionals to capture and analyze traffic data about their websites, it’s no surprise that Google Analytics is the tool that the highest number of Mongoose Metrics customers integrate with. The good news is that the integration is fast and easy.
Our Google Analytics integration utilizes a simple HTTP postback and the use of Google Analytics’ custom variables to send over your choice of up to five pieces of information to Google Analytics about every phone call that occurs in your Mongoose Metrics campaign.
Next, you’ll need to use the Mongoose Metrics interface to activate and configure the HTTP postback. To do this, first login to the interface, navigate to the campaigns tab. In the row with the campaign that you would like to activate Google Analytics integration, click on the “Configure” link under the “Analytics” column. Note: A campaign must be active to configure Analytics integration.
The configuration page in Analytics allows you to point the Mongoose Metrics system at the new “phone_calls.htm” page and configure the information that the system pushes to Google Analytics.
Using the “Additional Call Variables” on the left, you are able to pick the five pieces of information that you would like to push along to Google Analytics. Just be sure to include the hash symbols (#) around the call variables to ensure that they are replaced.
After selecting “Generate URL” and saving your changes, your Google Analytics integration will be live. After any Mongoose Metrics phone call is completed, our system will issue an HTTP postback to your hidden webpage, pushing over call metrics to Google Analytics in the process.
What you do with this data in Google Analytics is up to you. The most common suggestion is to create a new goal in Google Analytics called “Phone Calls”, where the goal is reaching the “phone_calls.htm” webpage. From there, you can count the number of calls per day and report on any additional information that might have been passed on through the custom variables you configured.