Ask an Expert: How does call tracking software fit into an overall digital marketing strategy?

Ask an Expert: How does call tracking software fit into an overall digital marketing strategy?

Just about everything is transitioning to the digital world these days; chances are, you’ve recently shopped for groceries and bought your latest fashion update online. How did you learn about those online retailers? Digital marketing, whether it was an advertisement on social media or a sponsored post on your favorite blog, is driving a ton of commerce these days, and most marketing agencies are focusing their efforts on online media.

So, this week we checked in with digital marketing consultant, Matt Mills, to figure out how call tracking fits in to a digital marketer’s toolbox.

Call tracking software should be every digital marketer’s best friend*

The asterisk (*) on the above statement is necessary because the line should really be preceded by the word “good” to be completely correct. That is, good call tracking software should be every digital marketer’s best friend. Average call tracking software can be just a friend, sure, and bad software can definitely be an enemy. Reliable, advanced, customizable call tracking software can even approach that coveted BFF status.

But, like any friendship, it all takes work. Unfortunately, some relationships just flat-out take regular maintenance in order to operate efficiently. The call tracking / digital marketing relationship falls into this category.

While the call tracking / digital marketing relationship is relatively high maintenance, the return on investment can make it all worthwhile. Undoubtedly, your call tracking can get a little upset if not properly told all the details about new digital marketing campaigns, and vice versa. What it boils down to is that communication is key.

Communication, communication, communication! In the end, if you set up a thoughtful relationship between your call tracking software and overall digital marketing strategy, you will likely be rewarded with a ROI that will likely make you smile. Ok, it’s time to end this impromptu psychology session and dig a little deeper.

What is most important to think about when working on the call tracking and digital marketing relationship?

Stress the details! For example, let’s take a closer look at two common call-related advertising formats: click-to-call ads and call extensions.

Click-to-call ads

A click-to-call ad is a type of ad that triggers a phone call when clicked, as opposed to directing the clicker to a website. This type of ad is mobile-only and can be a big part of any digital mobile strategy — depending on the nature of the business doing the advertising.

Call extensions

Call extensions, on the other hand, refer to a part of an ad that functions like the above click-to-call ad. Typically, call extensions will list a phone number and a ‘Call now’ or similar call to action. If the user clicks on the call extension, it will trigger a phone call, but if the user clicks on another portion of the ad, it will trigger a visit to a website just like a typical paid search ad.

So, in the end, call extensions are like a miniature version of a click-to-call ads. Call extensions give the user the option to call but do not force a call unless that specific call-to-action is clicked.

Tying this all into call tracking, it often makes a lot of sense to differentiate between click-to-call ads and call extensions. Giving each ad format (and even variations within each ad format) a separate tracking number can give you the granular reporting that you’ve always dreamed of.

If these similar but not identical ad formats are connected with a thoughtful call tracking / tracking number strategy, a digital marketer can get answers to that always difficult question: which ads are really working?

What other details are important to think through when working call tracking into a digital marketing strategy?

Aside from the aforementioned click-to-call ads and call extensions, it’s also important for marketers to consider call tracking to be a core component of their landing page strategy. Call tracking can fit into landing page strategies in a number of ways. For starters, a marketer can get a specific as desired by assigning a specific tracking number to a specific landing page.

For example, is it worthwhile to assign a separate tracking number for each traffic source? Most likely yes. But whether or not it’s worthwhile to get even more granular than source depends on a lot of factors.

Ultimately, it’s best to fully understand your call tracking software’s capabilities first. Once that’s accomplished, you can then sync those capabilities with your overall goals and, of course, your budget.

Is there ever a use case where call tracking doesn’t make sense in a particular digital marketing strategy?

There might be a use case for that, but I can’t think of it.

I really only dove into one particular component of digital marketing here – paid search. There are many other moving parts involved in a good, diverse digital marketing strategy, and call tracking can fit into all of them. Whenever you come across a software that can give you insight into what is and isn’t working, you should probably give it a hard look.

Matt Mills has been working in the digital world as a developer and marketer for almost two decades. To learn more about what we offer marketing agencies, check out our specialized plan

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