CTM & Bing
There’s been lots of talk lately about Bing. Bing is constantly improving their product to meet their clients needs. Back in October of 2014 Bing announced the launch of their new Universal Event Tracking, also known as UET. Bing Universal Event Tracking looks and functions in the exact same way as Google’s event tracking does.
At first I thought it was a bold move for Bing to basically copy and paste the way Google did things, but the more I thought about it, I realized I get it. The way Google does things works and is familiar. A new users to Bing Ads will most likely already have some Google Adwords knowledge, so why complicate things and re-invent the wheel?
With the launch of Bing’s UET many of our clients noticed the similarities between the two services, thus bringing up the question of “how do we see our Bing Paid Calls as conversions within the Bing interface?” To answer this it’s best to fully understand how event tracking works and how CTM communicates the events into Google Analytics.
Google defines Events as “user interactions with content that can be tracked independently from a web page or a screen load. Downloads, mobile ad clicks, gadgets, Flash elements, AJAX embedded elements, and video plays are all examples of actions you might want to track as Events. An Event has the following components. An Event hit includes a value for each component, and these values are displayed in your reports.”
- Label (optional, but recommended)
- Value (optional)
For example, you might set up a video “play” button on your site so that it sends an Event hit with the following values:
- Category: “Videos”
- Action: “Play”
- Label: “Baby’s First Birthday”
Bing’s definition of event tracking: “The Universal Event Tracking automatically tracks destination, duration, and pages-per-visit goals.” However, you also have the option to customize tags for unique event goals. For example, you might want to measure how many times a user pressed play on a video, or the number of downloads made from your site. Bing Ads automatically tracks the first three types of goals based on page changes, while a change in the URL isn’t required to track event goals.
The code for events consists of four values you can use to define a user’s interaction. None of the parameters are mandatory, but you must define at least one value:
- Event category (ec): The object you want to track (e.g., “button”).
- Event action (ea): The type of interaction the user takes with the object from your event category (e.g. “click”).
- Event label (el): Useful field for you to label details about the event (e.g. “purchase button”).
- Event value (ev): Use this field to associate non-negative numerical data with the goal to track counts (e.g. A video is paused four times).”
Event tracking is significant because standard analytics tracking occurs when a visitors clicks from one page to another and doesn’t report any activity that occurs within a page. The common denominators between the event tracking systems are that both are tracking actions that occur within a page using their own tags / tracking codes.
The tags they use to track events can only track what happens on the page. For example if someone is on a mobile device and they click-to-call, that action can be recorded as an event. Having a goal around that event can be imported into Adwords and thus creating a conversion. With the event tracking tag they can track what page I’m viewing but they can’t relate me picking up my mobile phone and dialing the number I see on my desktop. The phone calls placed from a separate device aren’t trackable; there’s just no way from them to be able to capture that information.
This is when the CTM tracking code comes into play, because the phone numbers on the page are dynamically swapping. CTM’s algorithms in conjunction with standard website tracking are able to identify exactly where and when the phone numbers were visible and using several other matching techniques CTM is able to make an accurate match between the website visitor and caller.
The Adwords conversions that are generated from the call events aren’t triggered from Google’s tag or tracking code. They are triggered from CallTrackingMetrics and CallTrackingMetrics sends the event data into Google Analytics. This is accomplished by utilizing Google’s APIs. Google’s API allows CallTrackingMetrics to have a direct integration with them creating a seamless line of information being passed from CallTrackingMetrics into Google Analytics and from Analytics back into CallTrackingMetrics. Google’s API allows CallTrackingMetrics to send the call event into their system. Because the CallTrackingMetrics tracking code and Google’s tracking code are both present on the site, Google Analytics and Adwords are able to make a direct match between the information, and in turn justify the conversion.
Bing on the other hand has an API, but they do not allow CTM to send “off screen” or “offline” events into their system. Because CTM isn’t able to send the call event data into Bing, the calls generated from Bing paid ads aren’t going to count as conversions. The only way Bing can generate a call conversion is when there is a physical click on the page and in this case it would have to be a click-to-call. CallTrackingMetrics can determine that a call came from a Bing Ad and can capture all the keyword data in our our interface, but we are unable to send that information into Bing.
The feature request we would require to enable this capability is Offline Conversions Upload and unfortunately it’s not supported yet by BingAds.