CTM Blog


Why Use Call Tracking? The Ultimate Guide 

by Barb Cronin

Read time: 12 minutes

Table of Contents: 


Section 1: What is Call Tracking (and Why Does it Matter)?

Section 2: How Call Tracking Works 

Section 3: 6 Benefits of Call Tracking

Section 4: Terms to Know 

Section 5: Use Cases and Case Studies

Section 6: How to Get Started with Call Tracking

Final Thoughts

What is Call Tracking (and Why Does it Matter)?

Call tracking means different things to different people. Call tracking, in regard to marketing, pertains to using a software platform to track where phone calls to your business are coming from. Call tracking lets you know exactly which ad–whether digital or print–a customer viewed before they picked up the phone and called your organization.

If you don’t know much about call tracking you may be thinking, “But why use call tracking? Who cares which ad they saw as long as they called?” 

Call tracking empowers marketers and sales teams to stop wasting dollars and time on marketing efforts that drive the wrong calls or do nothing at all. It also delivers the closed-loop attribution data you need to maximize the ads, channels, and messages driving the most valuable leads and conversions. 

Why Use Call Tracking?

Today’s buyer’s journey involves more touchpoints than ever before. There are an average of eight touchpoints before a conversion is made, and more stakeholders per purchase than ever before. What’s more, today’s marketing efforts involve multiple channels, campaigns, keywords, and ads. Additionally, there is often both digital and print ad collateral. This can make it difficult to determine which ads and campaigns are working the best–and which aren’t. 

Often, after weeks or even months of engagement with your brand online, a buyer is ready to take action, so they pick up the phone and call. Some industries like behavioral health and home services know this better than others, but there’s likely a human interaction somewhere in your buyer’s journey regardless of vertical. If you want to accurately track and attribute these conversations, you must have call tracking. 

If you’re not tying phone calls to their source, and ultimately to their revenue you’re attempting to make marketing decisions without the whole picture…missing out on leads, conversions, and revenue. 

Newspaper showing offline why use call tracking ad
The higher the price tag on your product or service, the more likely a phone call will be part of your customer’s journey.

Without this insight, you could be wasting your budget—and time—on ads, channels, and campaigns not attracting or converting leads. Call tracking clues you into the entire marketing attribution picture. Armed with this data, you can fine-tune messages and marketing campaigns to reach and convert more ideal customers. 

Seeing the entire attribution picture is essential to both marketing and sales success. Call tracking and marketing attribution data help you: 

  • Prove ROI
  • Drive Revenue
  • Maximize Ad Spend
  • Maximize Budgets
  • Optimize Messaging

These are just some of the reasons why you should use call tracking. If your organization isn’t using call tracking, you’re more or less flying blind. 

Here’s what our longtime customer, John Thornton, CEO at Black Propellor had to say about call tracking:

“I often tell our clients that marketing without call tracking isn’t much different than gambling. If you don’t know what works and what doesn’t, achieving sustainable success in marketing is highly unlikely.”

Read the Black Propellor Case Study

How Call Tracking Works

Traditional call tracking works by using unique phone numbers to connect phone calls to the specific ads driving them. More advanced or modern call tracking ties any conversation–call, text, form, or chat–to the online or offline ad driving it. From a paid ad on LinkedIn to a print handout, call tracking gives you full insight into both online and offline ads and conversations. 

It may seem like magic to tie online activity to a phone call or text but it isn’t. Today’s call tracking works by using dynamic number insertion (DNI) to connect online activity to an offline conversation. DNI works by ‘dynamically’ swapping the phone number shown based on the ad a person is viewing. 

Image showing an auto repair website and marketing attribution

DNI uses a short line of code and automatically swaps phone numbers on your website to match user criteria like: 

  • Source
  • Geographic location
  • Custom parameters

A person who comes to your page through a Google ad will see a different phone number than someone who comes to that page through a LinkedIn ad. Call tracking connects each call to its driving source and unlocks vital data about your callers and your marketing efforts. 

What is Dynamic Number Insertion? 

6 Benefits of Call Tracking

Call tracking connects the dots in your marketing data so you get comprehensive data on all of your marketing efforts. This closed-loop attribution pays off in several ways. Here are just six of the many benefits of call tracking, and answers to the question, why use call tracking?

1. Align Sales and Marketing Teams

Reduced budgets and team sizes make it more important than ever to have marketing and sales teams aligned. When both teams have complete visibility into the full buyer’s journey, and understand where prospects are engaging, what’s grabbing their attention, and what’s ultimately making them act, they can align to attract and close more business. 

In addition, contact center agents or sales team members see the caller’s recent interaction history at a glance, before they pick up the phone. This lets them create a more personalized and efficient experience for every caller. Data includes: 

  • When and where the caller has interacted with your brand
  • Which ads and messages they’ve viewed
  • What keywords they searched
  • What product or service they’re researching 
  • When (and if) they’ve called before and the results of that call
  • What their basic demographics are 

When both sales and marketing teams have the same information about prospects and customers, all in one place, they can easily see which ads, messages, channels, and even agents are converting the highest-value leads. There’s no tension trying to get feedback from sales, or pushback on bad leads coming from marketing when everyone’s looking at the same data.

Aligned marketing and sales teams create an “attract, nurture, and convert” rhythm that drives revenue as well as happy, loyal customers who want to sing the praises of your organization to others. 

Check out AskAI powered by ChatGPT

2. Maximize Marketing Dollars

Probably the best-known benefit of using call tracking is that it helps you to get better results without spending more. With insight into how many high-value leads, calls, and conversions you’re getting for every channel, ad, and campaign you know precisely where to double down on your efforts–and where to cut bait. 

No more wasting money on expensive keywords that are driving calls that don’t lead to conversions or not driving calls at all. 

Call tracking helps you know exactly where you should spend money on marketing efforts and where you’re wasting your efforts. It empowers your team to consistently prove the ROI of all of your marketing efforts as well as: 

  • Increase ROAS
  • Decrease cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Decrease cost per lead (CPL)
  • Increase conversion rates
  • Increase contact center close rates

Whether you are part of an internal marketing team or an agency, you’re often asked to do more with less. When you can consistently demonstrate the ROI of your marketing efforts, to the C-suite or your clients, you earn their trust, respect, and hopefully, a bigger chunk of the budget going forward. 

Image of an e-book titled "Uncover hidden revenue without increasing spend" Click to download

3. Fine-tune Messages and Content

The demise of third-party data is still promised to come, despite several delays. However, even with the delays, it’s wise to find other ways to get insights into your customers. First-party data is one way and a valuable one. Call tracking gives you first-party data about your customers–that’s straight from the words of your prospects and customers! What better source could there be? 

This first-party data reveals which keywords grab your buyer’s attention, which gets them to take action, which are the highest value, and more. You’ll understand which types of messages attract your ideal customers, which nurture them, and which get them to convert. This can shorten the sales cycle and also provide a more streamlined and satisfying customer experience when you provide the right message, at the right time. 

Additionally, this insight can also show you where your messaging may be off a bit. Callers who come from a specific ad and don’t convert may reveal a mismatch between your messaging, product, and audience. When you know the good (and the not-so-good) you can then repeat what’s working and adjust what’s not to further drive customer engagement and conversions. 

You’ll also see which content formats are working best (social posts, blogs, eBooks, paid ads, etc.) helping you to do more to meet your target audience where they spend their attention, with the information they need, in the format they prefer. In essence, meet your customer where they are. 

4. Affect Data-driven Decisions and Strategy

Some marketing attribution strategies only look at part of the attribution picture. When you focus on digital interactions alone, you miss out on valuable information coming from offline sources like phone calls and text messages. Closed-loop attribution shows you the full picture and leaves no gaps in your marketing data.

This comprehensive insight into all of your efforts and the results tied to them can inform marketing decisions and strategy. If you don’t have closed-loop attribution, you’re missing out on key data and making decisions based on only part of the facts and assuming (or guessing) the rest. 

Now, this is not the end of the world. After, all, marketers often make decisions based on assumptions and guesswork. However, with call tracking, you don’t have to rely on guesses and assumptions. When you have all of the data for all of your efforts tied directly to results, you can rely on data-backed decisions. You’ll know exactly how many calls were driven by each campaign and the true value of each call. Whether a paid ad or a billboard ad, you’ll know how each is performing. 

5. Deliver a More Personalized & Streamlined Customer Experience 

As mentioned, call tracking provides key information about the person reaching out and this information has numerous benefits. One is its ability to help sales and contact center agents provide an exceptional customer experience for every caller.

When agents know key details about callers before they begin to engage with them, they can:

  • Provide more relevant support
  • Solve problems faster
  • Avoid having the caller repeat themselves
  • Save time
  • Save endless transfers or 
  • Eliminate or reduce long hold times

This leads to happier callers and better conversions.  

6. Optimize Contact Center Agent Performance

Contact center agents are often under a lot of pressure. When you arm them with information about callers before they pick up they are more confident, provide better service, and are more likely to convert that caller. 

With the information garnered from call tracking and associated tools like dual channel recordings, transcriptions, keyword spotting, and AskAI, you’ll also find out which of your agents performs best and why. You can then train new agents in the right way when they start and retrain current agents on best practices. 

Multi-location businesses can use information from the best-performing agents and locations and train across all locations to optimize performance across the entire organization. 

Call tracking can benefit any organization that wants to track its offline activity and connect it to all of its marketing efforts. 

Terms to Know

With a name like CallTrackingMetrics you know we already have a Call Tracking Terms Glossary. 

Call Tracking 

Modern call tracking ties any conversation–phone call, text, chat, or form–back to its ad source. 

Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI)

This is the foundation of online call tracking and uses a short line of code to swap phone numbers on a website to match the visitor’s source, geographic location, or a customized trigger. That dynamically generated number can be tied to back to conversions too. 

Tracking Number

These are the numbers used on ads to track activity and conversions. 

Target Number

A target number is the number on your website that exists without using DNI. There could be more than one target number on a website. 

Receiving Number

This is where a call is forwarded to from the tracking number. This could be a main number or you can use several receiving numbers. 

Tracking Source

Tracking sources help to provide more information about attribution by acting as ‘buckets’ where related tracking numbers are organized. An example is Google Ads when used with DNI.

Tracking Code

JavaScript is used on websites to power DNI. 

Call Tracking Use Cases and Case Studies

How to Get Started with Call Tracking

If you’re interested in learning more about what call tracking can do for your business, it’s important to first assess your goals and what you want to accomplish with call tracking. Next, you can take a look at where your marketing attribution strategy is now. 

You’ll want to be sure to select a call tracking software that can easily scale with you and offers other benefits in addition to call tracking. AI-powered automation and conversational intelligence tools are important to consider to be able to not only do more with the actionable data you get, but also streamline processes for your team. 

You should also consider which tools you currently use, like Google Analytics, Google Ads, HubSpot, Salesforce, etc., and be sure the call tracking platform you choose integrates with those platforms. This will let you easily consolidate your data all in one place for easy viewing and reporting. 

Another important consideration is if the platform can easily scale with your company–and if it’s expensive to do so. Some software platforms charge significant amounts for multiple users or subaccounts, etc. Be sure to look at call tracking software that makes it easy–and affordable–for your organization to grow. 

Final Thoughts

Call tracking can make a big difference in your marketing efforts, proving ROI, and driving revenue. To stay competitive today, you need to know exactly how all of your marketing efforts are performing and provide an exceptional customer experience. Call tracking helps you do both. 

See how CallTrackingMetrics does call tracking and Book a Demo today! 

Link to follow on LinkedIn.