It’s no secret that digital marketing has gone mobile. According to Google, more searches now occur on smartphones than any other device, and more than half of all web traffic from digital channels comes from mobile. CMOs and their marketing teams have responded by shifting digital advertising dollars to target consumers on their smartphones and mobile devices, with mobile ad spending in the U.S. growing 45% this year to become 64% of all digital advertising.
But what may not be as widely known is that the growing popularity of smartphones and mobile advertising has changed the way consumers shop and convert online. When smartphone users engage with mobile ads and website content, they often convert by calling. According to research by analyst firm BIA/Kelsey:
- Search, social, and display advertising will drive over 108 billion call conversions to U.S. businesses in 2016.
- That number will grow to 162 billion calls by 2019.
- Search advertising alone will drive over 40 billion call conversions in the U.S. this year.
- Calls convert to revenue 10 times more than web leads and will influence over $1 trillion in U.S. commerce this year.
For marketers who have yet to include call conversions in their performance metrics, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that your marketing is driving more conversions and business than you think. And the CPL (cost per lead) and CPA (cost per acquisition) of your digital campaigns are actually much lower--perhaps 50% lower--than you’ve been reporting.
The bad news, however, is that you’ve been making budget-allocation and campaign-optimization decisions based on incomplete and potentially misleading data. That could mean you’ve been investing in channels, campaigns, ads, keywords, and content that are underperforming, while shifting spend away from more profitable activities.
What Data Should Marketers Capture?
Marketers can capture a wealth of data from call conversions that will help prove and improve digital marketing ROI. This includes:
- Marketing source that drove the call: Knowing the channel, ad, keyword search, email, and/or campaign that drove each call is critical to knowing how to optimize spending and messaging to drive more.
- The caller’s path through your website: If a lead visited your site after running a search or engaging with your marketing, you should know that person’s entry page, the content he or she viewed on your site and in what order, and the page they eventually called from.
- Caller data: You should capture who the caller is, the phone number, the geographic location, the day and time of the call, and the particular browser used.
- What happened on the call: Knowing who answered the call, how long the call lasted, and what was said can help you judge lead quality, gain insights into your customers, and ensure callers receive a quality call experience.
- The value of the call: You need to know whether a call is “good” or “bad,” based on your business’s definition of a quality lead. That often means knowing whether the call resulted in an appointment, opportunity, or sale, and how much revenue it was worth.
Advanced Call-Related Strategies
Marketers can use this call data to drive more conversions and customers at lower costs, while also helping their sales teams convert more callers to customers. Here’s how:
- Include call attribution data in your ROI metrics: Then allocate spend to the channels and activities driving the most conversions and customers at the lowest cost.
- Optimize for everything: Don’t just optimize for the sources driving the best calls–optimize bidding and targeting for the times/days/locations driving the most valuable calls from each source.
- Integrate call data with your marketing stack: Be sure to pass call attribution data to your web analytics, CRM, DMP/DSP, bid management, and other platforms so you can use them to measure and optimize for the entire customer journey, online and offline.
- Target audiences likely to call: Use call data to target audiences with digital ads that are more likely to convert by calling.
- Don’t treat every call the same: You know who the caller is and the marketing source that drove the call, so route and prioritize them according to their needs and sales value. For example, put calls from higher-converting sources into a special queue to receive immediate assistance.
- Give sales agents a heads-up: Pass info on who the caller is and what drove the call to the sales agent before they answer to improve close rates and provide a more seamless call experience.
- Use call data to assist with sales agent staffing: When you can anticipate peak call volume times, you can ensure your call center or business locations are appropriately staffed to handle it.
- Learn from conversations: Optimize SEO and SEM keywords for words callers actually say, know whether calls to each location, franchisee, or agent are being answered and converted, and monitor whether sales agents are on-brand and follow approved scripts.
Attribution has become the most important challenge in digital marketing, and smartphones have made it only more difficult by making calls the conversion of choice for many consumers. For marketers, eliminating the blind spot that calls create in your data and leveraging the insights calls provide make it easier to improve ROI and become the true revenue-generator your businesses need you to be.