Call tracking has evolved and become an essential tool in businesses marketing tech stack.
But how did we get here? And what comes next? Read on and find out.
Advertising before call tracking was like shooting arrows in the dark and hoping you hit your target. When customers would call, businesses would simply ask, “How’d you hear about us?”
But most people aren’t very good at remembering exactly which billboard, ad, or TV commercial prompted their phone call.
So, most businesses – and the agencies overseeing the advertising for their customers – had no reliable way to see how ads were performing.
Fortunately, call tracking has come a long way since those days and with it, your company’s ability to know how your ads are performing.
Here are four of the ways call tracking has changed, as well as what this means for your business today and in the future.
1. Call Tracking Is for Every Business, Not Just Big Business
Initially, call tracking solutions required specialized hardware and extensive support infrastructure. This made them affordable only to major enterprises with large budgets.
With the arrival of cloud computing and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which eliminated the need for specialized hardware and infrastructure, it became possible to develop a more affordable call tracking solution – one that could meet the needs and budget of agencies and small and mid-size businesses (SMBs).
CallRail was one of the first call tracking services geared toward SMBs.
“Back in 2011, there was no one out there making call analytics accessible to everyone, and nothing existed that was tailored to the specific needs of small businesses,” says Andy Powell, co-founder and CEO of CallRail.
Designed under a self-service model to keep it affordable and accessible to agencies and SMBs, CallRail’s solution offered free trials and straightforward onboarding. Teams can quickly and easily set up solutions with no need for an extensive back-and-forth with a salesperson.
Kevin Minelli, the CEO/founder of Eruptr, a leading marketing agency serving major hospitals and healthcare organizations (and one of CallRail’s first customers), describes just how easy it is to use: “You can learn as you go, and it’s easy to scale and enhance it as you grow. If you’re an agency like us with 50 to 70 clients and you need to handle thousands of phone calls, you’ll find it works great.”
2. Call Tracking Evolves From Tracking Calls to Delivering Insights
When cloud-based call tracking solutions were first introduced, they could do little more than record how many calls an individual advertisement or campaign generated and how long they were.
For marketers, the growth of digital marketing has changed just about everything. Not only are digital touchpoints now at the heart of the majority of customer journeys, but now it’s possible to track their effectiveness far more accurately.
As competition for popular keywords has increased and PPC pricing models have become more intricate, it’s become critical for marketers to adopt evidence-based and data-driven approaches to understanding whether or not their spending is driving the results they want.
Today’s call tracking solutions deliver far more nuanced information across the marketing ecosystem and integrate with other technologies to eliminate blind spots in your attribution efforts.
They can work together with Google Ads, Google My Business, web forms, text or chat, and other API-based integrations to give you a holistic view of where leads are coming from. They can also couple this data with detailed behavioral and demographic information about your customers.
For agencies, this translates to the ability to readily demonstrate the value they provide their clients.
“Call tracking helps our clients understand where calls are coming from,” says Ryan Amen, Director of Client Success at Nifty Marketing. “Seeing how marketing efforts translate directly into phone calls lets them see the value of our efforts. There have been so many times when clients were skeptical, and call tracking gave us proof of attribution.”
3. Call Tracking Doesn’t Just Describe – It Prescribes