Google’s New Call Tracking Feature – Should You Use It?
Published: August 20, 2014
Author: Jesse Morris
Earlier this week, Google released a product that is in direct competition with call-tracking services like Mongoose Metrics or LogMyCalls. Obviously, Google’s not having insight into calls and revenue or leads driven from them is a big gap in data. The new product is meant to address this gap.
To track offline calls, the new feature dynamically changes the phone number on your landing page to a Google forwarding number. When the number is called, Google can attribute that call to the keyword the user came in on.
Implementation appears to be very similar to other tracking services. A tracking code is placed in the HTML of the page. Span tags are placed around the phone number, telling Google where to put their forwarding number.
As a person who uses call tracking for the majority of her clients, this is a topic close to my heart. Here is my list of pros and cons for using Google’s service rather than a third-party vendor.
-Google’s service will make it easier to match keywords back to calls. Mongoose does allow call data to be matched back to keywords through a GA integration, but it is a bit messier than what is likely to be a fairly seamless integration with Google.
-Google’s service is free. Mongoose fees are based on unique visitors, amount of unique phone numbers on the page, and minutes used. Monthly fees are generally thousands of dollars a month (depending on call volume, etc.).
-Google’s service can only track one number per page. This is a fairly big limitation for my clients and actually rules out Google’s service for the majority of them. Well-crafted PPC landing pages could ensure just one number per page and make this work, but that assume resources some clients don’t have to spare.
-Tracking Bing/Yahoo conversions- Mongoose will track calls from Bing/Yahoo campaigns and import them to Google Analytics, something that the Google service will not do.
-The feature has a lack of extras, like call recording, incoming phone numbers, and the caller’s state. If the reporting for Google forwarding numbers is similar to that of the call extensions reporting, that level of detail isn’t going to be available.
-Integrations are an issue. Mongoose is able to integrate with CRM systems like Salesforce and NetSuite, as well as analytics and bid management platforms like Adobe, Kenshoo, and Marin. If you need these integrations for tracking lead quality or sales, going with the Google product is going to be an issue for you.
Overall, for accounts with one phone number per page and a fairly straightforward conversion process, Google’s offering may be the most cost-effective method of tracking. However, if you are tracking lead quality data, need phone call monitoring, have multiple numbers per page, or value more complete integration packages, 3rd-party vendors are still your friends.
That all said, what other call tracking solutions have other people used? Anyone used this service while it was in beta? We’d love to hear about your experiences with it.