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Call tracking features for local business

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hey guys,


First time posting here. I handle several Google AdWords & Bing Ads accounts, mostly for local businesses. I also provide business phone service, so I'm very interested in using forwarding numbers to measure AdWords ROI and have been doing this long before Google integrated Google AdWords with Google forwarding numbers.


Most of my customers get new sales over the phone, so the holy grail for them would be to track each phone call generated by AdWords and to integrate call data with AdWords data to discover new conversion optimization opportunities. We currently use our own forwarding numbers to track the aggregate ROI of Google AdWords campaigns, but integrating external call data with Google AdWords data is often laborious or impossible.


That's why I'm so frustrated that Google's new call tracking features basically ignore local businesses:


1. Call extensions: it's exciting that Google is now allowing local businesses to use local forwarding numbers in call extensions. What's less exciting is that Google only allows forwarding numbers to be served when ad groups have 20+ clicks in a 30-day period. For most of the accounts I manage, that means forwarding numbers are served less than 25% of the time (sometimes not at all) because search volume is limited for service area businesses / local storefronts. Google is essentially telling local businesses to dumb down their advertising campaigns (by limiting ad groups) or lose tracking features?


2. Calls from website: the majority of our calls from AdWords are generated when users see our phone numbers and call them. For this reason the "calls from website" conversion type is potentially the most important conversion type for us. In practice we aren't able to use it because Google only allows toll-free forwarding numbers to be used with this conversion type. When local customers see a toll-free number, they're less likely to call than if they see a local number, and for the vast majority of the businesses making sales is the priority over tracking ROI.


I've submitted a couple of feedback requests and contacted Google support a couple of times to see whether local forwarding numbers had been enabled for the "calls from website" conversion type (which I assumed would happen shortly after they were enabled for call extensions), but this hasn't happened yet. Google has the largest digital advertising platform and possibly the largest VoIP infrastructure in the world, so I don't understand why these features have not yet been enabled for local advertisers. I'm leaving this here in case anyone from Google sees it or anyone else has a reasonable explanation for why these features have not been added! Smiley Happy


Has anyone else struggled with this problem? Are there any affordable third-party solutions that exist to integrate external call data with AdWords data?

Re: Call tracking features for local business

Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Participant ✭ ✭ ☆

Hi Jimmy,


I understand your frustration. I am not sure where the click minimums come from but if I were to guess, I would say it is probably due to the expenses related to call tracking, especially dynamic call tracking.  Since Google offers it nearly for free (any other vendors would have fees in addition to your media cost), they have to be a bit selective as to where it is rolled out.


That said, there are other providers that you could use to dynamically track your calls from AdWords. Some of them can even be pulled into your site analytics platform.  Just be mindful that you will likely pay a pretty penny for these services, in addition to media spend.


Here are a few vendors you could look into:

  • Marchex
  • IfByPhone
  • Callsource
  • Telmetrics

Good luck!

Re: Call tracking features for local business

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Amy,

If VoIP expense is the concern, I would think the factor taken into consideration would be the average CPC rather than the number of clicks for the ad group. If overall search volume is the consideration, I would think the click volume would be taken at the account level so as not to restrict advertisers in their choice of campaign structuring.

The problem, as you mention, is that these services are quite expensive and often outside of the price range of most local businesses. I've entertained developing my own solution but I feel Google only needs to take a couple of small steps in order to provide everything I'm looking for out of the box. So frustrating!!