As a consultant in the digital advertising realm, my clients place their trust in me to get the most out of every dollar they spend on digital media. That is a great responsibility; one that I take very seriously. My ability to perform relies heavily on accumulating data that is both robust and accurate. Picture (if you will) Claude Monet behind the easel; mixing his paint, preparing to create another masterpiece. The blank canvas in front of him will soon be transformed into a beautiful rendition of the lilied Parisian pond stretching out before him. He studies the shapes, the colors. He develops an understanding of the angles and how the shading interacts with the landscape. Without that pond in full view in front of him, he is blind. Shooting from the hip. Laying out a hopeful guess as to what the landscape should be, not what the landscape is.
Now by no means do I consider myself to be the Monet of search marketing, the metaphor here lies within the approach. Without a panoramic view of accurate data, I would be shooting from the hip, stuck making inferences as to how the shadows of the elm fall on the ripples of the lilies. It would be an educated guess, grant you, but a guess all the same.
Luckily in the digital world, we have the ability to track, and track well. Through free tools like AdWords and Analytics we can instantaneously know what keyword a user searched for, what page they landed on, how long they stayed there, and which conversion element they completed. We can gain a ton of insightful data by utilizing these free tools, but the insights end once the user stops interacting with the site.
This makes the portrait a little more difficult to paint. Say we offer up quality, intriguing content that is consumed and enjoyed by the user. They want to learn more about how your services can help their business so they pick up the phone and call. Our free tools will immediately lose track of this user. In the eyes of AdWords and Analytics, that was an unprofitable click. Sure we can ask people how they found us once we get them on the phone, but that data is certainly not robust and hardly accurate. Are we going to ask them what their search query was, whether they clicked paid or organic, what the CTA was of the ad they clicked on? The answer is an obvious no, and Monet’s pond now becomes a little less robust.
The value of this potential client is lost completely from the digital world. My ability to get the most out of my clients marketing dollars is ripped from my grasp, my grasp being only as strong as the data I can compile. Historically, the only way to keep that value within sight has been to purchase a third party call tracking system. This costs money. Money we do not often have the luxury to spend on third party software. This brings us to some of the most exciting news out of Mountain View that I can remember. This week Google introduced free (yes free) website call tracking with their AdWords platform.
Applying statistical value to the aforementioned visitor-turned-caller is now just a few (free) snippets of code away. AdWords will now dynamically track that phone call in the same way they track form submissions. We will be able to assign value where it belongs, increasing the depth and breadth of our data. No more speculation as to the potentially negative impact on phone calls if you pause a certain campaign or keyword. No more shooting from the hip.
Statistics show that up to 40% of converters became leads through calling the number on your website, not form submission. How would 40% more conversions change your budget allocation for paid search campaigns?
This is an obvious game changer, one that will be quickly adopted across the industry. This is a train that you cannot afford to miss.