The inside track: Lining up your pay per call analysis

pay per call analysis

Now that so many customers are using mobile devices for Internet searches, more businesses are taking advantage of pay per call (PPC) ad campaigns that direct phone inquiries toward their products.

That’s partly because Google searches conducted on mobile devices surpassed those performed on desktops last summer, Google reports. And 86 percent of businesses say calls produce their best leads, with the average call converting 10 times more often than a web lead, according to researcher BIA/Kelsey.

The “call extension” method of PPC marketing encourages ad viewers to also click through a seller’s website. But “call only” is targeted toward eliciting calls from mobile phones. It starts when a caller responds to a call-to-action message on his device that includes just a telephone number, URL, one or two short lines of text and a prominent call button. The call, coded to the ad, is often directed to a call center so a staffer can close the sale, spurring a charge if the call lasts 30 seconds or more. A program like Google Adwords (which is free) then compiles data about the callers and the ad keywords so the seller can adjust his campaign accordingly.

If you are curious about the best practices for tracking those mobile calls, here are a few tips:

  • Pay attention to your mobile-specific analytics within Google Analytics, these are typically the visitors that are doing the calling.
  • Google Website Call tracking has limitations that may not apply to other brands, says George Aspland on It only tracks calls generated from AdWords’ search engine advertising network, while others use search engine advertising networks, organic search traffic and traffic from other referral sites. Google does not offer caller ID or call recording, and it only temporarily assigns phone numbers, he says, while others note it offers no support and only uses 800 (not local) numbers.
  • If your system allows for recorded calls, listen in frequently to learn firsthand what is and isn’t working with callers, advises Eli Martin on
  • Google forwarding numbers (an option available in the U.S. and 18 other countries) report on calls received through call extensions and call-only ads, offering info on call duration, start and end times, area codes and percentage of calls connected.
  • Google Adwords alternatives like Yahoo!, the Bing Network and BuySellAds offer different features, notes Filipe Reis on He advocates reviewing them if you aren’t getting enough traffic from AdWords, if you find your revenues per visitor too low, or if you find your business incompatible with AdWords’ terms of service. But your conversion rate may be adversely affected, he warns.

Perhaps the best aspect of pay per call campaigns is that if they’re not working out, they’re easy to revise. “You don’t have to stick to a particular format to succeed,” notes Williams. “You’re leaving money on the table if you give up after the first try with a particular customer. If a lead doesn’t convert immediately, use a different SMS (text) pitch to turn them on to another similar offer.”