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Who You Gonna Call (Track)?

What is Call Tracking?

It's exactly what it sounds like. With call tracking, you'll know where your phone calls are coming from and what value they bring to your business.

“Call tracking is a technology which enables the pay per call business model, allowing the tracking of phone calls to be associated with performance-based advertising, and supplying additional analytic information about the phone calls. Call tracking is a method of performance review for advertising and/or staff.” – Google

Image of a phone booth. Are you using call tracking in your digital marketing efforts?

What are the Benefits of Call Tracking?

A call tracking service allows you to track which areas of your marketing (digital or offline) are performing well, and which areas you need to improve.


Call tracking can be beneficial for different types of campaigns:

  • Organic search: Decide which landing pages are generating calls to your business
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns: See which keywords work best and which keywords don’t (negative keywords)
  • Digital advertising campaigns: Discover which display advertisements perform best by using a different telephone number on each ad


With call tracking you can:

  • View the sources of incoming phone leads
  • Report on the efficiency of offline advertising campaigns, as well as online campaigns that lead to offline conversions
  • Gain an understanding of how customers are finding your brand and how they interact with your company
  • Optimize conversions and build a stronger, more effective marketing strategy

"Listen! Do you smell something?"

Some call tracking services, in addition to all the reporting, have the option to record calls (as long as you follow proper legal procedures for your state). This gives you tons of actionable information related to your company’s customer service performance. Reviewing phone calls can be beneficial for training and lead tracking opportunities. This could give you insight into improvements that your sales team can apply when handling inbound calls.

Reviewing recorded conversations can also help you identify content gaps and opportunities on your website. You can pick up new keyword phrases from common questions, identify areas for improvement based on complaints, and get insightful information on how to optimize and organize confusing content sections.

How it works

Image of the call tracking process. Learn more about how call tracking can help track leads for your business online

  1. A customer searches for a topic online, and your company appears in the results (through organic search, PPC, social media, etc). The call tracking platform places a unique phone number on your site that identifies the source of the call. 
  2. The business knows where the call is coming from based on the number from the call tracking platform. 
  3. Optional: the call may be recorded for future review. 
  4. Details from the call will be sent to a report/dashboard. Information may include: date and time, phone number, call duration, recording playback, and area to rate the lead (details vary depending on the software).
  5. Review the call, make notes on the quality and the value of the lead (if available). 
  6. Make informed adjustments to your marketing efforts after reviewing reporting information for your business. 

What is the ROI of a Phone Call?

One of the most common questions we get about digital marketing is "how will we know if it's working?" As with any investment, you want to see how it positively impacts your business growth.

Call tracking helps you fill in the gaps of your lead generation efforts. For most businesses online, the goal conversion rate is generated by Google Analytics alone. But this isn't necessarily a fair calculation if conversions are coming from phone calls as well. But you wouldn't know unless you're tracking phone calls from organic search.

If you know where your conversions are coming from, you can more accurately measure your ROI and find the most valuable leads.

Who Are the Leaders in the Call Tracking Industry?

If you're wondering what the field looks like out there for call tracking software, you'll find a number of options. Some better than others...

7 well-known call tracking software products

  1. SalesLoft
  2. CallRail
  3. Invoca
  4. DialogTech (formerly Ifbyphone)
  5. CallTrackingMetrics
  6. Marchex
  7. Call Box

There are software review companies whose main business is to compare all different types of call tracking software, and report the results. You can find a lot of information between those sites, the call tracking company pages, and asking your peers what they like. 

What to consider when choosing call tracking software

Our Digital Marketing team has experience with a few different call tracking services. And we know that once you've worked with good call tracking software, it's really hard to go back. We were having issues with our old service, so we started doing some research on alternatives. The top reasons we decided to switch were:

Reporting and interface usability

Our old software wasn't user-friendly. It was difficult for clients to navigate the reporting interface, so they never used it! We needed to give clients access to review their accounts and make it easy for us to pull monthly reporting information. The new software is easy to use and has advanced reporting options, such as adding lead value or including tags to help filter leads by specific information. Now our clients go in more frequently to review the reporting and give us quick feedback on how the leads are performing.

Call recording

We know that call recording isn't for everyone. But having the option to record phone calls can be a great SEO optimization and internal training opportunity. Listen to the words and phrases your current and prospective customers are using. Are they in line with your target keywords? More importantly, do you have content to address their main questions and concerns? And do you know how your team handled all of your inbound calls last month? Now you'll know for sure. And you can review any difficult calls and train your team on how to handle them in the future.

Easy implementation

Before settling on a specific call tracking software, make sure it will work with the systems you already have in place. It was important for us to find something that was easy to implement. We ended up with software that has dynamic number insertion. We didn't even know this was a thing until we started to do our homework! Now we place code one time and the system swaps the numbers depending on the source of the traffic (organic, PPC, etc). We struggled in the past trying to manage dozens of different code snippets that aligned with different call sources. Go with dynamic; you (and your dev/design team) will be so happy.

The Ultimate Test: Client Feedback

After switching from the old call tracking program, the response from our clients has been wildly positive. One client used the software to identify calls where customers were being put on hold for long periods of time and make changes to correct the issue (and save wasted expense).

Our clients are more engaged in their campaigns because they feel comfortable going in and updating the reporting. And it's easier for us to communicate the value of our digital marketing efforts because they are seeing it (in a very comprehensive picture) too.

 How are phone calls performing for your business?

Photo Credit: "Ghostbusters ECTO1 at the Arclight Hollywood" by Doug Kline is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Infographic Source: "Veterinary Marketing: Measuring The Return On Investment (ROI) Of Your Digital And Traditional Advertising" by Jed Schaible VMD MBA CVPM

Photo Credit: "Phone booth" by DBduo Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0