The growing popularity of smartphones and mobile advertising has changed the way consumers shop and convert online. According to Google, more searches take place on smartphones than any other device, and more than half of all web traffic now comes from mobile. When these smartphone users engage with mobile ads or website content, they often convert by calling.

According to research by analyst firm BIA/Kelsey:

  • Search, social, and display advertising drove over 108 billion call conversions to U.S. businesses in 2016.
  • That number will grow to 162 billion calls by 2019.
  • Search advertising alone will drive over 40 billion call conversions in the United States this year.

To succeed with calls, marketers must make it easy for consumers to engage in conversation with their businesses over the phone. But you shouldn’t stop there – you should also capture and leverage data on calls, callers, and conversations to improve marketing ROI and acquire more customers. Here are 4 strategies for marketers to take a data-driven approach to phone call conversions.

1. Attribute Every Phone Call

It’s important to capture the same granular level of data for phone call conversions as you do for online conversions, including:

  • The marketing source that drove the call: For each call, you should capture the marketing channel, ad variation, keyword search, email or direct mail, or other marketing source that drove it. This data helps you see which sources are driving the most calls.
  • The caller’s path through your website: If a lead visited your site after running a search or engaging with your marketing, you should know that person’s entry page, the content he or she viewed on your site, and the page he or she eventually called from. Knowing what content drives call conversions enables you to optimize your website to generate more leads and customers.
  • Data on the caller: You should also capture who the caller is, their phone number and geographic location, the day and time of the call, their device and browser, and if they are a first-time or repeat caller. This data is useful for optimizing both online and offline marketing, but is especially valuable in fine-tuning keyword bidding and ad targeting for channels such as paid search, social, and display. Also, tracking and anticipating peak call times is helpful in deciding how to staff call centers or business locations that answer calls.

2. Integrate Call Data with the Tools in Your Marketing Stack

Calls are an important data source to include in the tools you rely on to drive growth. With calls, you get a more holistic view of the customer journey and can best allocate budget and optimize campaigns to generate the greatest return. Some tools and platforms that can benefit from call data:

  • AdWords and Facebook: By far the most dominant digital advertising platforms, including your call data alongside online conversion data in AdWords and Facebook makes it easy to measure ROI and make smarter optimization decisions.
  • Web Analytics and Optimization: Include call data in tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics to understand the digital activities generating both online and call conversions. Use that knowledge to optimize website and digital advertising performance to increase engagement.
  • Bid Management: By adding call data to bid management platforms, these tools are able to calculate the true ROI from search and social media advertising. They can then allocate budget to the keywords and campaigns with the best CPL and CPA.
  • Marketing Automation: Including call data in marketing automation reports and workflows can help you optimize email targeting and conversion rates, improve lead scoring accuracy, and better capture each contact’s behavior, whether online and offline.
  • DMP and DSP: Call data belongs in data management platforms (DMPs) to improve customer analytics and decision-making. Call data should also be passed to demand-side platforms (DSP) to target audiences most likely to call with the right digital ads.
  • CRM: Marketers now pass call attribution data to CRMs to measure specific marketing sources and spend that drive the calls that convert to leads, opportunities, and revenue. It’s a necessary step to prove marketing’s impact on the business.

3. Personalize the Caller Experience to Convert More Calls to Sales

To improve conversion rates over the phone, marketers are now taking responsibility for the call channel – whether calls are going to a call center, remote sales agents, or business locations. You can use the call data captured at the time of the call to tailor and optimize the caller experience to win more customers. Here are three ways:

  • Route callers optimally to close more sales: When shoppers call, they expect to get assistance and answers right away. It’s important to connect them quickly in conversation with the right agent or business location. You can use intelligence captured on each call – including the marketing source, caller location and history, and day and time of the call – as signals to best determine where each caller should be sent.
  • Prioritize your most valuable callers: Some businesses have a priority queue where they place callers they believe have the highest purchasing intent and sales value, ensuring those calls get answered immediately. Some do this based on marketing source – with calls from search ads being the most common leads to get prioritized. But others do it based on a caller’s past history or the web page they called from.
  • Pass data on callers to sales agents before they answer: When calls come in, some businesses pass information on the caller and marketing source that drove the call to their sales agents before they answer. Knowing that a call is coming from a specific marketing campaign, referral source, keyword search, or webpage helps sales agents anticipate a caller’s needs and deliver a more seamless, personalized experience to win the sale.

4. Analyze Phone Conversations from Marketing for Actionable Insights

A necessary step in taking ownership of a business’ call channel is monitoring call activity and conversations. That’s why marketers are now analyzing what happens on the calls they generate to call centers and their business or franchisee locations. Analyzing if calls were answered and the content of the content of conversations provides actionable insights you can use to increase conversion rates and customer acquisition. Data to examine includes:

  • The value of the call: Knowing if a call was a legitimate sales call and if it converted to an opportunity or revenue helps marketers know which campaigns are driving the most “good” calls.
  • What the agent said: Marketers should analyze the performance of the agent who takes the call to ensure they are on-brand, using the right scripts, and mentioning the right promotions.
  • The call experience: Marketers are monitoring if calls to each location, agent, or client are being answered, how long callers spend on hold, and call abandon rates.
  • What the caller said: Understanding the words or phrases callers actually use can be an excellent way to optimize for the right SEO and SEM keywords and create more effective marketing messaging.

To learn more about measuring and optimizing phone calls from marketing, please download the eBook, The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Call Attribution.