This has been an interesting week for the call tracking world.

If you use the phrase ‘call tracking’ with someone this week, it will likely conjure up images of NSA wiretapping, analysts hunched over computer screens in secret government bunkers listening to your private conversations, and injurious government spying.

In fact, the term ‘call tracking’ has been used more on Twitter this week than any other week ever. The entire world is talking abou the CIA/NSA program to track and monitor calls (along with emails, social media etc.).

But call tracking meant something entirely different–and something far less controversial just a few days ago.

Up until this week, call tracking was fiarly well-known tool used by millions of marketers to analyze which ads, campaigns, and search terms generate phone calls. There are several ‘call tracking’ companies, including LogMyCalls, that gather marketing data. Call tracking is like Google Analytics for the phone.

But, in the last 5 or 6 days the term call tracking has been commandeered by this government spying scandal. That’s sort of unfortunate.

Call Tracking May Not Stop Terrorism…BUT It Does Stop Bad Marketing

Call tracking, as it has been known until this week, does not stop terrorism. But it does stop bad marketing.

Call tracking provides data that marketers need to make decisions about their marketing spend. It is a vital tool in a marketer’s toolbox.

Call Tracking for PPC

Marketers spend BILLIONS each year on PPC campaigns, specifically on Google Adwords. They drive traffic to landing pages, track conversions and revenue. They track the number of people that fill out a form on that landing page.

Increasingly though, marketers are also tracking the number of phone calls that PPC campaigns produce. This data, provided by call tracking, is critical to filling the blindspot for marketers as they track their ROI.

Call Tracking for SEO

How many phone calls are your SEO efforts generating? Which searched keywords are producing calls?

For some SMBs and local businesses, phone calls are simply the most important leads there are. They are more valuable than any other lead type.

Thus, tracking which SEO tactics, keywords, and traffic sources are generating phone calls is critically important.

Call Tracking for Traditional Media

Many marketers place call tracking numbers on direct mail ads, in radio ads, in TV ads, and in print ads. These marketers need to know how many phone calls these tactics are producing.

So…call tracking may not stop terrorism, but it does stop bad marketing.

Hopefully within a few days/weeks the term ‘call tracking’ will be correctly used again. :)