Improve Your PPC Bid Management With Keyword-level Call Tracking

Published on 27th Oct 2014 in PPC

Keyword-level call tracking, we’re sure you’ve heard about it but do you know what it really means and why it can mean the success or failure of your PPC keyword bid management strategy.

At Infinity we’ve noticed a trend that PPC Marketers are increasing spend this year. So if you’re focussing on PPC then keyword-level call tracking can play a major role in optimising conversions for increased ROI of paid search campaigns.

Competition over AdWords is fierce as companies are dedicating more money and resources to creating highly effective search campaigns. With Google generating more than $40 billion in PPC search ad revenue every year it’s clear that this is a highly competitive market as brands compete over PPC ad keywords, resulting in certain keywords and phrases skyrocketing in cost.

How can it improve ROI?

When TUI first started integrating call tracking with their PPC campaigns they were bidding across a wide range of brand and generic terms and using a last-click attribution model. According to this data, the keyword ‘cruises’ was failing to drive calls from their website.

But once they put call tracking in place which tracked their customer’s entire digital journey, they saw that ‘cruises’ was the top keyword for getting customers to take the vital first step of visiting their website and was the keyword that eventually led to most conversions.

Based on this new information, TUI changed their attribution model to track first-click and the subsequent customer journey and refocused their PPC campaign accordingly, delivering an improved return on spend.

Breaking down the steps to effectively integrating call tracking with PPC bid management shows just how this can result in more efficient bidding.

Remove the Guesswork

With so much risk and competition involved in getting the right keywords in place it’s imperative to track the entire journey of every visitor, i.e. their online activity and offline telephone calls, and close the loop between the two to see which keywords are actually driving phone calls, sales and their impact on ROI. By tracking the impact on ROI you can determine which keywords are bringing in the most customers and consequently which customers are converting into sales.

Understanding Call Tracking Techniques from a Marketers Perspective

Closing the loop between online and offline activity removes the guesswork and the risk from calculating the keywords that actually result in conversions and makes it easy to focus on the keywords to bid on and how much to bid for them. Without this you’re working from assumptions based on gut instinct and guesswork, hardly a scalable strategy.

PPC and Call Tracking

PPC Marketers can get the edge over their competitors by using call tracking to track the complete ROI to include inbound calls back to specific keywords, and properly attribute new leads to the correct marketing source. This shows marketing teams exactly which campaigns are working and which ones need more attention, enabling a better allocation of budget towards top-performing campaigns that deliver a higher ROI.

Google Universal Analytics report what keyword searches drive traffic to a website or landing page however the technology cannot trace with accuracy which keyword searches are making the phones ring. This information is fundamental to marketing teams as phone leads offer a higher potential for purchase.

As more and more consumers conduct searches on their mobile phones, the number of inbound phone calls resulting from search results and PPC ads is set to grow at an unprecedented rate with figures for spending on mobile search estimated to reach $9 billion by the end of 2014, an increase of 83% from 2013 (figures reported by EMarketer).

Call tracking systems can been integrated into analytics systems such as Google Analytics and various bid management platforms such as Kenshoo and Marin. Infinity’s call tracking software integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics so detailed segmentation and path analysis can be performed on visitors and goals. This is vital for managing PPC effectively as calls need to be mapped to a conversion in the same way as an online conversion tracking so you can see which keywords need managing. The insights extracted from call tracking data provide guidance on future bid management campaigns as well as how to best improve existing initiatives.

Integrating with mobile search

As more and more consumers conduct searches on their mobile phones, the number of inbound phone calls resulting from search results and PPC ads is set to grow at an unprecedented rate. EMarketer estimated that mobile search spend would reach $9 billion by the end of 2014, an increase of 83% from 2013.

Between 2015 and 2018 mobile search is predicted to increase between 43 and 22% while desktop searches decline.

As a result, spend on mobile search advertising is expected to take a dominant market share for the first time in 2015, with some US companies already reporting a marked increase for mobile CPCs.

One sticking point for advertisers is difficulty in measuring ROI on mobile search spend, as users frequently either use two or more devices to complete their purchase or do so offline.

All in all this makes call tracking more vital than ever before, to ensure a multichannel marketing campaign is being tracked, analysed, and optimised across all mediums. If call data is missing from analytics, the ROI of a campaign may be skewed as it’s not taking into account phone leads from the search.

Test, test and test again

No matter what system you’re using for tracking calls it’s important to test everything, analyse and then test again. PPC ads are no exception to this rule. Not only can call tracking provide marketers with proper attribution for leads derived from search but it can also be applied to the testing of landing pages and display ad designs.

When creating different variations of landing pages and display ads, you may want to track the response rate and overall performance of each via Google Analytics or other similar tools however these reports will not take into account phone leads generated from each variation. To get the complete picture on how a display ad or landing page will perform ensure you include call tracking data in the testing phases and throughout every campaign.

Digital Communications Manager

Andy Eastham
Digital Communications Manager

Loves comms and pr

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