Is Your Call Tracking Really Integrated into Google Analytics?

Published on 27th Aug 2015 in Digital Marketing

To get the most out of your call tracking data, integration with your marketing systems is a must and Google Analytics is fundamental. So it’s not surprising that every call tracking company will tell you that their service does this.

But not all integrations with Google Analytics are created equal. Many look like they do, but in fact only skim the surface, failing to offer true integration. The result is poor quality data that offers misleading and inaccurate insights.

Infinity Integrated into GA

When this information is used to inform marketing spend, particularly for paid search, the results can be disastrous. Budgets can be focused on under-performing channels and keywords, while other vital ones are neglected.

How can you tell if your call tracking really integrates with Google Analytics? There are two common warning signs of an inadequate integration, which you can look out for.

A specific Google Analytics goals page

If a provider asks you to set up a specific page on your website to trigger and track Google Analytics goals, then you’re almost certainly not getting full GA integration.

Instead, calls made will be separated from the overall user journey, generally just providing a basic tally that correlates calls with keywords. As a result, you won’t be able to see top-performing keywords from early on in the purchase cycle, meaning that you could very easily reduce the spend on terms that are vital during the initial research phase.

You’re also likely to lack data about landing and conversion pages, whether or not goals are completed, which pages are viewed the longest and interactions with different aspects of the website. This makes it hard to clearly see where to allocate budget for paid search or for developing and optimising web pages.

This fragmented user journey data can seriously distort marketing campaigns – and lead to a poorer user experience too.

Cookie Windows

Using cookie windows is another sure-fire sign that your call tracking platform isn’t fully integrated with GA. At first glance, a fixed cookie window to track a user beyond their first visit might seem to eliminate the problem of failing to record the entire user journey.

But, if anything, cookie windows can be even more problematic, resulting in misleading data and subsequent poor allocation of spend.

One of the easiest ways to see why using cookie windows doesn’t adequately integrate call tracking and GA is by checking a report in Analytics and comparing different attribution models:

  1. Under the Reporting tab, go to Conversions
  2. Click on Attribution, then Model Comparison Tool
  3. Choose your date range on the upper right hand corner
  4. Go to the Conversions drop-down and select All Phone Call Conversions (In our case we only have one call goal)

    Conversions

  5. Set the Lookback Window to 90 days

  6. Select the Last AdWords Click attribution model from the Select Model drop-down (or create your own custom model with anything using a medium of CPC or display)

Check conversions and CPA Changes

When you use different attribution models, if neither the number of phone conversions for paid search nor the CPA change, then this is clearly an indication that integration isn’t working properly and shows that the calls logged aren’t being related to actual user journeys.

You’ve also lost the ability to see the interactions that follow and precede the call, meaning you could be missing out on optimisation opportunities and understanding the needs of your customers.

To compare, when you look at a 90 day lookback report using Infinity Cloud tracking with GA, this is what you see:

GA Infinity Screenshot

There’s a clear difference between CPA for paid search using last click and first paid click models. Often this gives a more realistic view of paid search’s value in driving conversions and traffic.

For TUI Mainstream Cruise Deals, this meant that they were able to see that ‘cruises’, a keyword that had previously seemed to be of low value, in fact drove a significant number of conversions as an early touch point for customers coming from paid search.

Senior Digital Marketing Manager

Alex Worth
Senior Digital Marketing Manager

Digital marketing enthusiast at Infinity and when not at work is kept on her toes by two cheeky little boys.

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