Why relying on Google call conversions leaves marketers in the dark

Category: Data and analytics

Way back in 2014, Google launched its call conversion tracking tool. It was applauded by marketing pros and seemed like a great way to know how Google ad clicks lead to different kinds of phone calls.

But the trouble with Google’s tool is that it only gives limited insight into calls coming from Google Ads.

In the real world, a fully-functioning marketing strategy should be bringing in leads through multiple channels, such as social media, email, organic search, and more.

And that’s just on the digital side. You may be running campaigns through offline channels like magazine ads, billboards, radio and physical events, too.

Having an in-depth view of what’s happening on a single channel is great and all. But really – in today’s multichannel world – marketers need a clear picture of what’s happening on every channel.

And we’re not talking about a siloed view, either. You need to know how each channel sits in the entire buying journey and how customers use those channels at every step.

Sounds complex, right? It actually isn’t in practice. You just need call tracking software like Mediahawk to do all the hard work for you.

Why should I choose Mediahawk over Google call conversions?

To put it simply, you get way more insight with a dedicated call tracking tool like Mediahawk. Where Google’s feature limits you to tracking conversions through one source only, Mediahawk allows you to track conversions through literally any online or offline channel. In fact, you can track to the individual keyword and ad – giving far more granular insights than Google can provide.

There’s also the issue of cost. With Google, you pay the bid amount whatever happens. It means that every call you receive will be charged at the same rate as a click or conversion. If your keywords are expensive, this could get very costly and be a big problem for a number of reasons:

  1. Google’s numbers are recycled, so you may get calls meant for another business from someone who has written down the number from another website. But you’ll still be charged.
  2. PPC has to be carefully managed to make sure budget is going to the right ad groups and campaigns. If you’re getting calls to a particular ad group, you might think it’s successful and allocate more budget there. But the reality is you have no visibility of the quality of those calls, so you could well end up wasting your money.
  3. Because each call costs whatever the current bid or conversion cost is, there’s a risk that you’ll get caught paying spiralling rates if competition in the industry is high.

The customer journey conundrum

If you’re a marketer running PPC ads – either at an agency or working in-house – a customer journey like this may be familiar:

  1. A prospect clicks through to your or your client’s website from a PPC ad
  2. They browse the site then leave
  3. A week later, they reappear after seeing another ad on social media
  4. During that website session, they call you or your client using the number shown on the website

Customer journey conundrum visitor path.

For a journey like this, Google call conversion tracking completely falls down. Why? Because after step 2, Google is no longer able to track that prospect’s journey. The fact that they came back a week later would be missed.

To make matters worse, you’ll have paid for the click on your ad, but you won’t be able to link that spend to the conversion.

Whereas with call tracking software, the prospect would be recognised as someone who had already visited the website (even a week later) and their journey would be tracked in full.

In fact, every move they make – including multiple visits to the site – would be captured in full detail.

It means you could run a report and see exactly how much ROI you’re getting from each and every marketing channel – not just your Google ads.

How else does Mediahawk help me?

Mediahawk provides you with even more detailed insight on phone calls than you get from Google, including:

  • Visibility of every customer interaction with your brand
  • Accurate tracking of source and medium
  • Keywords used
  • Words and phrases used in conversations
  • Ad groups
  • Campaign information
  • Tracking conversions across all marketing activity

With a dedicated call tracking tool like Mediahawk, you can integrate with other marketing tools, and get more useful and insightful data into those systems. Other useful call tracking features that you won’t get with Google’s tool include:

  • Call recordings
  • Start and end times
  • Call duration
  • The caller line identity (CLI)
  • Caller area codes
  • Whether calls are answered or not

What’s more, you also have the option to choose the type of number you want to use – local, national, or freephone numbers are all available.

Ultimately, relying on Google call conversions will severely limit your ability to fully understand buying journeys, and to optimise your campaigns for success.

For the majority of today’s marketers, something far more powerful and insightful will be essential for delivering stand-out strategies and supercharged business growth.

About the author - Natalia Selby

Marketing Executive at Mediahawk, with 20 years experience in analytics and content management.

Man and woman using laptops.
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