4 Proven Methods for Tracking Phone Calls on Your Website

4 proven methods to track phone calls - Track phone calls meme about generating calls without knowing the call source

Websites have become the preferred touch point for many consumers around the globe. But why is that? 

The Internet has enabled customers to fully own their buying experience. What’s better than having product info, pricing, a wide choice of communication channels, all at your fingertips 24/7.

Businesses and marketers also have an upgraded toolkit thanks to this digital transformation. With the right technology, you can analyze online forms, live chats, emails and even track phone calls from your website. 

In this guide, we’ll cover all the different methods which you can implement to track phone calls on your website. Take a short glance before diving deeeper.

Method to track website callsFreeProsConsBest for
Asking callers directlyYES✔️ Builds relationships with customers❌ Not scalable
❌ Might get wrong answers
Small Businesses with very low call volumes
Counting clicks on a particular call-to-actionYES✔️ Good to start tracking your first calls❌ Accidental clicks will count as conversions (that’s around 40% of clicks)
❌ No accurate data
Small Businesses with low-medium call volumes
Using Google Ads Phone Call ConversionsYES✔️ Tracks phone calls from all devices & manual dials❌ Works only for Google Ads trafficBusinesses that generate calls only for Google Ads Campaigns
Implementing a Call Tracking solutionNO✔️ Accurate call tracking for every channel gathering rich data for every caller❌ Paid optionData-driven Businesses that generate medium-large call volumes and want to generate more.

Method #1 – Track phone calls by asking callers directly

In a glance

✔️ Free
✔️ Builds relationships with customers
❌ Time-consuming
❌ Not scalable
❌ Might annoy some callers
❌ Might get wrong answers
❌ Analysis needs more effort

The Effectiveness of Direct Questions

Asking callers directly how they found your website is a straightforward and cost-effective method of tracking phone calls. This approach can be highly effective, especially for businesses that receive a manageable volume of calls. When your team interacts with customers, they have the chance to ask a simple question about what prompted the call. This human element can lead to more nuanced insights than automated tracking methods.

With just a few questions, you can figure out:

  1. Which marketing source generated this call (q: How did you find us?)
  2. What product/service is this call about (q: Is there something specific I can help with?)

Direct inquiries can reveal not just which marketing channel led to the call, but also the caller’s thought process and the specific aspects of your marketing that resonated with them. However, the success of this method relies heavily on consistent execution by staff and honest feedback from callers. It provides immediate feedback and can be implemented without any upfront investment in technology.

Potential Drawbacks and Considerations

While asking callers directly is a simple way to track phone calls from your website, there are potential drawbacks to consider. First, this method relies on human memory, which can be unreliable. Callers may not remember precisely how they found your number, or they may provide a general answer that lacks the detail needed for accurate tracking.

Additionally, this approach can be inconsistent, as it depends on staff asking the question every time and recording the answers correctly. There’s also the potential for the inquiry to disrupt the natural flow of conversation, which could impact the customer experience. For businesses with high call volumes, it might become impractical to track each call manually. Therefore, while direct inquiries can yield valuable information, they should be used in conjunction with other tracking methods to ensure comprehensive data collection.

Method #2 – Track phone calls by measuring click-to-call actions

In a glance

✔️ Free
✔️ Can measure at scale
❌ Will not track phone calls from another device – manual dials
❌ Accidental clicks will count as conversions (that’s around 40% of clicks)
❌ No accurate data

During 2012-2017 mobile optimization was the next big thing. And perhaps the most used marketing buzzword for those 5 years. Part of mobile optimization was empowering visitors to easily contact your business, and rightly so click-to-call buttons became a thing.

Click-to-call buttons take a user to the dial screen when clicked, but do not actually initiate the call. 🤯🤯

Consumers that found your business while browsing on their smartphone are more likely to call if offered the option. And, with the correct setup, it’s possible to track these events in Google Analytics when someone clicks on your telephone number.

But how do these buttons work when someone is browsing on Desktop or Laptop?

Most of the time they don’t. Consumers prefer to manually call the number from their physical phone.

How to implement this method

  • Step 1: Create a GTM Trigger that fires when the click url contains “Tel”
  • Step 2: Create a Phone Calls Tag
  • Step 3: Link the Trigger with the Tag
  • Step 4: Publish it
  • Step 5: Create a Phone Call Clicks as an Event-Goal in Google Analytics

Did the above leave you scratching your head? 

This in-depth guide does an amazing job at describing thoroughly the implementation process.

Method #3 – Track phone calls with Google Ads Phone Calls conversions

In a glance

✔️ Free
✔️ Scalable
✔️ Tracks phone calls from all devices & manual dials
❌ Works only for Google Ads traffic
❌ Might attract spam callers

Google is to marketers what water is to humans. (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. or am I not?)

Anyways, Google Ads enables marketers to place their product in front of the right person and monitor the effectiveness of their campaigns. By effectiveness we mean 💰

Phone calls typically lead to 💰 thus they’re not an exemption – and Google offers a way to measure those conversions.

Like in the previous method, setting this up requires some level of marketing knowledge and I strongly recommend reading Google’s official documentation

The main idea is that Google introduces unique phone numbers to your Google Ads campaigns and forwards phone calls to your main phone number. In case a visitor clicks on one of your campaigns, Google’s phone number will swap the phone number on your website via GTM. (Google Tag Manager)

Limitations of Google Ads Phone Call Tracking

Despite the numerous advantages, Google Ads Phone Call Tracking is not without its limitations. Understanding these constraints can help you make an informed decision about whether it aligns with your business needs.

  1. Limited Scope: Google Ads Call Tracking is primarily designed to track calls derived from Google Ads campaigns. If you have diversified marketing strategies across various platforms, this method won’t capture all the data you need. It might not be an ideal solution if your business relies heavily on SEO, social media marketing, or other non-Google advertising platforms.
  2. Limited Data: Google Ads fails in providing detailed data that will help you optimize your campaigns. For example, it doesn’t provide information on whether those callers converted into customers or completed desired actions. 
  3. It only offers quantitive metrics: While Google Ads Call Tracking provides quantitative metrics such as call duration, it falls short in analyzing the qualitative aspects of phone conversations. The content and quality of these calls, including whether they resulted in a positive customer experience or led to a sale, are not captured by this tracking method. Without this qualitative data, you may miss out on important insights into customer interactions.
Check out our complete guide on Google’s Call Tracking Solution

Method #4 – Track phone calls by using a Call Tracking software 

In a glance

✔️ Scalable
✔️ Tracks & attributes every single phone call
✔️ Works for all marketing channels and even offline media
✔️ Allow you to make deeper analysis to optimize better your campaigns
✔️ Integrates with your Tech stack allowing you send call conversions triggered by custom events
✔️ Richer data such as recordings, transcriptions, caller ids, who hung up, call durations, hang-up reasons and more!
❌ Paid option

With 3 free options, why would I opt-in for a paid solution?

Dedicated call tracking platforms are the end-game of tracking phone calls from your website.

Call Tracking Tools allow for a granular level of tracking, including the caller’s journey on your website before, during, and after making the call, the call’s duration, and even the caller’s geographic location. Advanced solutions can also offer call recording for quality assurance and training purposes. The data collected through call tracking solutions integrates with analytics platforms and CRM systems, enabling a seamless flow of information and a comprehensive view of the customer’s interaction with your business. It’s a powerful tool for businesses looking to optimize their marketing strategies and improve customer engagement.

Through a platform like Nimbata, you can not only track & attribute you calls, you can take it a step further by:

  • Classifying your leads, to discover which channels and campaigns brought you the most high value leads
  • Using Integration triggers to only send quality and sales leads to your integrations (such as Google Ads)
  • Understanding what efforts bring new callers
  • Analyzing the timeline report which includes page views, calls, and form submissions to identify common customer touchpoints
  • Building automation rules to classify your leads, assign values or any other custom property.

I think that I should the list here. The thing is that whether calls are coming from Bing, Google, Instagram, Facebook or even Offline media like Newspapers and TV, call tracking platforms will show you which places are untapped gold mines of phone calls. 

Comparing the Four Methods

When choosing the best method to track phone calls from your website, it’s important to consider the scale of your business, the volume of calls, and the type of insights you need. Asking callers directly is the most straightforward and cost-effective method, but it may not provide the detailed analytics larger businesses require. Counting clicks on a specific phone number offers a digital approach that is easy to implement, yet it may not capture the complete picture of customer interactions.

Using Google Ads Phone Call Conversions is an excellent choice for businesses heavily invested in paid search, as it ties phone call data directly to your advertising campaigns. Lastly, implementing a call tracking solution is the most comprehensive method, offering detailed analytics and integration with other digital marketing tools. Each method has its unique benefits and limitations, so it’s crucial to align the choice with your business objectives and the resources at your disposal.


Curious to:

🤔 See how many phone calls are coming from your marketing efforts?
🤔 Learn the keyword most customers search for before they call you?
🤔 Know why some people eat potato chips with chocolate? 

I have no idea about that 3rd one, but in case the first 2 got your attention, you will find a “subtle” CTA below.

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