Calls in Google Analytics: The missing piece of the attribution puzzle.
It’s undeniable that having Google Analytics, is the key to understanding who your website’s visitors are, what pages they browse, how they behave while browsing your site and ultimately how they convert into customers!
Setting up your Google Analytics account is free, and a fairly simple process, which has been covered in depth, both by Google and in numerous blog posts out there – check here, here and here 🙂
But are you sure you’re tracking all visitor interactions?
Recent research shows that the volume of phone calls has surged in the past 2 years.
So what happens if one of your visitors decides to place a call, rather than fill out a form or click on one of the shiny buttons on the website?
The ugly truth is that this will be reported as a bounce. Meaning that Google Analytics will report that the visitor landed on your website, did nothing and then left!
This is why tracking phone calls placed by your website visitors, is the key to the optimal Google Analytics setup! Tracking phone calls in Google Analytics can give you insights down to source/medium, keywords, campaign performance, pages the visitor called you from and give you the ability to understand what your caller audience looks like (age, gender, interests, etc.)
How do you track calls from your website?
Tracking calls and sending them to Google Analytics is simpler than you imagine. Here’s how it works
- A user visits your website and sees your phone number.
- The user calls your phone number.
- As soon as the call is placed, your call tracking script: records the source of the phone call, the actual phone call conversation, phone call duration, etc.
- Once the call is over, the call tracking script sends the phone call data to your phone call tracking software.
- Your phone call tracking software then sends phone call data to your Google Analytics account as an event.
After you’ve successfully integrated your Google Analytics account with your call tracking software, you’ll start to receive call events.
Events – Any time someone makes a specific interaction with your website – such as filling in a form, watching a video, making a purchase, placing a phone call, etc.
To see events in your Google Analytics account select the “Behavior > Events > Overview” menu item.
By clicking on each event you can find more information about the action, such as if the call was answered or not, and the label (typically the marketing source or the tracking number).
Viewing events is the first step to unlocking insights about your callers, but to obtain richer information, you need to setup a goal that will be triggered from this event.
Setup Goals Triggered by Events
Goals - measure the specific objectives that you define as valuable for your business, such as a purchase from your online store, a submission of a quote request form, a phone call, etc.
Here’s how to create a goal based on the call event:
- Log in to your Google Analytics Account.
- Click on Admin at the bottom of your screen.
- Select Account and Property for which you want to setup the goal and click on Goals.
- Click on “+ NEW GOAL” to begin creating your phone call goal.
- Under Goal Setup select “Custom”.
- Click on Goal Description, set a Name and select Type = Event.
- Click on Goal Details and under Event Conditions set Category – Begins with Call.
- Click “Save” to activate your phone call goal.
Now each time someone places a call from your website, Nimbata will send an event to your Google Analytics account and this event will trigger a goal completion!
These phone call goal completions work just like any other goal you’ve already set up (e.g. form completions, button clicks, cart additions, etc.)
How to view calls in Google Analytics
Having a conversion goal that reports calls, can be a gamechanger in the attribution puzzle. By selecting the goal under “Audience and Acquisition” reports, you unlock valuable insights not only about the marketing sources that drive calls to your business, but also get a good understanding of the profile of your callers.
Let’s start with the basics. Acquisition reports!
Source / medium
Usually the starting point for digital marketers is the “Source/Medium” report. In a previous post we’ve covered why using UTMs is a must when you run marketing campaigns. By navigating to “Acquisition – All Traffic – Source / Medium” you now have the option to filter by the phone goal conversion you setup!
In the example below you see calls in Google Analytics, broken down by source / medium. Neat right?
…and it can get even better than that. You can setup call conversion goals based on duration (filtering out non-quality calls). In the example below you see phone calls over 3 minutes, broken down by source / medium.
Campaigns – Ad groups – Keywords
If you are running Google Ads campaigns, the first step is to link your Google Ads account to Google Analytics. This allows you to view how your marketing campaigns are performing. By filtering with the Call conversion goal you created on the previous step, you now have an instant view of which campaigns are making your customers call you!
By navigating to “Acquisition – Google Ads – Keywords” you also get a breakdown of which keywords have triggered calls!
Having calls in Google Analytics allows you to establish caller profiles by capturing relevant data, including the caller’s location, their device, their age and gender and interests!
You can tap into all of this information by navigating to any of the sub reports under the “Audience” section.
In the table below I navigated to the “Audience – Demographics – Gender” report and added “Age” as the secondary dimension (always keeping Calls as my goal). This allows me to get a good understanding of what my callers look like.
Diving deeper into the data we find that callers are female, between the ages of 35-64 and have a high affinity for Food, Dining, Media, News and Lifestyle.
90% of my callers are also based in the US (this varies by the type of service / product / targeting).
I can also learn which device has generated calls and also other technology insights like network and browser.
This is my personal favorite feature of Google Analytics. Under “Audience – User Explorer” you get a list of all of your customer visits and by clicking on each you reveal the customer journey.
In the example below we can see the following:
- The user browsed the website from a mobile device with his web browser
- The date and time the user visited the site
- The channel, and the Google Ad campaign that drove the visit.
- Each page they viewed before making a call!
By viewing customer journeys you can unlock insights about not only which campaigns or keywords are driving calls, but also unveil common patterns between your customer’s visits.
Now you are ready to track calls in Google Analytics!
For a marketing professional, understanding and getting the most out of Google Analytics is of critical importance. Adding calls in Google Analytics, allows you to have a holistic view about how your customers are converting and avoid making decisions on incomplete data. So what are you waiting for?
3 thoughts on “How to Track Phone Calls in Google Analytics: An in-depth guide ”
Dude these articles have been really helpful to me. They really helped me out.
Thanks for your post, it helped me a lot. It helped me in my situation and hopefully it can help others too.
This is the best option to track every single call which is important for your business and get leads and conversions from them.