How To Approach The 5 Call Tracking Metrics Neil Patel Talks About [Full]

Neil Patel

When you see even the infamous Neil Patel writing about call tracking metrics, that’s when you know it’s something you’ve got to pay attention to.

The thing is, as call conversion experts, reading Patel’s article, “Which Call Tracking Metrics Are Important?” got us thinking about what we can add to explain the subject to marketers further. 

From call volume and lead source to call duration and PPC/landing page performance, Neil packs in some great information about the key metrics you should be paying attention to, yet he chose to split them between inbound and outbound calls. 

But should he have laid the metrics out this way? In our opinion, no. But don’t worry, we’ll explain why later. We know the struggle of marketing attribution is real and can be confusing. 

So we assessed Patel’s recent guidance to see if there were any gaps or things to add. In the process, we came up with a short guide to call conversion tracking metrics.

Though we’re massive fans of Neil, we do think there are a few elements that require further explanation. 

So, in this blog, we’re going to clarify certain points he makes, take a closer look at tracking metrics, and answer the question, “are marketers educated enough about call conversion attribution?”

Let’s go!

What Neil Patel talks about and why we disagree

Neil Patel said:What’s important to know (and he doesn’t say):
If your phone is ringing, then you have a decent campaign. Without looking at call tracking metrics in detail, you won’t know for sure. 
You should analyze outbound and inbound calls with different call metrics for each. However, if you’re interested in marketing performance of calls, inbound and outbound metrics aren’t all that different.
If you’re going to track the call metrics he outlined, you’ll have all the data you need. We tend to disagree. Neil only mentioned 6 metrics to focus on that are difficult to track without having the right tools (tools he knows about, but does he?)
There’s never too much data, so if you can’t track call conversions, then hire a digital marketing expert, well him! But how can you hire an expert when they confuse the metrics? Also, most digital marketers don’t deal with outbound calls at all!

Why we think Neil misrepresents call tracking metrics

Neil’s article wants to simplify call-tracking metrics but overemphasized a distinction between the call tracking metrics, splitting them into inbound and outbound calls. With that, he almost oversimplifies the role of call conversion tracking. 

In fact, those that know where call tracking metrics help most will understand why we feel Neil almost “demotes” call conversion tracking when he recommends that you assign the most important metrics (like volume, source, and duration) only to outbound calls.

By grouping call tracking metrics as outbound vs inbound, Neil is promoting the thinking that such metrics are ONLY for outbound calls. 

However, outbound calls relate to sales activity and not marketing performance. Sales volume (outbound) isn’t the same as call-me-back request volume, which in fact is a direct result of marketing and a vital call metric.

Considering Neil uses sales call duration or objection handling in the article, it’s clear that he’s talking about call metrics as indicators of sales performance or customer support activities rather than marketing. 

While important aspects for selling, these indicators are more qualitative and lagging to help marketers answer the most fundamental question in their mind: “how are marketing campaigns actually performing?”

Expert marketers will understand the difference, but those just beginning to work with performance campaigns with a goal to deliver calling leads can be confused seeing call metrics be discussed in this light as in Neil’s article.

Since Neil’s piece closes by offering a (half-baked) list of call tracking tools, we can’t believe that Neil is intentionally misleading marketers about what call metrics truly are. 

However, it could be that even Neil himself might not know the full power of call tracking and call conversion attribution in a marketing context. In this case, he could use our primer below and apply it to the services he offers. 

The most immediate thing marketers need to know is how to call metrics that can improve PPC and ad campaigns. This is what will have the greatest impact on their performance. The sales team’s objection-handling scripts are strategic but won’t move the needle if you don’t get enough volume of sales calls.

Figuring out what convinced someone to call and how to get more of those high-quality calls repetitively is a multi-faceted endeavor.

Luckily, call conversion technology can deliver metrics to capture most of those facets and turn them into insights to improve your results in inbound calling leads or even your outbound calling approach. Follow part two

The universal call tracking metrics marketers need to measure

While Neil’s article is a great starting point, making distinctions between inbound vs outbound call metrics is a fruitless exercise (at least in the beginning) and especially futile if you’re a marketer. 

According to our call conversion experts here at Nimbata, these are the most important call conversion metrics marketers should pay attention to, based on analyzing over 1000 call-based campaigns. 

#1 Call volume

Call volume is probably the most important metric to focus on when tracking the performance/ efficacy of your marketing. When it comes to inbound, it’s easier to see how many customers call you at the number you display in specific channels and storefronts. Tracking calls at almost visitor level is more complex but still possible.

When it comes to outbound, if you are looking to see how marketing contributes, then you need to measure call-me-back requests. Focusing on volume done by sales is a metric for performance, but of their personal performance – not on how marketing performed.

#2 Lead Source 

Figuring out where your calls came from or how customers found your number is vital. Identifying which channel they came from, like “Google” or “Facebook” is a good start, however, it won’t help you improve your campaigns.

You see, knowing the landing page that drives more leads can inform you about whether your marketing message is working and help sales know which offer to speak to clients about. But how do you improve your ad campaign’s CTR or sales closing rates? 

You need to look at specifically which campaigns, ads, keywords, or landing pages convinced your client’s customers to call, measuring each touchpoint they hit before doing so. This is possible when you look at the source of call conversions from the get-go and conduct session-level tracking.

#3 Call Duration

Neil is right about one thing: call duration as a metric does indeed help indicate if the call is a high-intent prospect and if your campaigns are targeted well. However is this true only for outbound call campaigns? We’ve seen it time and time again, call duration is important for both inbound and outbound calls, no doubt.

Call duration (irrespective of short or long) is a powerful metric for call-based ad campaigns and the inbound calls they deliver. When you have the metric, you can use it as a strong signal to send back to advertising platforms and improve the algorithmic targeting. 

Now, whether a high or short duration is better, really depends on your industry, business and the offer. In cases where booking an appointment is required, a shorter duration reflects the transactional nature of the call. 

On the other hand, if qualification or getting information from a client is required, like in healthcare, longer calls means better leads. 

By tracking these metrics and using them to optimize your call-based campaigns to target more leads like those whose calls last x minutes, you’ll significantly improve lead quality. 

#4 Day and time

Time and day is important, sure, but it’s even more important to use the time and day metrics from your inbound calls to plan a marketing strategy that targets audiences at those times. 

If you know the time slot that customers are willing to call your clients, that’s a true signal of customer behavior and data you can use to improve your outbound campaigns too. 

#5 Conversion type

Using objections as a metric for tracking call conversions is too qualitative in our opinion, as they happen during the call. While it’s an important metric for selling, how does it inform call-based campaigns? 

For marketers, the best advice to gain from this is to use objections to inform your call campaign messaging, but other than that, this metric isn’t entirely relevant for improving call-based campaigns, as you generally don’t have access to your client’s call transcripts. 

Instead, measure the conversion type for each call, leveraging call conversion tags to assist your marketing efforts with qualifying the leads. You can choose from a range of tags, like “Answered, interested, wrong number, hot lead,” etc.

How inbound calls metrics differ from outbound

Beyond the universal indicators above, there are some additional call-tracking metrics specific to inbound call activity. These involve knowing additional attributes to the call such as knowing if a call is for sales or for customer support. 

Or if your client’s customers are new or repeat callers. Knowing this data, and additional dimensions retrieved with in-call analytics is super helpful in sending better signals to your ad platforms. 

All of the universal call tracking metrics above apply to the outbound calling activity. It is true, however, that for robust outbound programs you will need more specific indicators to monitor sales performance, like outbound call volume.

It’s important that you think about why you should care about each of the above metrics. Are they related to your marketing efforts, better for sales teams to know, or more relevant for customer success managers? 

For example, for sales, call metrics will help inform their outbound call strategy and inbound time/day helps them know what the best time to call is, and inbound source lets them know what offer to talk about. 

Dynamic Call Tracking

With so many call tracking metrics at your fingertips and the complexity of advertising making them difficult to measure, call conversion attribution really isn’t as simple as getting X amount of calls per channel. 

A comprehensive call conversion attribution platform (like Nimbata) can help you get lead generation figures and apply DNI (dynamic number insertion) to offer more enhanced call metrics. 

With DNI, you’ll be able to see the full caller’s journey, including if they’re a new or repeat customer, what their status is (interested, etc.) and what campaigns specifically drove them to call, without needing a 3rd party tool to do the job.

This will help you prove your marketing efforts to clients and significantly improve campaign performance.

Dynamic Call Tracking EXPLAINED

Dynamic Call Tracking based on Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) Technology, is the method of displaying unique phone numbers on a website, based on a set of….

Call tracking metrics are great, but useless if you don’t know your goals

While understanding the importance of measuring the above call tracking metrics is a step in the right direction, it’s useless if you don’t first know why you’re tracking them. You have to think about your call conversion attribution strategy, too:

  1. Define your marketing client’s business goals and define what a “good” call lead means to them. (e.g. call duration> 30 sec, call page = xyz).
  2. Define your KPIs and metrics based on the call outcome you’re looking for.
  3. Pick the call tracking app that has the suitable features to your business like flows, tags, recordings, dashboards or views.
  4. Set up your campaigns to start monitoring and use calls as conversion signals, connect to your google ads and see them improving.

Based on the steps above, you should be able to understand your audience better, what campaign produces the best leads for your clients and, therefore, where you should invest your marketing budget and efforts. 

You can also create clusters and help your marketing clients handle sales activities based on the enhanced call conversion attribution metrics, so they can increase business growth. 

What to look for in a call conversion attribution tool

We are always excited to see industry-leaders like Neil engaging and bringing more knowledge of call conversion tracking to the world, but the benefits of this technology will only be realized if marketers fully understand it and see it for what it is. 

With so much information, there’s still a major education gap in call attribution within the digital marketing community, and we’re here to close that gap!

Neil offers tools to help with call tracking that are more well-known in the US and are all very similar. But what should a marketer look for if even Neil just lists more of the same? 

As marketers ourselves, we know what marketers worry about, and it starts with forecasting and ends with budgets.

Considering marketers are the biggest buyer of tech tools (which makes sense with so much data to cultivate!), when it comes to call tracking you need the tool of the right size to shine light in the performance dark spots that others leave behind. 

And when you know you have the capabilities you need (lead capture and call conversion attribution, in-call analytics, and lead flow management), you care about 2 more things:

The pricing (and how much those fees eat away at your available ad budget) and the support you get to use the call conversion tracking tool to its full potential. 

For this, it’s best to check out how our call conversion tracking tool compares with others. 

If you are in the US, visit our US call tracking tool comparison page, and if you are in Europe, visit our Europe call tracking tool comparison page

Nimbata is your answer to deep marketing analytics – but for phone call conversions! 

Our platform is the perfect call tracking and conversion analytics solution for marketing agencies and service-led businesses to collect, track, and leverage phone call data to optimise marketing performance, reduce customer acquisition costs, and grow revenue. 

For marketers running ppc, we can give you at 2x more leads or greater simply because our usage-based pricing is aligned to giving you the value that matters most to your business and to your campaigns- answered calls (not per minute)

If you’d like to learn how you can leverage Nimbata to improve the performance of your marketing campaigns, book a demo today, and we’ll show you just how easy it is to attribute call conversions to your marketing efforts.