A Guide to Call Attribution

Understanding how to assign programmable phone numbers is key to accurate call attribution. Learn the details this five part series.

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A Guide to Call Attribution

Whether you’re an online directory for real estate like Trulia or a marketing agency like Scorpion, most your customers have a strong preference to make the final decisions over the phone. When the customer journey begins online but is completed offline, how do you accurately measure the leads delivered?

Programmable phone numbers are the glue that binds the online and offline worlds. Understanding how to assign them to ads and campaigns is essential to accurate call attribution.

Tie Calls and Data

Call attribution lets you focus on reaching audiences that are more likely to call and therefore make a buying decision. Call attribution allows you to tie in any data provided by an ad source (such as keywords) to accurately measure the return on investment from your marketing spend.

Without call attribution, you’re flying blind. While your ad spend across search, social, display ads, and other channels might be generating phone calls, you won’t know how each ad source is performing because you can’t measure the effect of different variables within each channel. For example, there could be a keyword in AdWords that does really well in generating phone calls. But because you’re not attributing calls, there’s no way to know what that keyword is.

Close the Loop with Call Tracking

This is where call tracking comes in. If your goal is to get people to call in, call tracking will help you measure the effectiveness of your ads.

Call Tracking Arch Diagram

With call tracking, a number programmed to forward all calls to the business—instead of the business’ actual phone number—is displayed in an ad.. This programmable phone number maintains an easily accessible store of metadata on each call such as caller ID, timestamp, call duration, and more. This number can also be used to record the call. By only displaying this number on a particular campaign, ad, or impression, you can accurately measure its ability to generate calls.

You can add call tracking to any marketing channel, from print and TV to online directories and search. Depending on the inherent characteristics of the channel, you’ll need to use different number management techniques. For example, you can assign phone numbers to ads on online directories dynamically, while phone numbers have to be assigned to print ads manually prior to ad creation.

Starting with this article, we will explore the basics of call attribution. Then we will take a look at each level in detail:

If you'd like to find out more about attribution for landing pages, check out A Guide to Lead Attribution for Landing Pages on dynamic number insertion (DNI). You'll be able to diver deeper into this type of attribution via the links below: