Part 4: How to Use Dynamic Number Insertion to Track Sessions

Understand how to track and analyze individual user behavior in this final article of the four part series on lead attribution.

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Part 4: How to Use Dynamic Number Insertion to Track Sessions

There’s a difference between people, and a person.

Although it might seem like semantics, understanding the behavior of the masses doesn’t necessarily contribute to your understanding of individuals. That discrepancy can be the difference between a good campaign, and a great campaign. Of course, campaign-level and keyword-level attribution are extremely important, but session-level attribution is the key to tying a visitor’s actions to offline experiences like phone conversations.

What Can You Do with Session-Level Attribution?

Session Level Attribution

Programmable phone numbers are used as online ID tags to associate phone calls to the visitor activity on a landing page. As we saw in the previous articles on campaign and keyword-level attribution, a unique phone number was assigned to each campaign or keyword. With session-level attribution, a unique number can be assigned to each visitor.

Let’s illustrate session-level attribution’s functionality with the same example we’ve been using throughout this article series:

OK Pest Control wants to tie each online session to a phone number to be able to track every visit that leads to a phone call. For example, a visitor’s journey might start with a paid ad which has a referral link that redirects to OK Pest Control’s landing page. There, the visitor finds a phone number that can be traced back to the ad. Understanding the visitor’s entire journey allows SmartMarketing to optimize their landing pages for generating phone calls and thus pass on more leads to OK Pest Control.

The Phone Number Strategy for Session-Level Attribution

The easiest way for SmartMarketing to understand the journey from first touch to final transaction is to assign a phone number to each active session. However, since there may be millions of sessions on their landing page over time, assigning a unique phone number to each session is neither scalable nor cost-effective. One way to overcome this challenge would be to allocate a phone number only to visitors who are actively visualizing a web page (also known as a client). However, this might negatively impact user experience as returning users might not see the same phone number.

So SmartMarketing decides to allocate a phone number only to the sessions that are actually active.

The first step of their phone number strategy is to understand how many visitors are visualizing OK Pest Control’s landing page at any given time. There are many tools that help you extract that data; even Google Analytics (GA) provides hourly unique visitors for your landing page (visitors in GA = sessions active). Knowing this data, SmartMarketing can make a good estimate of the maximum volume of phone numbers needed.

Using a technique called dynamic number insertion (DNI), they’ll take the following steps:

  1. Since SmartMarketing already has a pool of programmable phone numbers ready to be used, they can begin the number allocation process as soon as a visitor arrives on the landing page.
  2. With each new session, the number would be dynamically allocated from the number pool.
  3. If there are no more numbers remaining in the number pool, numbers can be purchased on the fly using the incoming phone numbers API.

To minimize the volume of phone numbers in their pool, if the session represents a returning visitor, SmartMarketing can check to see if the number previously allocated to that visitor is still available. This will improve the user experience.

To keep a phone number allocated until a session expires, SmartMarketing can give the number a predefined expiry timestamp. For example, if SmartMarketing has defined the expiry to be 30 days, the number will be left allocated to the same session to track the online activity and associate it with any phone calls for 30 days. After the expiry in 30 days, the number is released back into the number pool for reassignment to another visitor.

Final Thoughts

Session-level might seem extremely granular, but it’s crucial for understanding consumer behavior and ultimately creating higher ROI for your marketing efforts.

With Twilio voice APIs, you can track every single aspect of the phone call to get a complete picture of your lead interactions, and ultimately improve conversions. You can also use the online and offline data to get even more focused with your retargeting efforts.

Want to learn how to make the most of your marketing dollars through attribution? Check out part two of this article series on campaign-level attribution and part three on keyword-level attribution.