As you try to nail down the best call tracking solution for your business, you’ll discover that there are platforms that can get you up-and-running with basic call tracking functionality, and there are more advanced solutions that provide features that marketers with big-time media goals require. In other words, there’s a flavor of call tracking for any type of marketer.

When it comes to advanced platforms, comparing features, services, and integrations is even more important. Some things like price or service packages are easy to evaluate and compare. Others — like fraud protection or strength of integrations — can be a bit tougher. And then there are questions that you should be asking that you aren’t aware of yet (since you never know exactly what you’ll need until you get your hands dirty!).

To help you with your vendor selection process, we’ve narrowed all the questions that you could ask to the 10 most important. Let’s do this.

1. How granular is the call attribution analytics?

Things to look for
In order to maximize the usefulness of call data, you’ll need to capture any data from the website (e.g. URL query string parameters, first party cookie values, HTML elements) and attribute this data to the individual visitor, all the way to the phone call. Find out if the call tracking solution can track and capture data to the keyword level for search ads, or ad level for Facebook and display. And then look to see if their integrations with your ideal martech stack support such granular attribution.

Potential pitfalls
Many call tracking solutions only support attribution at the campaign level and are unable to collect/report out data types like search keywords. Some solutions don’t support 1:1 consumer-level attribution, either. You’ll be limited in your ability to optimize your campaigns or build meaningful audience segments if you end up with a solution that can only support high-level attribution.

2. How does the solution track call conversions?

Things to look for
There are a variety of call conversion types that you might want to measure, such as purchases made, appointments set, or quotes given. In order to make the best media optimizations, you need solid closed-loop attribution. So find out how your call tracking solution tracks and associates call conversions to the online activities that preceded them. For instance, you may already be tracking these conversion events and simply want a way to push this data into your call tracking solution through a file upload or API call. Or you might want a solution that can automatically detect conversions for you.

Potential pitfalls
Many call tracking solutions simply count calls and cannot actually track conversions. The value of call counting is not comparable to conversion measurement since only a fraction of inbound calls result in a conversion. Think of it this way: would you be happy optimizing to click-through or would you rather measure and optimize to clicks that resulted in sales?

3. Can the solution accurately and automatically detect call outcomes?

Things to look for
If you’re relying on the call tracking solution to detect conversions for you, accuracy is everything (after all, optimizing to non-converters isn’t helpful). Make sure to find out:

  1. Exactly how the system measures conversions
  2. How open the solution is about providing accuracy rates
  3. If the end user can give the system feedback to improve accuracy

Potential pitfalls
Proxy conversion metrics like call duration or keywords spoken are often inaccurate and should only be used as directional indicators of call quality, conversions. Also, be wary of “black box” algorithms claiming to measure good calls vs. bad calls. If the system isn’t up front about exactly what makes a good call and its predictive accuracy, that’s a red flag.

4. Are the call outcomes detected by the solution specific to my business?

Things to look for
Each business is unique, and the metrics that matter to you are probably unique, too. While out-of-the-box conversion detection often works, your specific call outcomes may look slightly different than another business’. This variation in outcomes results in inaccuracy in conversion detection. If you want to accurately measure conversions, look for a system that can customize call outcomes to your specific needs.  

Potential pitfalls
Be aware of “one size fits all” good call/bad call conversion detection. While this might be a good option in order to get started quickly, you’ll eventually want to measure call conversions unique to your business/campaign/promotion and other call behaviors or call drivers to gain more insight about your customers.    

5. Is the call outcome conversion data actionable?

Things to look for
In order to maximize the usefulness of your call data, you’ll want call conversions reported just like any other digital conversion data: as “true” or “false.” “Did a conversion happen or not?” Or “was it a sales call or not?”

Potential pitfalls
Some systems will report call outcomes in the form of a quality score or other similar metric. If this data cannot be passed into your media or audience management platforms, then the ability to attribute and take action on this data will be severely limited. Nearly all platforms understand “true/false”, but other variable metrics may not be processed without expensive and time-consuming workarounds.

6. Does the solution integrate with my martech stack?

Things to look for
First, look for the standard, out-of-the-box integrations that are important to you like Google Ads, Salesforce, or Adobe Experience Cloud. Ask for customer references to understand how well these integrations are supported. Second, find out how flexible the solution is: can it support custom integrations and can it report both call volumes as well as call conversions?

Potential pitfalls
Without getting overly technical, some solutions aren’t architected to support many different types of integrations. If a specific integration is critical to the success of your call tracking program, make sure it works before signing on the dotted line. Furthermore, ask to speak with existing customers to see how well the desired integration is working for them.

7. What other use cases does it support?

Things to look for
Media optimization is the primary use case that most marketers are looking for when evaluating call tracking vendors. However, many systems can be leveraged for additional use cases like orchestrating the post-call customer journey or personalizing the caller experience to boost conversion rates. If you’re serious about call tracking, chances are that you’ll want to expand your use of the platform as you get more familiar with the data it provides.

Potential pitfalls
Some solutions don’t offer much more than call reporting and attribution. Find out if you can push caller data or audiences into media orchestration platforms like Adobe or other DMPs. Find out if the vendor can integrate with contact center software like Five9 or can help route calls based on pre-call data (like products viewed or shopping cart activity). If not, it will substantially limit how much use you can get out of the platform.

8. Is the solution HIPAA, PCI, or GDPR compliant, and what compromises will I need to make?

Things to look for
If you work in a highly-regulated business like healthcare or banking, understanding how call tracking will affect your compliance must be a priority. Look for companies that support HIPAA for healthcare and PCI DSS for financial services.  

Potential pitfalls
With many call tracking platforms, you need to make compromises in order to maintain compliance. For instance, some platforms that claim HIPAA compliance, but only meet it by turning call transcription and recording off completely. Automatic call redaction (which uses speech recognition to remove sensitive information from call recordings and transcripts) is required to record calls and meet HIPAA standards. Keep in mind that if you turn off transcription, you won’t be able to extract insights or detect call outcomes from the phone conversation.  

9. Will the solution be there when you need it?

Things to look for
Find out about platform uptime and how it’s measured. Are there redundancies in place to ensure your business is never interrupted? What’s the historic uptime for both the web application and call infrastructure?

Potential pitfalls
Two things can go wrong: the web application goes down (Bad! You can’t log in and see your data) or the telecom infrastructure goes down (Really bad! Your calls don’t go through.)

10. How self-service is your platform?

Things to look for
When you change a number on your site or want to adjust how you measure conversions, would you rather do it yourself or email someone and wait for them to do it for you?

Potential pitfalls
Some call tracking solutions offer nice reporting platforms but very little by the way of actual self-service. Depending on your service level, you might be waiting a while for your measurement partner to get set up in order to launch that new campaign, and who wants that?

Of course, there will be other questions specific to your business and use case that you may want to ask, but these 10 questions will get you well along your way in selecting the best call tracking vendor for your organization.

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Ian Dailey

Posted by Ian Dailey

Ian Dailey leads product marketing at Invoca. In this role, Ian brings to market new call intelligence technologies that help modern marketers understand who's calling, what's happening in the conversation, and how they can best leverage these new data to improve ROI. Prior to this role, Ian led product marketing for the Rocket Fuel DSP — a pioneering buy-side programmatic media platform — where he launched a number of solutions including cross-device optimization, hyperlocal mobile targeting, and online-to-offline attribution. Ian holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California.

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