Avatar photo Michael Cooney
Oct 20, 2021
The Ultimate Guide to Call Tracking Software
Top 9 tools rated from 3K+ G2 reviews

    Everybody has opinions about how to run PPC ads, but you can’t know what kind of PPC ads work until you see them work for your business. To find out what’s working, you must track every lead from every PPC ad. PPC call tracking makes that possible.

    The benefit of PPC call tracking is that it allows you to track leads, which is different from tracking clicks, impressions or conversions. A lead is someone interested in your product/service and ready to buy. Clicks, impressions and conversions are actions, not leads.

    There’s a big difference between an anonymous click and a sales-ready lead with contact information.

    WhatConverts reveals which PPC campaigns and keywords deliver leads.

    Sign up here for a free 14-day trial or request a 30-minute live demo.

    In the article below, we’ll explain the following:

    1. How is PPC Call Tracking Different
    2. The Problem with Traditional PPC Metrics
    3. Key Calculations in PPC Advertising
    4. Using Call Tracking to Optimize Ads
    5. The Value of Phone Call Conversions
    6. Using PPC Call Tracking to Improve A/B Tests

    How is PPC call tracking different from traditional PPC analytics?

    The difference has to do with detailed lead data.

    Here’s the kind of data you get with traditional PPC measurement in Google Ads:

    • The number of clicks from each campaign/keyword.
    • The number of conversions from each campaign/keyword

    Here’s the kind of data you get with WhatConverts PPC call tracking:

    • Name and contact information for the lead
    • Conversion action for the lead (call, chat, form-fill)
    • List of web pages the lead visited on your site
    • Transcript of the phone call (or webchat)
    • Form-fill data for forms
    • Ability to mark the lead as qualified (Y/N)
    • Ability to assign quote value

    That level of detailed lead data allows you to learn more about your PPC effectiveness than you would from click data.

    With data like this from WhatConverts, you can tie PPC ad to revenue.


    The problem with traditional PPC metrics

    PPC is effective. Traffic from PPC ads yields 50% more conversions than traffic from organic searches. If you aren’t seeing positive returns from your PPC ads, you just have to dig into the data to find out how to optimize the ads. This takes time, but it’s a good use of time if the effort results in more revenue. Unfortunately, it can also be a waste of time if you’re looking at the wrong metrics.

    The following metrics may skew your PPC data and lead to wasteful spending:

    • Impressions
      • If your ad is getting a lot of impressions, it means you’re showing up in search results. Those impressions won’t deliver any revenue, however, unless you’re also getting leads.
    • Clicks
      • Getting a lot of clicks generally means your ad is performing well, but not everyone who clicks on your ad ends up as a lead.
    • Conversions
      • Many conversions are leads, but not all. Sometimes, solicitors or spammers will call your company or fill out a form after clicking on a Google Ad. Other times, existing customers will reach out for support after seeing a Google Ad. Neither of these actions results in a quotable lead.

    There is one metric that is directly tied to revenue; leads. The problem with traditional PPC tracking through Google Ads is that the data is anonymized. You don’t know who is a lead and who is not. Not all conversions are equal, but Google Ads treats them as such.

    The two key calculations in PPC advertising

    Capturing leads from PPC ads lets you calculate two important numbers;

    • Cost-per-lead (CPL)
    • Return on ad spend (ROAS)

    It’s easy to calculate the cost-per-click for PPC ads, but what does cost-per-click tell you? Can you draw a straight line from clicks to revenue? It’s easier to connect leads to revenue because you know how much a lead is worth to your business.

    Cost Per Lead in PPC

    Let’s start by talking about CPL. If you spent $100 on a PPC campaign and got 10 leads, you have a $10 cost-per-lead. As long as each lead is potentially worth more than $10 in business revenue, you can continue spending or increase spending.

    Return On Ad Spend in PPC

    Now let’s touch on ROAS. If you know that each lead is worth potentially $100 in business revenue, and you’re spending $5,000/month on a PPC ad, you know that you need 50 leads from that ad to hit even on your return-on-ad spend. If you get 75 leads from that $5,000 in ad spend, you’re getting $7,500 in potential revenue from your $5,000 in ad spend, giving you a $2,500 ROAS.

    These useful calculations are only possible when you measure success based on leads, not clicks.

    Total Lead Value by Source in WhatConverts

    Using lead-based PPC call tracking to optimize ads

    Once you’re tracking leads from PPC ads, you can start optimizing. If you’re getting quality leads from Keyword A, you can increase the bids on Keyword A. If you’re getting a lot of clicks on Keyword B but few actual leads, you can reduce the bids on Keyword B or stop bidding altogether.

    Without lead tracking, you risk making decisions on incomplete information. 

    For example, relying on clicks to indicate success can lead you down the wrong path. Certain keywords may only appear to be effective because they’re getting a lot of clicks. If those clicks aren’t turning into leads, however, those keywords aren’t driving any revenue. Keyword B might get more clicks than Keyword A but fewer quotable leads. You’d be wrong to increase spending on Keyword B at the expense of Keyword A.

    You should only increase bids if you’re seeing actual leads come in from a keyword. Cross-checking Google Ads click numbers with your lead tracking tool can tell you if certain keywords are worth targeting. Then you can create reports like this in WhatConverts that reveal which ads drive quotable leads.

    ppc call tracking

    The value of phone call conversions

    For some companies, leads that come in via phone call are more valuable than leads from form-fills or web chats. It takes effort for a potential customer to place a phone call, which is why phone call leads turn into sales 10x more often than form-fill or chat leads.

    WhatConverts PPC call tracking can capture leads from every type of conversion action, then sort leads by the conversion action. The Leads by Keyword report below shows which keywords are driving phone call leads vs other types of conversions.

    ppc call tracking tools


    Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) can help you optimize PPC ads to drive phone call conversions. DNI swaps out your business phone number with a tracking number, allowing WhatConverts to tie marketing data to the individual making the call.

    In your WhatConverts dashboard, you’ll see which keyword, campaign and ad brought prompted the lead to call your business. Keyword-level call tracking ties phone calls to marketing efforts, revealing how certain channels drive valuable phone call leads.

    call tracking

    Using PPC call tracking to improve A/B testing

    The key to A/B testing PPC ads is knowing which ad variations drive more revenue. You’re not interested in which ads drive clicks; you want to know which ads impact your bottom line. To determine the winner of the A/B test, you’ll need to capture every lead from each ad and see which ones are worth your time.

    You wouldn’t trust the results of a survey that had incomplete data, so why make important marketing decisions without knowing the full story? Lead data tells the full story in a way that click data cannot.

    Not only does WhatConverts give you detailed lead data, but it provides it in easy-to-read reports that show exactly which ads generate more quotable leads.

    Sign up here for a free 14-day WhatConverts trial. You can also request a 30-minute live demo, where we’ll answer your questions and show you the best ways to report on conversions.
    Read WhatConverts reviews on G2

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    Michael Cooney

    Michael Cooney is a co-founder of WhatConverts. Connect with him on Twitter or via email at michael.cooney@whatconverts.com.

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