Using Google Analytics to track revenue from phone calls

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It seems few cultural organizations use Google Analytics for much more than tracking website visits, so today I thought I’d show you an example of how you can use GA to track phone calls from your website.

I doubt tracking phone calls will be as important to you as setting up goals for things like membership conversions or ticket sales, but if you were tracking those things the view of Google Analytics would look much the same, just with different values (shared with permission):

Tracking phone calls in Google Analytics

In the screenshot above, I’ve segmented by mobile vs tablet/desktop (blue and orange lines, respectively).

Google Analytics is only tracking clicks to call — it can’t track who calls by dialing in manually. Since almost exactly half their total traffic is on desktop and many PCs won’t let you dial out, there are probably a lot more calls coming in from people reading the number off the site and dialing in manually.

You can also see how we’re tracking calls in terms of revenue. Let me explain that a bit.

Phone calls are important for this client because people call to make appointments, which is how they make money. But people also call for other reasons. Not every call results in a new appointment.

I wanted to be able to take the average value of an appointment (this we know), multiply it by the number of calls during a given period, and then factor in the rough percentage of calls that result in an appointment (this we’re struggling to learn) to calculate the average value of each call from the website.

Since we’re missing a piece of that equation, I created a goal value in Google Analytics that we think is very conservative. That conservative estimate, combined with the fact that we can’t track calls from desktop, means the revenue here is likely far below what’s actually the case.

It would be nice to have a more accurate dollar amount in place, but we didn’t want to let that obstacle keep us from accessing behavioral trends.

The good news is that this lets us see things like where callers are coming from (eg, Google search, social media, direct) and on which page they decide to make the call. The client’s phone number is in the footer of their site as well as several other pages. Being able to see what sources support phone calls and what content (may) influence their decision to call has obvious appeal. Things like this can help make decisions around what content to improve on or experiment with and which channels are more and less effective at driving calls from the site.

The bad news is that the volume is low. You don’t have to have a ton of conversions to optimize a site — a minimum of 500 conversions per month is a good guideline — but the lower the volume the bigger the changes have to be to measure with any accuracy. We aren’t going to be testing button colors here, that’s for sure, but there are other metrics we can improve upon.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of how valuable Google Analytics can be for your communications folks. If you put some effort into configuring GA, you can give your marketing people a way to measure the impact of their work. For a lot of people, that can be a great source of motivation and an opportunity for you to start making more informed decisions in your outreach.

Thanks for reading,

Kyle

PS. If you’d like help with your Google Analytics — from configuring goals to understanding how to access more valuable information through audience segments — hit reply and let me know.

Kyle Bowen