Phone call tracking in Google Analytics (with Freespee)

Last updated on Jul 25, 2015

Every business that displays telephone numbers on its website should track the calls that are generated through this channel. Phone calls are an important part of the customer journey and in many cases lead to an immediate conversion. If you want to make good data-driven marketing budget decisions in the future, you cannot ignore inbound calls.

There are many ways of tracking phone calls and there are many providers of the technology needed. In my opinion, website call tracking only really makes sense if you are able to integrate the data with your web analytics data. My favourite web analytics tool is Google Analytics and a great phone tracking provider for sending your inbound call data to Google Analytics is Freespee. So today I will show you what you can do when you use Freespee to track inbound phone calls in Google Analytics.

How does website call tracking work?

The setup of the call tracking is fairly easy. First, you need to make sure that all phone numbers you display on your website are normal HTML text and not included in image files. The reason for this is that your phone tracking provider will have to dynamically replace your phone numbers with a set of phone numbers that allows them to link each phone call to a user on the website.

This dynamic replacement is achieved via a code snippet that you have to place on your website, similar to the Google Analytics tracking code. If you are using the Google Tag Manager (which you should), then the implementation of the phone tracking code can be done in less than one minute.

With Freespee, depending on the version you select, the dynamic numbers are generated following different logics. A special dynamic phone number is either displayed based on the online marketing channel the user came through (Organic Search, AdWords, Referral, etc.), or every visitor sees an individual phone number every time he visits your website (if you choose the version of Freespee with full Google Analytics integration). You will learn more about the different versions later in this article.

The dynamic phone numbers will have your local city code (available in most places) and will redirect the caller straight to the number that was originally displayed on your website. This can be your company’s hotline, your switchboard, or the extension of a certain individual in your business.

In the background, Freespee collects the data associated with the phone call and displays it in the Freespee user interface. But, and that’s the most interesting part here, Freespee can also send this call data to Google Analytics in almost-real-time. Let’s have a closer look at how this works and at the great things you can do with this data.


Sending call data to Google Analytics – The basic variant

In the most basic version of Freespee, the Analytics integration consists in sending an event to Google Analytics every time one of the dynamic numbers on your website is called. The event contains information about whether the call was answered or missed in the Google Analaytics dimension “Event label”. In “Event action”, the traffic sources of the calls are determined. Freespee is able to detect traffic sources like “Google SEM” (including the keyword) and “Google SEO” automatically. Other sources can be defined manually in the Freespee interface.

This basic integration of Freespee with Google Analytics is interesting for businesses with small budgets that are running paid traffic campaigns on different channels and want to compare the performance across their campaigns. It does not allow for a very sophisticated data analysis, but it is a very important first step for businesses towards a better understanding of how their potential clients interact with them.

Businesses that want to take their inbound call tracking a step further, that see phone calls as an essential part of the customer journey, and that want to treat the data associated with phone calls accordingly, should opt for the full integration of Freespee phone call data with Google Analytics.

Full integration of inbound call data into Google Analytics

For the full integration of phone tracking data in Google Analytics, you will have to select the version of Freespee where every user sees an individual dynamic phone number every time he visits your website. This way, every phone call can be linked to a certain session. When a user calls your business through your website, Freespee extracts the user’s Google Analytics client ID and passes it back to Google Analytics along with the call event it sends.

The fact that the client ID is extracted and sent back allows Google Analytics to analyse calls in the same way as every other interaction of the user on your website, such as page views, downloads, transactions, filled out forms, and so on. The phone call is treated like a normal part of the user’s session, just like a PDF download or a video view that you track with event tracking. You will be able to:

  • See which page a user was on when he called you (e.g. a certain service or product).
  • Create segments or remarketing lists with all users or only certain users that called you (e.g. about a certain service or product).
  • Analyse the post-call conversion rate: How many of your visitors buy after they call?
  • Measure the impact of calls on the customer journey from a multi channel perspective.
  • Take a first step towards measuring the real ROI of your B2B website.
  • …and so much more!

Integrating inbound call tracking data into your web analytics data will help you understand the way your potential customers interact with you a lot better. You will be able to make better marketing budget decisions in the future and optimise your website and support according to your customers’ needs. And the best part about it is that collecting and analysing the data is pure fun!

Note that this integration will only work with Universal Analytics, because the call data is sent to Google Analytics via the Measurement Protocol, so you should make sure you’ve updated your property before you even think about testing the full integration of Freespee with Google Analytics.

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