Conversions: Four ways to track phone number calls from your site

There are many ways to track phone number uses on your website. I’ll start with the most accurate and move to the easiest.

Four ways to track website calls:

  1. Third Party Tracking Service
  2. Custom Google Analytics Events
  3. Google Tag Manager
  4. Custom JavaScript

Third Party Tracking

Utilizing a third party will track phone calls most accurately for each visitor and webpage. There are various ways these work, but the basics are that you can either (1) place their phone number on your site or (2) place their JavaScript on your site. For each number they give you, you can choose what phone number you want calls forwarded to. Some will report to Google Analytics, but what they report varies. Some don’t report what page the person was on when they called. Some only report the person’s landing page.

Tip: The only way to track what page people were on when they call, you need to give each concurrent visitor a unique number. To know how many you need to set up, use a custom Google Analytics report that reports the minute ID dimension. I suggest looking at the busiest time of the year to know how many phone numbers you need reserved.

Services:

  • Kall8: An inexpensive service, but no Google Analytics reporting as of the date of this post. They give you a phone number and you can use it anywhere you want. Easy to use system. Full analytics. Includes call recordings. You for
  • DialogTech: Costs aren’t too high. Costs vary, but they charge by each minute of a call. Costs double if you want to record calls. This service is HIPAA compliant if you’re in healthcare.
  • Other: Google Search

Overview:

  • None are free
  • Works for all devices
  • Easy installation
  • Sometimes is a challenging setup
  • Not all report to Google Analytics

Disadvantages:

  1. People who share information about your company elsewhere on the web often will grab this phone number. So, once you start with a service, you’re likely to need to stay with it to avoid losing calls. The other option is to search Google for those phone numbers and try to get the sites to correct them.
  2. Since calls are forwarded, this process adds rings and seconds before your team can answer a call. Normally, you may think two or three rings are okay, but when using these systems, it’ll add seconds where nothing happens or adds rings. Answering calls quickly is very important to avoid additional call drops.

Google Analytics Events

ga('send', 'event', [eventCategory], [eventAction], [eventLabel], [eventValue], [fieldsObject]);

Click events can be used to track any interaction. To track phone number clicks, you need to add the onClick event to HTML tags around a phone number. The largest weakness to this approach is that any clicks/touches on numbers in any other device than smartphones, the interaction is less likely to be about an intent to call. In my experience, though, only about 2% to 4% of phone number events are from laptops.

I add links to phone numbers with href’s that start with “tel:”. I have not tested, but you might get away with adding an onClick to a SPAN or DIV and the phone number will still be linked by a smartphone so that a person can touch on the number and the interaction will still be recorded in Analytics. If you use links around numbers, you have to add a Meta tag that disables the smartphone’s automatic linking. It will often conflict with your link. If you’re also using third party call tracking, their approach often wraps phone numbers with links. They will also conflict. I typically disable their version.

The limit to this approach is that only smartphone touches on phone numbers are trustworthy interactions. On iPads or laptops, any clicks/touches on numbers less likely means their intention to contact you. Often, it’s click happy folks.

 

JavaScript/PHP

I have a second site that gets more technical with this option. The approach still adds Google Analytics click event tracking. But, you can set it up to:

  1. Look for phone number patterns,
  2. Look for a specific phone number, or
  3. Look for an <A HREF> tag.

In all cases, they would then add an onClick event and wrap the phone number in a link if one is not present.

My last tip when creating the “tel:” link, is to be sure to use common phone number patterns and no letters. You can link a phone number with letters with one that doesn’t use them, however.

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