3 Ways to track phone calls generated via Google Properties

Often when we track results via digital marketing, we tend to track website traffic along with goals (transactions or leads generated). One element we have seen many bushinesses miss out on is tracking how many phone calls were generated via the online medium. If you do not track and calculate the calls generated, it is a significant number of leads that are missed out or rather not counted into the digital metrics.

The power of pushing a phone number on your landing page, social page, or website is dynamic. Depending on the nature of the business and the product/service type, placing a phone number makes it easier for a customer to engage with your business. Call tracking via Google Analytics, Google AdWords & Google Plus allows you to monitor which visitors from your website, social ads, and other digital promotions who have conversed with you via phone. While the three methods do not encompass or track all calls but its a huge step from not tracking the calls.

So lets look at each of these tracking methods in a bit more detail. Once you have implemented all these three methods, you can add these numbers to your existing results metrics to understand the true impact of your digital marketing efforts.

On Google Analytics
When users click your phone number (on a mobile device) to call your business, Google Analytics is able to track these via what they call “Event Tracking“. Events in this scenario could mean phone calls or even downloads, video plays etc. Configuring the Google Analytics event tracking code while easy, requires some technical know how. So do involve your technology or web team to help you get this done. This google analytics event tracking code is used to record a user’s interaction with the website elements and in this use case we tracking the number of people who clicked on the phone number to call the business.

Example:

Call Track

Specifications to call the _trackEvent() method in the UI element of a page:

Capture - Code

  1. category (mandatory field) – The common name given for the phone numbers you want to track.
  1. action (mandatory field) – A string that is uniquely paired with each category, to define the type of user interaction for the web object.
  1. label (optional field) – An optional string to provide additional dimensions to the event data.
  1. value (optional field) – An integer that you can use to provide numerical data about the user event.
  1. non-interaction (optional field) – A boolean that when set to true, indicates that the event hit will not be used in bounce-rate calculation.

As a result, all user activity on the on-site contact numbers provided is calculated and displayed as Events in Google Analytics (under the Behaviour tab)

Events

On Google AdWords
Customers can call your business after clicking on a Google ad and learning about the products and services that you offer on your website. The AdWords click-to-call ads help you connect with these customers. These ads encourage calls to your business by showing the phone number on the ad. On smartphones and other high-end mobile devices, these phone numbers are often clickable and cost the same as a standard CPC would demand.

click to call ads

Click-to-call ads also help you to gain insights about the calls. These stats help you understand which keywords and ads are driving the most phone calls, which results in the optimization of these ads to make the graphs better. To activate these you will need to go to the Ad Extensions Tab.

On Google+
Google+ provides the easiest steps towards gauging the call metrics. One has to simply make sure that his/her business page furnishes all contact coordinates clearly. Furnishing all information makes your contacts visible in the search engine, where customers are given the power to call your business by a single touch of the button.

Acharya - G+

The metrics towards these calls can be viewed in the ‘Insight’ tab of you the business’s Google+ page.

Google Calls

Learn more about Event Tracking – Web tracking & click-to-call ads to unlock the potential of your landing page or website, to monitor the amount of audience who convert through calls.

Social Media Trends from Ernst & Young: What has changed in 2014?

India is a significant market for social media giants. We have 100m+ users on Facebook and over 33 million users on Twitter. Mobile web penetration has also been one of the main contributors in the active social media usage. Almost 84% of the 100 million users on Facebook access it through their mobile phones. Keeping all of the above mentioned facts in consideration, it is fair to conclude that the reach on social media is exponentially huge and for brands to tap on this opportunity would result in a vital growth for their businesses

Ernst & Young have released the second edition of the Social Media Marketing Trends in India. They collated data based on the insights shared by top brands in India that are social-media savvy. The previous Ernst & Young study was centered on how brands explored social media to build communities online & sustain engagement. This time, the key focus was on understanding how far have the brands come in the digital space and also the social media maturity levels with respect to the processes and policies, technology and governance across organizations in India.

Let’s have a look at what has changed since 2013!
Graph2
(Image Courtesy – Ernst & Young)

  1. Reputation Management, Thought Leadership & Recruitment have been added to the objectives to achieve alongside community building & brand engagement on social media.
  2. Facebook continues to be the predominant social media platform for engagement. Google+ and LinkedIn evolved as social media platforms to reach out to professionals across the country (highly relevant for B2B industries). Apart from these two platforms, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest have also emerged as highly engaging & crucial platforms to spawn conversations with the TG.
  3. Brands have become observant of the frequency of updates on social media channels & response time from the audiences. Most of the top social media savvy brands in India engage with their fans once a day through multiple platforms. The point worth noting here is that the average response time is 1-5 hours per engagement.
  4. The study indicates that with the popularity and expanding reach of social media, around 90 per cent of Indian brands plan on dedicating 15% of their annual marketing spends to social media.
  5. The top 3 challenges have been narrowed down to not being able to successfully measure effectiveness of social media engagements, and creating/curating content & sustaining or increasing engagement rates.

Graph3   (Image Courtesy – Ernst & Young)

The study also highlighted that brands across various industries have realized the implication of tapping on social media channels and understood its peculiar demands.

How do brands in India function digitally?

  1. Most of the Indian brands have their social media strategy & content aligned to meet their business goals. However, there are brands that have their social media strategy in place but do not have it linked to any specific goal.
  2. Many companies have an internal team dedicated for curating social media content & strategy whereas there are few which outsource them from agencies. Mostly Indian brands work on a hybrid model where the internal core team is supplemented by social media agencies & consultants. However, when it comes to the execution part of a social media campaign/strategy the brands turn to social media agencies which run the campaign online.
  3. Market trends and Customer Insights are the key drivers for the brands to formulate their strategies for social media.
  4. Brands are looking at a 360 degree marketing approach and are including social media as a key channel for deploying campaigns along with traditional channels.
  5. Mobile app development is an area that is being explored aggressively since it adds another advertising medium in the bag. Considering that a lot of users access social media channels through their smartphones & tablets, mobile advertising will emerge as a crucial channel for marketing.

How do brands measure success on social media?

  1.  Engagement level, traffic growth rate & social media reach will be the main metrics to measure the success of social media campaigns deployed by the brands.
  2. It is important for brands to tie their social media efforts with their business goals and these goals are measured by the conversions, leads, ROI & sales.
  3. Radian6 and Meltwater emerged as the most popular tools to measure the brand sentiment.
  4. Most of the brands focus on listening to the customers instead of bombarding them with information. And this resulted in companies paying more attention to what their customers had to say about their brand.
  5. Understanding customer perception of the brands, effective monitoring of the brand sentiment, efficient handling of customer queries and better customer insights are some of the benefits that the brands have secured by integrating social media marketing with social listening.

What’s the next big thing?

The study also states that Social CRM, Social Commerce & Gamification will be the future for the brands to explore and harness their growth on.

The full Ernst & Young report on Social Media Marketing Trends in India can be found here.

 

Why every brand should be on Google Plus

A large number of people still consider Google+ to be a ghost town, sparsely inhabited and sans activity – not worth investing time and effort to create and maintain a presence on. If you’re one of them, it’s time to give this thought some serious reconsideration.

In less than three years of its existence since its launch in the second half of 2011, Google+ has shown tremendous growth with the total number of registered users recently crossing the 1 billion mark and the number of active monthly users crossing 540 million. To gauge the growth in activity – 1.5 billion photos are uploaded every week and +1 is clicked more than 5 billion times a day. If these massive numbers are not reason enough for you to include G+ as part of your social media strategy, here are seven strong reasons why you must begin using Google+ as a business marketing tool.

 

1. It’s a Google product:

No other social network has the kind of web assets leverage that Google has. Think about it. Apart from being the world’s most used search network, Google owns one of the most popular browsers in Chrome, one of the most-used mobile Operating systems in Android, the largest video sharing website in YouTube, the world’s largest email service in Gmail, one of the most popular photo-editing platforms in Picasa, a versatile cloud-storage application in Google Drive and the most popular mapping service application in Google Maps. Google is the leader of the online world and is already using all its might to ensure Google+ gains popularity and acceptance. Apart from this, the use of Google+ also provides seamless integration with all other Google services.

 

Google+ your business Google+ your business

 

2. Higher Search Rankings:

The boost to SEO is one of the biggest benefits of Google+. Almost all SEO experts will tell you that content on Google+ is indexed faster than other content across the web and any links on G+ positively impact SEO results. This is because unlike most other social platforms like Twitter, where all links are placed with a no follow tag, Google+ links are follow links and G+ pages are treated as web pages. This increases website visibility and accumulates Page Rank and thereby, by actively participating on Google+, you are increasing the visibility of your brand.

A recent scientific correlation Study by Moz to discover the qualities of web pages that have a strong association with ranking high in Google, shows that Google+ posts have multiple SEO benefits unlike other social platforms. The study also found a strong correlation between Google +1s  and higher search rankings, clearly indicating that sharing content on Google + has the potential to influence search rankings in many ways.

3. Enhanced search results:

When a user searches for your Google+ optimized business online, the results show the most recent G+ post, the number of followers, profile name and image, any +1 recommendations from friends and Google map directions to the business. And, if the person searching is already following your business on G+, the brands content appears even more prominently in the search results.

 

Recent Google+ posts in Search results Recent Google+ posts in Search results

 

Apart from the right hand space on the Search results page, where Google+ information currently shows up, Google is also experimenting with including recent posts, most relevant to the search query keyed in, in the Search results space itself. The example below shows a relevant Google+ post of a play school, displaying in the results for the Search query “play school in Velachery”.

 

Enhanced Search results with Google+ Enhanced Search results with Google+

 

4. Google+ Authorship:

Google Authorship includes the author’s photo and byline with the search snippet on search results pages. It is activated by linking the author’s Google+ profile to the website he is a contributor to, through an email address on that domain. Including the author’s credentials lends reliability and trustworthiness to the content and enhances ranking on Search Engine Results Pages(SERPs) while also improving click-through-rates, thereby increasing the reach of your content and traffic to your site.

 

Google+ Authorship Google+ Authorship

 

5. Unfiltered Updates:

Unlike Facebook, which constantly tweaks its Edgerank algorithm to decide which of your updates will be seen by your fans, updates on Google+ are currently unfiltered and chances of your updates reaching your fan-base are higher on Google+ than Facebook. Also, unlike Facebook, whose primary source of revenue is Ads, Google’s primary source of revenue comes from search advertising and it presently does not need to force users to pay to gain visibility on Google+.

6. Google+ Ads:

The above does not mean that Google will never attempt to monetize Google+ through ads. Google is already testing paid +Post ads for Google+ content and apart from Google’s experience with Adwords expected to make the Ads a great product, the possible game changer would be access to the whole of the Google Display Network through Google+ Ads.

7. Google+ Hangouts:

Hangouts are probably the best and most important feature of Google+. Think of it as a free webinar tool where you can include upto 9 participants and automatically broadcast live to your Google+ page as well as your YouTube Channel. Hangouts are an excellent means of communicating with clients and potential clients to educate them about a product/service and share ideas and case studies.

The world’s second largest social network is here to stay. So, get on it, establish your presence and learn how you can use it effectively to grow your brand. The proverbial early bird always gets the worm and being early to Google’s party is sure to have its benefits in the long-term.

Key Takeaways from the GDayX Chennai Conclave

Anuradha Nair and Sunil Elango from Social Beat attended the GDayX event organized by Google Business Group – Chennai last month. The event which was held in Hindustan University, Padur included inspiring sessions, business presentations, a panel discussion and an unconference on latest trends in digital marketing and internet technologies from various speakers including Sunil Rao, the country head of Google Outreach programs. The conclave had a good mix of entrepreneurs, social media experts, SEO professionals and web developers. Below is a partial list of key takeaways from the day-long conclave.

Google-GdayX-Chennai GDayX Logo

  • Google Web Academy: The most important announcement from Google was the launch of Web Academy for Small Businesses for India. The academy currently has five modules on Communicate across Platforms, List Your Business Online, Survey Your Customers, Create and Share your Newsletter and Meet Virtually for Business. “In the next 6 months, 25 – 30 modules will be added to the academy,” said Sunil Rao.
  • Make your site crawlable: Search engines use some programs called “crawlers” to index web pages. If the search engine can crawl through the entire content of your website without any difficulties, it means your website is crawlable.
  • Images & Flash: If your web page is loaded with images, ensure that you use the alt text attribute and title in HTML. Avoid designing your website with flash content. It makes it difficult for the Google bots to index your website.
  • Google Plus Authorship and Rich Snippets: Applying for Google Authorship is the best way to gain credibility to the content you create/write. Once your authorship is approved, the author’s name and the profile picture start to appear in search results. Rich Snippets are nothing but displaying author’s name and the byline in search results. So, authorship adds certain value to your content and of course, the search results.
  • Fresh and Unique Content: Create unique contents in order to gain good visibility in search results. Invest more time in content creation than chasing the SEO trends.

GDayX Chennai Event Hindustan University Auditorium – GDayX Conclave

  • Use Resources Effectively: Regular updates on SEO trends and tutorials on various topics are available at Webmaster Central Blog and the Support websites of Google. Glance through the sites and update your knowledge on the recent trends and optimize your business results.
  • Site Speed: It is one of the important ranking factors that Google pays attentions to. Site speed is crucial since a slower site speed means a bad user experience and ultimately belittles the customer satisfaction. So, pay heed to the site speed of your website.
  • Responsiveness and UI: Creating unique content is not sufficient to achieve your goals. It needs to be recognized and shared across the web to yield satisfying results. Websites which are more responsive allow users to look for contents on your page. If you want your content to be shared broadly, making a user-friendly website is a prerequisite.
  • Google Plus Integration: The integration of Google Plus with search results was not unexpected. But it culminated three months back when Google announced hashtag search options. To cut the long story short, when you search for a keyword with the # symbol, you are expected to see Google Plus posts related to the keyword on search results. Get on Google Plus and build your community if you already haven’t.
  • Keywords under “Not Provided”: The number of keywords listed under “Not Provided” is increasing day by day in Google Analytics. It makes it difficult to identify the keywords which are helping organically.  Running Adwords campaign seems to be only solution, at least for now.