By John Thyfault, Vice President of Search Engine and Social Media Marketing, Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising through Google and Bing is one of the strongest direct response mediums available today. Often though, a higher touch and more personal approach via a telephone conversation is needed to complete the sale for higher priced, complex sale products. This is the case for a recent regional mortgage lending client, who saw a much higher historical conversion from telephone lead-to-loan applications than from web form-to-loan applications–and they wished to take advantage of this and drive more telephone leads via PPC. Driving these calls through PPC is a great way to increase your call volume, but it can be challenging to attribute the right call to the right campaign or ad group if you are using a third-party call tracking system. Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. has dealt with this on several occasions and has developed a good approach to maximize our client’s return on ad spend for inbound calls.

Call Conversion Tracking - Connecting Offline Telephone Leads to PPC Leads Traffic


In this particular case, our client used a third-party call tracking package that reported weekly calls results via a spreadsheet. The client was using Google Analytics to track their AdWords. The AdWords call extensions were turned on, however it not was not counting completed calls as conversions. Because of this, there were no bidding rules set up to maximize call volume.

Our Solution:

We were able to provide a much tighter, more integrated attribution model for this client through the following steps:

1- We implemented use of AdWords’ native call tracking to count the phone calls as conversions and share the data with Google Analytics. AdWords offers a few different options for call tracking. The most powerful one involves using AdWords’ forwarding numbers for each call to capture the broadest amount of data from the call. It will give you the time, date, area code and length for each call. Be sure to set a minimum length of the call before it can be counted as a true conversion. In this case, we selected 90 seconds based on call history supplied by the client.

2- At this point, the client did have that call effectiveness tied to each campaign, ad group, ad and keyword. A decision had to be made if we were going to use AdWords’ automated bid strategies, such as “Enhanced CPC” or “Target ROAS” or if a third-party tool was going to brought in for a more robust solution. Marin Software Pro Edition was selected as the bid management tool at this point. Marin offers a great combination of bidding rules and tracking. Marin can import conversion data from Google Analytics seamlessly and allowed for the best results for the client.

3- As the call conversion data was imported, the client was able to improve the call conversion rate by 15%, drop the cost per call lead by 20% and optimize campaigns to meet the monthly lead volume goals.

4- The next step was to look at the final results of which calls were most likely to move from a lead to a loan application. Optimizing the campaigns for this aspect required a more manual analysis of the existing call tracking software reporting for conversion to a loan application, and comparing the date/time info with the AdWords results on a call-by-call basis. This led to an improved understanding of which ad copy and keyword combination drove the best quality phone calls. Over time, trends were identified that showed areas where the client could split campaigns into call only and onsite form only campaigns for more effectiveness.

By going through a deep review of the client’s offer, their customer profile and historical performance, we could blend diverse data streams and deliver improved performance to the bottom line. A little creativity and willingness to look for solutions across different tracking platforms such as AdWords native, Google Analytics and Marin Software allowed for an understanding of the full picture and achieving the best performance for the client’s ad dollars.

About the Author

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John Thyfault, Vice President of Search & Social Strategy

John Thyfault

This post was authored by John Thyfault, Vice President of Search & Social Strategy, Beasley Direct & Online Marketing.

John Thyfault (Contact John at John has more than 19 years of marketing, sales and product development experience. He brings a proven track record of successful campaign, program and product development expertise. His knowledge of search engine optimization and marketing, combined with an in-depth understanding of customer identification, market analysis and segmentation, allows him to deliver high returns on our client’s marketing investment for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business markets.

Prior to working with Beasley Direct, John was Senior Client Services Project Director at, a first wave baby boomer lifestyle and community website. At ThirdAge he successfully led major client sponsorships for Fortune 100 companies in healthcare (Tylenol), financial services (American Century), technology (Intel & IBM) and consumer products areas (Revlon & Viactive). He was responsible for strategic and tactical goal setting, project management, new product creation and web site production. John previously worked in Channel Marketing and National Account Sales for IDG Books Worldwide, the publishers of the immensely popular “…For Dummies” book series. Additionally, he managed the wholesale distributor sales channel for Tor/Forge Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.

Direct Marketing Association

John is active in local marketing associations. Including the Direct Marketing Association, the Business Marketing Association and is currently serving on the board of directors for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association.

John has taught search engine marketing fundamentals extensively. He has led workshops for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association, Northern California Direct Marketing Association and the Business Marketing Association. He also teaches Search Engine Marketing at UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley.

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