Sponsored Content: Invoca – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Sat, 28 Aug 2021 00:14:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 How to create a seamless cross-channel customer journey with call tracking /how-to-create-a-seamless-cross-channel-customer-journey-with-call-tracking-325776 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 12:30:48 +0000 /?p=325776 When consumers jump from online to the phone, it can be a frustrating experience. But it doesn’t have to be.

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Have you ever started the purchase process online for a complex product like a mortgage or healthcare then had to call the company to get questions answered?

Usually, it goes like this: Fill out forms online then get stuck. Call, then repeat everything you put in the forms. Get transferred, repeat everything again. Find out you got transferred to the wrong rep, throw your phone across the room, pour a glass of wine and buy something nice for yourself on Etsy instead of doing grown-up things. 

While it may seem this like this is done to intentionally torment you, the cause is usually an inability to pass data from online to offline realms. Here’s how you can create a seamless online-to-offline experience for your customers. 

How call tracking platforms can help

Buying journeys are increasingly digital, but over-rotating to online self-service can be a major source of frustration for consumers who need help sorting out a complicated purchase. Many times, they are going to want to pick up the phone to talk to a person.

In fact, Invoca research conducted by the Harris Poll found that in considered purchase categories like healthcare and home improvement services, over a quarter of consumers prefer to complete transactions over the phone. 

The danger comes when you play bury-the-phone-number to force people into a digital-only transaction — when a company only has automated communications and no option for human interaction, more than half of consumers (52%) feel frustrated and nearly one in five actually (18%) feel angry. That’s probably not the experience you are looking for. 

When companies do encourage consumers shopping or researching online to call, they can run into different issues and new ways to frustrate them. When a customer goes from clicking your ad, hitting your website, to calling your business, that often creates a data gap with two primary effects:

  1. The call center has no context for the call, making it more difficult to provide exceptional service.
  2. Marketing loses track of the transaction and has no data to optimize the customer journey. 

This is where you need a call tracking and conversation analytics platform to bridge the gap. It’s a critical piece of the martech stack for any company that makes sales, sets appointments, or gives quotes over the phone. Call tracking and conversation analytics platforms can not only analyze what’s happening on the phone to classify calls and identify conversions, but they also track the digital journey that leads up to a call so marketers can get both attribution data and customer journey insights that allow them to optimize cross-channel buying experiences.

Here are just a few ways you can use call tracking platforms to create a seamless cross-channel customer journey.

Route calls to the right place the first time

If a potential customer finds your company online and they are calling to make a purchase, you don’t want to route the call to a customer service rep. This not only wastes the customer’s time, but it also burns up valuable call center resources getting them to the right place. You can improve call conversion rates and ensure the best possible experience by getting your callers to the right destination quickly.

There are three common methods of routing calls with a call tracking platform that can help accomplish this. You may end up using one or all of these, depending on your level of routing sophistication and customer needs. 

Routing with call treatments

Call treatments are one of the simplest methods of call routing and it can be accomplished with a call tracking platform or in your telephony system. You can route by asking a caller to respond to a question using key presses, usually something like, ‘for sales, press one. For customer support, press two’. 

Location-based routing

If your business has multiple locations, you can also route calls based on the location of the caller. This can be accomplished via the callers’ area code using your telephony tools, but this poses a risk of improper routing since people frequently keep out-of-area phone mobile numbers long after they have moved.

Using a call tracking platform, however, you can present each caller with a unique local number (based on their IP address, not their phone’s area code) on your website or search results to make sure they get to the right location. Some call tracking platforms can even use tag-based tools that will automatically identify and replace all of your phone numbers on a given web page so you don’t have to do it manually. While online users are all presented with unique phone numbers for tracking purposes, they are still routed to your desired existing phone numbers. 

Route calls with combined data sources

The most advanced flavor of call routing uses a combination of digital data captured by a call tracking platform, third-party demographic data, and/or your own first-party data that lives in your CRM or other internal sources. Invoca’s call tracking platform accomplishes this through three features in the platform called custom data, enhanced caller profiles, and lookup tables.

Custom data is the umbrella name for any data captured by Invoca that fall outside of standard UTM parameters or required integration IDs. Custom data fields are customizable to your business and typically include information like customer IDs, product SKUs, and shopping cart cookies.

Enhanced caller profile data is third-party demographic data matched to the caller. Examples of this include age, home location, and homeowner status. Lookup tables enable you to upload first-party offline data using a match-value captured by an Invoca custom data field. By tapping into these rich sets of data, you can dynamically route callers to the best destination, eliminating call transfers and key presses often associated with calls to businesses.

Unify your online and offline data sources

To avoid data gaps that can cause a fragmented buying journey, you need to unify your online and offline data sources. Easier said than done, right? This isn’t always a simple task, but call tracking platforms that are integrated with other data sources and martech platforms can help you accomplish this. 

Call tracking platforms enable marketers to tie consumers’ digital journey data to phone calls using online data collection and trackable phone numbers. By unifying this information in the platform, you can analyze digital and call data in one place. Many marketers who use call tracking also use integrations with their analytics platforms like Google Analytics and Adobe Experience Cloud to analyze, unify, and take action on data in one place.

Using the Invoca platform as an example, here’s how the data is captured and what it means for you. In the call report, you can see all of your inbound calls and call volume trends at a glance. Clicking on a specific call brings up the call details where you can see a unified view of all digital and offline data associated with that individual call. You’ll see information about the call itself like key presses in the IVR system, call duration, and the full recording of the call. This data is valuable to help segment your calls, such as sales versus support calls, and to understand your standard call metrics.

You’ll also get detailed information specific to each caller like their name, caller ID, and demographic information such as age and home address. You will also get customer journey data like ad exposure and webpage visitation. You can think of this as cookie or campaign data. For example, you can see exactly which paid search campaign and keyword led to a call. By tying the digital campaigns to the offline call action, you can now understand which campaigns are driving valuable phone calls. 

Lastly, Invoca is able to analyze conversations and identify call outcomes in real time. Outcomes could include actions such as submitting an application or purchasing a product. 

By using a call tracking platform to route your calls and unify online and offline into rich call profiles, you can get actionable insights to help you make more informed marketing decisions that can help create a friction-free multi-channel buying experience. 

Learn more ways to create a seamless cross-channel customer journey in the Call Tracking Study Guide for Marketers.

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Make your remarketing more effective and less annoying with call tracking data /make-your-remarketing-more-effective-and-less-annoying-with-call-tracking-data-324760 Wed, 13 Nov 2019 12:30:49 +0000 /?p=324760 If your customers frequently purchase on the phone, you might be sitting on a goldmine of remarketing data.

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It’s estimated that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. That’s a whole lot of opportunities to acquire new customers, and just as likely, annoy the everloving snot out of thousands of others. When you use remarketing to stay top-of-mind with customers, you’re walking a fine line between drawing in potential customers and infuriating your audience. Remarketing can and does work, but only if you can put customer experience above short-term vanity KPIs. Here’s how to do it and how to make the customer’s experience better using call tracking data.

Remarketing, retargeting, and why people hate it

What’s the difference between retargeting and remarketing? Remarketing is your overall strategy of reconnecting with customers and prospects after they have interacted with your brand. This could be a combination of email, paid digital media, direct mail and more. Retargeting refers to the cookie-based ads used to remarket to people after they have left your site on other sites as part of an ad network, such as Google Display Network ads. 

Your typical non-marketer consumer may not know these terms or the inner workings of remarketing. They just know them as ads that seem to follow them everywhere they go after visiting your website, and they have some good reasons to hate them. 

Ads are out of context

Have you ever been shopping for some kind of martech product and then get retargeting ads for it on your favorite hockey blog? If you’re a marketer, you probably just sigh and nod your head in shame that someone’s doing it wrong. Displaying ads out of context is one of the big reasons why consumers feel like they’re being “followed” by you. It sticks out like a sore thumb because it’s just the wrong place and the wrong time. However, if you can contextualize your remarketing, the ads will seem natural and do what they’re supposed to do — keep your brand top-of-mind. When you see ads for the hockey gear you’ve been shopping for on the hockey blog and email automation on marketing industry websites, you nod your head in approval and think “YEAH, these folks know what they’re doing!” Then you buy that 12-pack of pucks and call back that martech SDR who has been hounding you for the last six weeks. Mission accomplished! 

Your ads are absofreakinlutely everywhere, forever

The more times someone sees your ad, the more likely they’ll remember you, right? That might be the case, but they’ll probably be remembering that they’d like to strangle you. A study performed by Skin Media and RAPP Media aimed to find out how this repetitiveness affects consumers. In the study, they found that people think that seeing a retargeted ad five or more times is “annoying,” while seeing it ten or more times makes them “angry”. Not the experience you’re looking for. More than half of the visitors polled said that they may be interested in the ad the first time they see it, even though only 10% report making a purchase as a result of seeing a remarketed ad. Think carefully when you are setting your frequency caps and make sure you are not inundating (and annoying the hell out of) your customers with ads. 

Getting retargeted for stuff you already bought

Step 1: Buy a new power drill. Step 2: See millions of retargeting ads for the same darned drill. Step 3: Scream at your computer “GAWD, fix your suppression, dummies!” The average consumer may also find this rather inept, but more likely, they’re going to be turned off by it. Proper post-conversion ad suppression makes your marketing much more efficient and saves your customers from the agony of being reminded of their purchase for six weeks, or worse, seeing an ad with a lower price than they paid and making them feel conned. 

How call tracking data can make the remarketing experience better

Particularly in the post-cookies age we live in, where the use of third-party cookies for remarketing is being smashed by new regulations and browser-level cookie-blocking, using every source of first-party data you have at hand for remarketing is critical. If your business gets a lot of sales inquiries from inbound phone calls, your remarketing picture gets even muddier. A potential customer may have navigated to your website and clicked on a page or product before calling you and either asking a question or ultimately making a purchase. Either way, you are left with a data gap that leaves you open for making bad remarketing decisions that will annoy your customers and waste your marketing budget.

You can bridge this data gap and get your hands on precise first-party data for remarketing by using a call tracking and conversational analytics platform. When your customers call you, they are literally telling you what they want and how they talk about it. To feasibly classify customer conversations into useful digital datasets, you need an automated system that can understand what’s being said and accurately derive meaning from it. Your call tracking platform should be able to accomplish a few things: 

  • Automatically determine the outcome of inbound phone calls 
  • Predict and classify call type (e.g. sales call, service call, etc.)
  • Collect digital journey data such as UTM, keywords, and GCLID
  • Push marketing intelligence collected from calls to your martech stack in real time

With this type of functionality, you can fine-tune your remarketing campaigns without doing a lot of heavy lifting.  The data can be fed to your DMP and/or ad network to automate the process in real time. And when you understand the nature of a call, you can optimize your media for higher ROI, which can be particularly helpful when you are nailing down the next best step in your marketing, whether that be retargeting ads for someone who did not make a purchase, or suppressing ads for someone who did. You can also use call data to feed to Google’s automated bidding algorithm to adjust your bids according to what is (or isn’t) happening on the phone. 

Conversational analytics tools like Invoca’s new Signal Discovery take this to a new level of precision and granularity, as they can help you find out things about phone conversations that you don’t even know to look for. Over 56% of marketers have no idea what’s said during the calls that they drive or what the outcomes of those calls are. It’s a big data gap that marketers shouldn’t have to live with. “Conversations are overflowing with insights that don’t always see the light of day outside the contact center. As a result, many companies are missing out on opportunities to create a more consistent and positive customer experience across human and digital touchpoints,” said Dan Miller, lead analyst and founder at Opus Research. 

Signal Discovery solves this issue by enabling marketers to quickly gain new insights from tens of thousands of conversations and take action on them in real time. From there, you’re able to drill down into each topic to understand caller behavior and then create a “signal” that Invoca will listen for in future calls so you can see exactly when a specific topic is discussed and can automate your marketing based on this data. No more guesswork, no more risky call assumptions.

With all this data, you can make your remarketing efforts more targeted, relevant, efficient, and above all, less annoying. 

Get the Call Tracking Study Guide for Marketers to learn more about how to use call tracking data to improve your remarketing strategy. 

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12 common questions marketers ask about call tracking answered /12-common-questions-marketers-ask-about-call-tracking-answered-322439 Tue, 24 Sep 2019 11:30:08 +0000 /?p=322439 Call tracking software is a critical component of your martech stack that many marketers don’t know enough about.

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Phone calls convert at 10x the rate of clicks, so it makes sense that many marketers spend a considerable portion of their budgets driving calls from paid search and social media. What doesn’t make sense is that the data available from phone calls are allowed to slip through the attribution and analytics trap that we’ve set up for everything else. This is basically like making a cheeseburger without a bun — while it can be done, it won’t be as good as it could be and it’s basically a waste of money. 

Call tracking and analytics platforms can address this attribution gap for marketers. The problem is that this critical piece of the martech stack is fairly new technology to a lot of marketers. Here are answers to the 12 most common questions marketers ask about call tracking to get you up to speed. 

What problem does call tracking solve? 

If your marketing strategy involves driving potential customers to the phone, you could be missing out on important attribution data as well as the best source of first-party customer data. While you have access to end-to-end customer journey data and attribution from purely digital campaigns, the data trail goes cold when your customer picks up the phone. 

Call tracking and analytics platforms allow you to close that data gap and gain an untapped source of customer and marketing attribution data. Simply put, call tracking that’s designed for marketers allows you to get all of the same attribution data that you get for online interactions for actions that happen on the phone. This allows you to optimize your digital marketing to drive high-quality phone calls and increase your marketing ROI.

What kind of data does call tracking platforms capture from phone calls?

Call tracking platforms can capture data from both the callers’ digital journey and actions taken once on the phone. Note that the level of data granularity depends on the level of sophistication that your platform provides. More advanced AI-powered platforms can automatically predict call outcomes (e.g. sale made) and provide attribution at the keyword level. These data include: 

Conversational analytics

  • Call outcome (purchase made, application submitted, appointment made, quote given,etc.)
  • Spoken keywords

Digital campaign data

  • Source campaign
  • Marketing channel
  • Ad group
  • Terms and keywords
  • Partner IDs (Google Click ID, Adobe Marketing Cloud Visitor ID, etc.)

Contextual data

  • Calling page
  • Shopping cart activity

Call data

  • Call start time
  • Keypresses
  • Call duration
  • Caller ID
  • Call recordings
  • Repeat caller

How can a call tracking platform tie phone calls back to marketing efforts that drove them? 

Call tracking software enables marketers to tie customers’ digital journeys to phone calls using online data collection and unique, trackable phone numbers. Some platforms will use a JavaScript tag that is placed on your website that automatically replaces standard, static phone numbers with trackable, dynamic phone numbers that are unique to each site visitor. These dynamic numbers act as a unique identifier for an individual’s website session.

When a person calls one of these dynamic phone numbers, the call is routed through the call tracking platform to your call center, local agent, or any other destination. This allows the platform to aggregate the digital data and tie the callers’ previous activity to the phone call. This happens nearly instantaneously with no interruption to the caller experience. With this data, you can understand exactly which marketing tactics are driving your high-value phone calls. 

What can we do with this data?

With the granular call attribution data Invoca provides, you can optimize your marketing campaigns to drive more high-value calls, enhance the entire customer journey, and personalize the caller experience to increase conversion rates. Here’s how it works. 

Optimize your marketing

Call tracking platforms that can predict call outcomes not only give you visibility into the campaigns that are driving your calls, but provide a full picture of the outcome of every call. The result? You can make smarter campaign optimization decisions — like what keywords you should be spending more money on — to drive more revenue-generating calls and more efficient campaigns. 

Enhance the customer journey

The customer journey doesn’t end after a phone call. You can use outcome data gathered from phone calls to enhance your other marketing tools and expand your reach to likely buyers. By pushing call analytics into media platforms like Google Ads and Facebook, or DMPs like Adobe Audience Manager, marketers can create targetable audience segments to orchestrate the next action, or build lookalike audiences to reach new customers.

Personalize the caller experience

You can also use call tracking platforms to personalize the caller experience to increase conversion rates, enhance the customer experience, and ensure that call center agents are focusing on revenue-driving calls. Invoca customers have seen 10x increases in conversion rates by qualifying and routing calls based on factors like geolocation, time of call, product interest, shopping cart activity, and more.

Doesn’t showing a unique phone number to every website visitor require an enormous amount of phone numbers? 

No. Dynamic phone numbers are “recycled” in a predetermined amount of time after someone visits your site and does not call. Rather than assigning one number to only one visitor forever, you can create an attribution window that makes sense for your business. For example, if you know that customers typically call within 30 minutes of visiting your page, you can safely reuse that uncalled number after 30 minutes, exposing it to a new site visitor. Learn more about how dynamic phone numbers work in the Invoca Call Tracking Study Guide.

Isn’t call tracking for the call center? Why should marketers care?

The kind of call tracking that marketers need is different than what you will find in the call center. Call centers typically focus on call quality metrics like call duration, hold times, call counts, etc. The data they collect is typically used to reduce call center costs, not to drive additional revenue. They may track conversion data, but marketing usually has little, if any, access to this data and no way to attribute it to campaigns that may have driven the calls in the first place.

Call tracking that’s designed for marketers allows you to connect phone calls to advertising so you know what ad drove what call and what the results of that call were — AKA call attribution. For example, if you call a business that’s using Invoca’s call tracking platform, they can tell what ads, webpages, or keywords helped drive you to call. And once you are on the phone, Invoca analyzes the language used in the call to tell if you bought anything, got a quote, made an appointment — or whatever your business considers a conversion. With this data, marketers can make their ads, web pages, social ads, and other advertising media more effective to acquire more high-value customers at a lower cost.

Okay, but the call center won’t want to rip and replace what they’re using for tracking calls.

If your call center has its own solution in place for counting calls, monitoring call quality, and measuring all the KPIs that are important to the department, then they don’t usually have to make any changes when the marketing team adopts a new call tracking solution. It has no impact on the existing telephony system, and any tracking platforms that they are using can remain in place. If zero disruption to your call center operations is what’s desired, zero disruption is what you get. 

Where do calls placed to dynamic phone numbers go?

When a customer calls a dynamic phone number generated by a call tracking platform, it is routed to the existing destination phone number or call center of your choice. You’ll still use your existing phone system, and inbound calls will still be routed to them in the same way as they are without it. The dynamic phone numbers are simply a proxy that appears on your website to enable the capture of the rich, session-level data, just like you get for clicks. 

How can I access call tracking data?

When you add a call tracking platform to your martech stack, you shouldn’t be adding yet another dashboard. Look for a call tracking solution that can pass data in real time to whatever platforms you already live in like Google Ads, Google Analytics, Salesforce or Adobe Experience Cloud. You can also access and view call data directly in the platform’s dashboards and reports.

How does call tracking work with paid search? 

Paid search optimization is one of the primary use cases for call tracking in marketing. For marketers who manage paid search strategy in Google Ads, you can get closed-loop attribution for phone calls and conversions driven by your paid search and display spend through integrations with Google and other ad platforms.

This is accomplished by capturing data about the digital journey, like marketing campaign and ad creative, and tying that data to phone calls. When a call is placed, Invoca captures identifiers like the Google Click ID, enabling you to report individual call events and conversions to Google Ads. Platforms with native integrations offer the most reliable and precise method to get keyword visibility for mobile call extensions and calls from your landing pages.

When you can get keyword-level attribution and conversion reporting in real time, you can attribute calls to paid search and display budgets, and use call conversions to optimize your spend to drive more revenue. 

How does call tracking work with web analytics?

By integrating Invoca call data with web analytics tools like Google Analytics, marketers can get a holistic view of keyword or campaign performance, identify top conversion paths, understand reverse goal paths, and create call-based segments.

Call tracking platforms capture data about the customer journey, like marketing campaign and ad creative, and ties that data to phone calls. By capturing key identifiers like Google Client ID, you can report individual call events and conversions to Google Analytics. By tying phone calls to website activity, marketers can understand how customers are engaging with their website and use that call activity to help create a seamless customer journey. Some platforms also offer integrations with social media advertising like Facebook click-to-call ads and Instagram.

Does call tracking work with our CRM? 

Call tracking platforms can send call data to CRMs like Salesforce Sales Cloud in real time for automated closed-loop reporting. You can also push opportunity stage information from Salesforce to the call tracking platform for reporting and analysis, or to build out marketing audiences in other martech tools. 

But do you really need a call tracking platform? If you spend any significant portion of your marketing budget driving phone calls to your call center, then yes. Unless, of course, you like wasting money! 

Get Invoca’s Call Tracking Study Guide for Marketers to learn more about how its AI-powered call tracking can help you drive more revenue.

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The third-party browser tracking cookie is dead. What’s next? /the-third-party-browser-tracking-cookie-is-dead-whats-next-319715 Tue, 23 Jul 2019 11:30:34 +0000 /?p=319715 Why cookies are going away and how marketers can acquire more new customers without them using first-party data.

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Marketers have relied on third-party tracking cookies for the last 25 years to track consumer behavior online. Nearly all ad tech and martech platforms use cookies for targeting, retargeting, display advertising and behavioral marketing in general. Now, that’s all changing.

Smart cookie-blocking technology led by Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) now block third-party cookies by default, and even Google’s Chrome will soon get controls that let consumers block cookies. Browser-level blocking, third-party ad-blocking apps, and new regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are quickly relegating the old cookie to the internet dustbin.

This is widely regarded as a fundamental change in online advertising. What does the death of the cookie mean to marketers and advertisers like you? Should you give up on marketing and pursue your passion for painting cats eating ice cream? 

You can put away the paintbrushes for now. While change is coming, marketing as we know it will survive without third-party cookies, and more effective data sources are already in the oven. Smell that? It’s the future of marketing. 

What killed the third-party cookie?

Just like Apple quickly scuttled Adobe Flash from the digital landscape (which, honestly, nobody but Homestar Runner misses) it also put the first knife in the cookie. While both Mozilla and Apple have had third-party cookie blocking on by default for a while, ad networks quickly found loopholes in those protections. 

With little financial interest in digital advertising and its main Google differentiator now being privacy protection, Apple made the move to Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.2 (ITP) to seal up the digital loopholes and much more effectively block third-party cookies. Mozilla’s privacy-focused Firefox browser has followed suit with similar improvements to its Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP). 

Both ITP and ETP are able to block third-party cookies by preventing them from being stored in the browser, and, to close the loophole exploited by advertisers, they can also prevent third-party cookies from being recorded as first-party cookies. Apple’s ITP2 in Safari takes it a step further by cutting the first-party cookie lifespan from seven days to one day. These blockers are active by default in both Safari and Firefox. 

Why Chrome’s cookie blocking is the nail in the coffin

Google’s business model relies on collecting data about consumers — what they are shopping for, what videos they watch, what they read and what they surf for on the internet. Given the search giant’s dominance in advertising and that Chrome browser accounts for over 60% of the browser market share, Google’s opt-in version of ITP will be the ultimate swan song for cookies — and why the company may run afoul of antitrust law.

Google, of course, is keenly aware of the implications, which is why it is carefully marketing all of its new privacy controls as a benefit to consumers. “Our experience shows that people prefer ads that are personalized to their needs and interests,” Google engineering VP Prabhakar Raghavan said in a blog post explaining the shift, “but only if those ads offer transparency, choice, and control.”

It has also kept fairly mum on what it will do in the absence of third-party cookies. The big question is whether or not Google will make a market-dominating move with a replacement. No matter what Google does, its digital dominance assures that it will guide the future of the entire ad tech market.

How digital advertising can work without cookies

Enough with the doom and gloom. What can you do to replace the tracking cookie and still acquire new customers and connect with your audience? Here are a few tactics that can help you break your cookie habit.

Contextual advertising

What’s old is new again and contextual advertising is back. “We don’t expect a decline in ad dollars or a decline in ad traffic, we expect a reallocation and shift of budgets,” said Jon Kagan, VP of search at Cogniscient Media. “The next best option to cookies based behavioral targeting is anything keyword or keyword contextual-based advertising. Years ago everyone discounted it and we moved further and further away from keyword targeting, but now we’re going to have to go straight back to it.”

With behavioral targeting, someone like you may get ads for martech platforms, ad agencies and the like everywhere you go on the web. But as an everyday consumer, you’re actually more interested in knitting. It doesn’t make much sense for you to get ads for Marketo when you are on Knitterly sharing your latest pattern — which could happen when behavioral targeting is being employed. 

With contextual targeting, the ads you see are based on the content you are looking at instead of your overall behavior profile. So when you are looking at your knitting blog, you see ads for knitting needles, and when you’re reading up on how to improve the click-through rate on your email newsletters, you see ads for relevant email automation platforms. 

The move to contextual targeting will also mean a move back to focusing on producing and distributing relevant content.  

People-based targeting

Introduced to the marketing world by Facebook, people-based advertising relies on a unique identifier that is related to the user, not the device. This method does not rely on third-party cookies to track users or gather data, and it allows brands to meet customers at the places and times that they actually want to engage with them. 

A successful People-Based Marketing strategy boils down to these three key elements:

  • Identification. Brands need to identify their customers and connect them correctly to their various devices. The goal is to ensure persistent, cross-device recognition for a single view of the customer. 
  • Data. Today, brands have a plethora of data on each of their customers; from purchase data to email engagement to device information. The identification-first approach for customer data gives brands an upper-hand of targeting them effectively.
  • Automation. Instead of relying on cookie-based data, people-based marketing automation relies on first party-based targeting. It helps brands unlock a singular view of the customer, anchoring all of the data to a single source. 

The big catch here is customer identification and data. In the walled gardens of Google, Amazon, and Facebook, the customer remains logged in within these ecosystems across devices. But just because you aren’t Google or Facebook doesn’t mean you don’t have access to great sources of first-party data of your own.

First-party data from phone calls

Getting your hands on first-party data will be more important than ever in the absence of third-party cookies. Facebook, Google, and Amazon obviously have a huge advantage, but brands often have access to more data than they think. Not to mention that utilizing data from customers who have shown interest in reaching out to you is generally seen as more above-board than buying and selling access to third-party consumer data. 

One untapped source of first-party customer data might be hiding in your call center. Phone conversations may be your ultimate first-party data source and they’re a holy grail for marketers who work in industries that rely on phone calls to make sales.

When your customers call you, they are literally telling you what they want and how they talk about it. To feasibly classify customer conversations into useful digital datasets, you need an automated system that can understand what’s being said and accurately derive meaning from it. Enter Invoca Signal AI — a machine learning-powered predictive analytics technology that analyzes your callers’ conversations and turns them into actionable marketing intelligence. 

With Signal AI, not only can you predict whether a conversion happened on each call, you can predict things like caller type (e.g. service call vs. sales call), as well as milestones on the path to conversion. And when you understand the nature of a call, you can optimize your media for higher ROI, which can be particularly helpful when you are nailing down the right keywords to feed to your contextual advertising campaigns.

Invoca also enables you to marry your digital customer journey data to data from phone calls to create a single and comprehensive customer profile. By using online data collection and trackable phone numbers, marketers can attribute digital campaigns to actions taken on inbound calls. With this information being connected in the Invoca platform, you can analyze digital and call data in one place and get a more complete view of your customers.

How marketers can use first-party call tracking data 

Okay, so having first-party call data is great, but what can you do with it? AI-powered call tracking and analytics software can bridge the gap between online customer behavior and offline actions (like purchases made on the phone) by unearthing rich data about the call, attributing the call to the entire digital journey, and providing the data required to automate and optimize marketing actions after the call, like retargeting and suppression.

Call Tracking platforms like Invoca provide the following capabilities:

1. Track calls and attribute them to pre-call consumer touchpoints like paid search, social, display, emails, or landing pages

2. Unify data across multiple sources including web, CRM, or other offline data to create a rich caller profile

3. Analyze phone conversations with tools like Invoca Signal AI to derive insight around call drivers, behaviors, and outcomes

4. Push this intelligence to your marketing stack for automation, analysis, optimization, personalization, and audience expansion

Armed with powerful call data, digital marketers can optimize marketing performance, personalize the caller experience, enhance the end-to-end customer journey, and expand audience reach — all without third-party cookies. 

Moving marketing forward

While it seems pretty scary right now, keep in mind that cookies are a 25-year-old technology and we’ll definitely find a way to move on. It’s going to be all about exploring new technologies, innovation, and striking a balance between profit and privacy choices to avoid another wave of consumer backlash. Taking advantage of first-party data that you get when people intentionally engage with your brand is the first step toward accomplishing this. 

Get the Invoca Call Tracking Study Guide to learn everything there is to know about today’s AI-powered call tracking and analytics solutions and how it can help you thrive in a cookie-free world.

The post The third-party browser tracking cookie is dead. What’s next? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Driving calls with PPC: 5 mistakes most search marketers make /driving-calls-with-ppc-5-mistakes-most-search-marketers-make-297524 Mon, 14 May 2018 11:30:34 +0000 /?p=297524 Most search marketers want the same thing out of their pay-per-click campaigns: driving conversions up and cost per conversion down. Things get a little more complicated when the goal of your PPC spending is to drive calls to your business. Using PPC to drive calls is a common tactic in any considered purchase category where […]

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Most search marketers want the same thing out of their pay-per-click campaigns: driving conversions up and cost per conversion down. Things get a little more complicated when the goal of your PPC spending is to drive calls to your business.

Using PPC to drive calls is a common tactic in any considered purchase category where the cost of the product or service tends to exceed $500 and the stakes are high. Financial services, insurance, travel and home services are just a few industries where conversions frequently happen over the phone, and marketers spend a lot of time and money driving high-intent shoppers to call. In fact, Invoca surveyed banking customers and found that 93 percent of consumers who took out a loan of $100,000 or more made at least one call while evaluating options.

The problem is, there are many potential pitfalls for marketers who drive prospects across channels, particularly from online to offline, digital to the phone. Here are five of the most common mistakes search marketers make when driving calls with PPC.

Driving support calls with marketing budget

This question keeps many search marketers up at night: “What if I’m spending thousands of dollars of our paid search budget to drive calls to the support call center?” It happens more often than you think. When someone who needs help searches for your company on Google, they’ll call the first number they see. Which could be the number in your paid search ad that’s supposed to be driving conversions, not support calls.

If you’re worried about the expense of handling those calls, consider this: For businesses in considered purchase industries, bidding on high-value keywords like “life insurance” can drive prices to $50 or more per click. This not only means that the marketing team is taking a big financial hit, it negatively impacts the customer experience because their calls are also going to the wrong place. They then have to get transferred or call a new number to get help. This upsets customers, marketing budget is burned, and everyone loses.

To put this in perspective, a leading US insurer that recently implemented Invoca’s call intelligence solution found that more than 50 percent of inbound calls driven by paid search were support inquiries, not sales opportunities.

In order to avoid this scenario, you have to break down the call center-marketing data silo. Marketing needs to be able to act on call-tracking data now, not a month from now. The best way to do this is by leveraging advanced artificial intelligence and natural language understanding (NLU) technology to speed up and digitize the feedback loop between the contact center and the marketing teams. Instead of listening to calls manually, marketing can tap into real-time voice analytics, automatically understand caller behavior and intent and integrate those insights to digital advertising platforms. This shared data set establishes a foundation for improved cooperation between marketing and contact center teams.

Not designing ads to drive calls

Just popping a phone number into a paid search ad isn’t enough to drive calls that result in conversions. Besides siloed data, poor ad design is one of the most common reasons your PPC is driving low-quality calls.

To design paid search ads that drive high-intent shoppers to call, start by using language in your ads that makes it clear why the person should call. For example, if you’re an HVAC installer and your goal is to get more estimate appointments, say “Call Now for a Free In-Home Estimate!” If you are a mortgage broker trying to give more rate quotes, say “Call for a No-Risk Rate Quote Today.”

Casting a wide net will only help you catch bad calls. Remember that with call-only ads you just have two description lines and a URL to work with and no headline. Focus on making your copy concise and aligned with your goals. To get more out of the space, you can also use the URL to display a call to action or other information.

Failing to optimize campaigns for calls

This one seems obvious, but you have to remember that digital campaigns that drive calls require a different approach from campaigns that drive clicks. Dig into reports and look at the top keywords that are driving phone calls. To make sure you are homing in on high-quality calls, don’t just count the number of calls. Look at qualifiers like call duration to nail down conversions, then optimize your bids to ensure keywords generating the most quality calls will get top ad position.

Additionally, you may want to consider upping your PPC spend. Keep in mind that calls convert at 10x the rate of clicks and are typically much more valuable conversions. A higher spend on your call campaigns could be worth the extra investment.

Missing out on peak times

Call volume for most businesses fluctuates throughout the day and night. People probably won’t call for a mortgage quote at 2 a.m. on Saturday, but they will light up the phones at 9 a.m. on Monday. Analyze call data in Google AdWords, Google Analytics, or a third-party tool to spot peak days and times for phone calls. Then, confirm that these are quality calls from prospects. This can be done by looking at call duration or by using a call intelligence platform to get deep conversation analytics so you know exactly what happens on each call. From there, you can increase bid modifiers to make sure your call ads appear during those times.

No visibility into calls

How long does it take your marketing organization to get actionable data from a call? A week? A month? Never? This is the biggest blind spot that many digital marketers who need to drive calls face. You put a massive amount of spend into paid search to drive calls, but the second a customer goes offline to the phone, you have no idea what happens, or it’s days or weeks before you get data to fill in the blanks. Which, in your world, might as well be a decade.

While you may eventually be able to check the box for that conversion being driven by a digital campaign, you probably have no data on keywords and nothing to work with on retargeting. That means you could be dumping budget into ads and keywords that don’t work, turning off ones that do work and wasting money retargeting customers who have already converted on the phone. This isn’t just bad for your marketing budget, it’s a bad experience for your customers.

Phone conversations provide a wealth of insight about your customers, their needs and preferences. Call intelligence solutions like Invoca fill in that marketing blind spot between digital and the phone call, giving you the data you need to optimize campaigns and keywords and to precisely retarget (or suppress) customers depending on what happened on the call. This allows you to retarget people based on the call outcome by syncing call data with your retargeting campaigns and RLSAs (retargeting lists for search ads). This way, you can retarget unconverted callers with a special offer, or converted callers with an upsell offer.

Either that, or you guess. And I don’t know a lot of marketers who rely on guessing these days.

Download the e-book “How to Increase Calls from Paid Search: 10 Guaranteed Tactics” to learn how to capture key caller data and optimize your campaigns, bidding and targeting strategy and increase marketing ROI.

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