Google Call Tracking Feature Fails to Leverage Call Recording

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Google Call Tracking Feature Fails to Leverage Call Recording

October 19, 2012

The voice-over-IP (VoIP) revolution not only makes calls more flexible; it also makes them easier to count and analyze. A new feature in Google’s AdWords Express, call reporting, takes advantage of this feature of VoIP.

AdWords Express, an ad-tracking platform aimed at the small business user, now has the ability to track calls placed in response to ads. Call statistics and analysis are available via an online dashboard just like ad clicks are tracked through AdWords Express. Call tracking is a feature already available in AdWords, although now it also is included with Google’s small business offering.

Users of AdWords Express who sign up for call reporting will have the phone number in their Google search ads replaced with a toll-free Google forwarding number, according to Google’s Inside AdWords blog. When a customer calls this number, the call automatically will be forwarded to the business and it will be recorded in the AdWords Express dashboard.

“How did you find us? There's a good reason so many business surveys include this question: understanding how people connect with your business is important,” read the Google Inside AdWords blog. “When people search for local businesses on Google, they may want to check out a website, but there's a good chance they'll want to just give you a call.”

Except for calls generated through mobile ads, the cost is $1 per call on each call that is over 30 seconds in length, according to Google. It only is available for U.S. numbers.

For calls that come from mobile ads, the setup is a bit more complicated. The business’ existing phone number is used, and calls are charged at the same rate as a click, according to Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land.

While a useful feature, Google’s call reporting misses out on a crucial function available elsewhere – the ability to record calls generated from ads. It would be relatively easy for Google to offer the option of recording calls generated from ads, especially since the Google Voice service that underlies the call reporting feature already has call recording baked into it.

Instead, for the time being at least, Google leaves call recording functionality to other analytics providers such as Telemetrics and Marchex.

Recording sales calls offers a number of benefits, including managing and measuring the quality of customer service being delivered, assessing the quality of incoming leads, analyzing sales conversion ratios, and assisting with the training of customer service and sales personnel, according to Telemetrics.

“Call Record provides visibility into what’s driving consumer calls and how they’re being handled by an advertiser or business location,” wrote Telemetrics. “This feature offers complete audio files of the calls received in response to your advertisements.”

Google could have offered this important feature with its call reporting option, but at least for now it has left such functionality to others.

Edited by Braden Becker

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