No one’s going to argue with the trackability and
accountability of Google Adwords advertising, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t
room for improvement. Yep, I’m talking about call tracking. With the web and
the phone being more or less the only two ways for customers to purchase from
the ecommerce businesses that dominate the sponsored links, I’ve often wondered
why Google only bothers to support conversion tracking on one of those channels.
Of course, in the good ol’ days when bankers were fair and
honest and the Dow was above 14,000, most businesses were quite content in the
knowledge that as good as their Adwords return on investment was, it was
probably even better once all the conversions that they couldn’t track were
taken into account. For those that wanted more, there were always third party call tracking services and creative workarounds for implementing it themselves.
Nowadays, as budgets tighten and conversion rates level off,
the number of businesses that are content to know that their Adwords campaigns
are probably driving phone orders is
dwindling. As budgets tighten, it is becoming more and more necessary to see
results from every penny spent.
Enter Google’s new phone service, Google Voice. Announced
earlier this month Google Voice is the reworking of the GrandCentral
acquisition from 2007. Including impressive features like a single number for
all your phones and the transcription of voicemails (making them searchable),
this new service offers a lot to get excited about.
Obviously, this could just be one more step towards the day
when voyeuristic Google employees will know all of our deepest darkest secrets.
(My favourite headline so far: “Google Voice: Press 1 to Invade Your Privacy”). Or
maybe it’s just one more high traffic property for Google to serve ads on. I
think there’s more to it though, I think this is the first step in Google
getting serious about call tracking.
I’ve always thought it was inevitable that Google would integrate
call tracking into Adwords, and the stars seem to be lining up for that move to
come soon. Google’s not immune to the economic downturn, and logic dictates
that the more revenue companies can tie back to Adwords, the more they’ll spend
there. I’d imagine that this idea has been kicking around the Googleplex for
some time, and if they are actually going to roll out this functionality in 2009,
it couldn’t come at a better time.
Written by Kevin Hill (Kevin.Hill at ChannelAdvisor dot com)