Marketers: Using Call Tracking to Calculate ROI for Offline Campaigns


7 min reading time

call tracking

Measuring marketing ROI is an ongoing challenge, especially for offline campaigns. Learn how to (easily!) use call tracking to benchmark your marketing channels

An ROI calculator: on every marketer’s wish list

Over the years, proving marketing ROI has consistently been a challenge for marketers.”

Hubspot, State of Inbound Report 2017

No surprises here. Proving marketing ROI – though essential – is still difficult in 2017.  As a recent Marketing Charts survey shows, connecting revenue to various marketing actions seems to be an issue for many different points along the funnel:

At CALLR, we have a very simple (no API integration needed!) way for marketers to get a better picture of marketing ROI for offline campaigns: our call tracking web app.

But first:

Why track phone numbers from offline campaigns?

You might be tempted to think that offline campaigns are a thing of the past. Though it’s true that online advertising is a booming industry, offline channels, especially television and out-of-home, are certainly not dead:

Indeed, according to PwC’s report, Global entertainment & media outlook 2017-2021, “Global out-of-home (OOH) market continues to remain most reliable forms of advertising and has continued to grow steadily despite the vast changes brought about by digitisation across the advertising market.”  This means billboards, posters and other advertisements on streets, roads, highways, and transit – buoyed up by digital reinventions – are still good places to generate leads.

As for TV ads, PwC advises, “Terrestrial TV advertising continues to dominate. However, the ongoing global growth of pay-TV penetration and online TV advertising is slowly eating into its dominance – with emerging markets becoming digitised and audiences starting to fragment, driven by growing smartphone and tablet penetration.”

Looks like traditional TV ads are still relevant…at least for now.

But the relevancy of OOH and traditional TV ads inevitably leads to an age-old problem: how can you accurately attribute ROI – in terms of dollars and cents – to offline ads?  If we aren’t looking to measure ‘brand awareness,’ but really want to know how many leads are generated, and of what quality, by what marketing channel…many marketers rely on intuition and guesswork. This certainly doesn’t do much for their credibility when faced with sales teams or the rest of the C-suite.

Enter call tracking.

How can you track phone numbers?

You won’t be able to keep tabs on every metric under the sun for offline campaigns, but you can keep track of those that really count – inbound phone calls.

As Hubspot’s 2017 State of Inbound report illustrated, in many ways, the telephone remains the most effective way of qualifying a lead or closing a deal.

This is born out whether they’re just starting or are senior level:

Furthermore, this trend has been steady from last year to this year:

At CALLR, we couldn’t agree more. As your sales team probably knows, any lead who’s motivated enough to pick up the phone and have a chat with a sales rep has a decent amount of buyer intent.  As our CEO Taoufik explained, “complex sales convert better on the phone (houses, cars, yachts, etc…), and car dealers were actually the first industry in France to use call tracking.”

All in all, inbound calls are an excellent metric to track. Knowing how many calls a certain campaign generated can give insight into where your hottest leads come from, and which convert later down the funnel…but in order to do this, you need to set up call tracking.

How to use call tracking to benchmark your marketing campaigns

Let’s say you’re a car dealership, and you routinely advertise using flyers, billboards and a TV spots. Up until now, you’ve had no real way of knowing which channels generate inbound calls (i.e. good leads!) to your business.

What call tracking allows you to do is associate a unique number to each of these marketing channels.  An analytics dashboard (CDR) in the web interface then lets you see how many inbound calls come from each of these numbers (i.e. marketing channels) over a given time.  If your CRM allows you to determine which leads convert into opportunities and sales, you can begin to calculate ROI based on how much each advertisement cost and the average deal size of leads originating from that source.

How to set up a call tracking campaign via CALLR's web interface

If you’re using a solution like CALLR, you can do all of this from a web interface – that means all you have to do is visit our website, sign in, and you can manage the entire process – no IT guy needed.

Let’s go back to the car dealership scenario, with ads via flyers, billboards and TV.

What they would want to do is first create a campaign (called a ‘voice app’) for each marketing channel, and attribute a unique number to each (as shown above).

Let’s say flyers are 781-847-9847, billboards are 781-847-9099, and the TV ads are 781-847-9483.  When you send the flyers off to the printers, you’ll only use the number 781-847-9847, and so on.

After a reasonable amount of time has passed, you can then go to the analytics, or ‘CDR’ section of the web app. You can then select to look at the reports for all of your channels and benchmark which gave you the most inbound calls.  From here, you can calculate how much an inbound phone call costs via each channel, by dividing the number of calls by how much you paid for the ads.

Screenshot of CALLR interface for call tracking, choosing three campaigns

This is already very valuable information for marketers. Inbound calls are hot leads. Knowing which ads generate the most inbound calls will help you adjust marketing spend without any guesswork.

Want to start benchmarking your offline marketing channels?

Check out our API

How to calculate ROI

Marketing respondents found that inbound campaigns yielded higher ROI compared to outbound campaigns, yet 41% of respondents either could not answer the question or could not calculate ROI. The inability to measure ROI will be a hindrance for marketing teams trying to prove their value or advocate for higher budgets.”

Hubspot, State of Inbound Report 2017

But the most important thing is to know how much final revenue each lead brings in, and where they come from. For this, you’ll need to make the link between the inbound call and how they move – or get stuck – in the sales funnel.

If you’re working with a CRM, you can do this fairly easily by asking your inbound sales reps to manually input the lead source as ‘flyer,’ ‘billboard,’ or ‘TV ad’.  After an appropriate amount of time has passed, given your sales cycle, you can then use a report from your CRM to see the average revenue brought in by each lead according to their marketing source. You’re now in a position to know a lot more about how much return on investment you get from advertising via flyer, billboard or TV.

Key Takeaways

  • Proving marketing ROI is still a challenge, but remains essential for defending budget decisions
  • Offline advertising is not dead – and out-of-home and TV ads are alive and well
  • The telephone is the most effective way to connect with and convert leads. Inbound calls are gold.
  • Call tracking via web apps allows marketers to know how much each inbound phone call from a lead costs them, according to marketing channel
  • This can help marketers determine the ROI of each marketing channel they invest in, especially if they follow the lead’s lifecycle up until closing