How to report on your true mobile CPA

As consumers continue to move away from their desktops and spend more time on their smartphones and mobile devices, marketers too need to shift their advertising strategies to focus on mobile.

Last year was a great example of the mobile shift marketers are now experiencing, as it was the first time ad spend on smartphones and mobile devices surpassed desktops.

It’s safe to say the mobile ad spend trend is here to stay. In fact, companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft continue to offer advertisers more opportunities to shift their budgets to mobile devices by introducing new mobile bidding features and ad types.

Here are some highlights from these companies:

  • Google released device-level bidding to all of their PPC advertisers, as well as expanded text ads. These are Google’s first major enhancements to paid search bidding since releasing enhanced campaigns in 2013.
  • Microsoft (owner of Bing Ads) was quick to follow Google and introduce expanded text ads; however, Bing has always allowed device-level bidding. These expanded ads allow advertisers to call out two main points, as they now get two headlines in each ad.
  • Facebook seems to be leading the pack when it comes to releasing more options for advertisers to promote their brand on mobile devices. Currently, there are 13 different ads you can run through Facebook Ads campaign – with goals ranging from awareness and consideration all the way through the conversion phase. These ads can be served on desktop, but are geared toward engaging Facebook’s 80% of users who are mobile.

Facebook mobile ads

How to understand your mobile conversions

As digital marketers and advertisers, we need to do more than advertise on mobile devices. We need to track our mobile ads all the way from click to conversion.

The time and resources spent tracking conversions from mobile devices should directly correlate to the ad spend allocated to driving mobile traffic.

Too many advertisers miss out on a significant amount of revenue because they’re not tracking the full customer journey. This often includes a key offline conversion: the phone call.

The smartphone has completely changed the way consumers research purchases and engage with businesses online. They no longer fill out web forms on landing pages.

Instead, the easiest and most convenient way to get information is through calling and talking with a real person. In fact, search, social, and display advertising will drive over 108 billion call conversions to US businesses in 2016. And that number will grow to 162 billion calls by 2019, according to BIA/Kelsey.

If we fail to take the few extra steps to properly integrate and track these call conversions within our analytics tools, then we’ll be unable to accurately report on our true CPA. And the payoff of including calls in your CPL and ROI metrics is well worth it, especially when you consider that call conversions are 10x more likely to convert to revenue.

Visualizing your call conversions

To help illustrate my previous point, let me give you a personal example.

I dedicate more than half of my digital budget to mobile and 50% of my inbound conversions come from mobile devices. You would expect them to be attributed to online web forms, which is a conversion type we (like many marketers) track, but they’re actually call conversions.

How do I know? I track and attribute call conversions within Google Analytics and Salesforce, which tell me exactly what channel, ad, and keyword drove the call and if it resulted in revenue.

Here is an example of my Google Analytics account:


Within my analytics profile, I set up calls as my goal. I can’t give away all my secrets, so this image only shows the channel level detail. But I can change my views to look at source/medium, campaign, content, or even keyword to get the same level of insight.

In order to attribute the sale back to the ad campaign and accurately calculate my ROI, I simply log into Salesforce to see which of these calls resulted in a sale.

If mobile ads are a priority ad type for digital advertisers, then shouldn’t every mobile conversion be a priority as well? It’s simple: Marketers embracing mobile marketing need to track call conversions within their analytics tool if they want to report on their true CPA and make better optimization decisions.

Related reading

Checkboxes on smartphone screen. Checkboxes and checkmark. Flat vector illustration