When it comes to brand keyword bidding, most tests show that it makes sense to bid on brand keywords because as a marketer, you completely control the messaging and the landing pages for optimal conversion rate. Plus you can use ad extensions to further improve the user experience and ROI.
However, when it comes to using call tracking on branded keywords, often marketing departments assume there is no value in tracking brand keywords since they will always (or nearly always) be in top position anyway. This way of thinking revolves around the idea that you don’t need to justify brand spending to management, but you do for generic keywords.
I’ve been spending a lot of time chatting with the teams at Marchex (a leader in call tracking) to learn how some clients are using call tracking effectively, particularly for brand keywords.
It ends up there are a few very significant reasons to measure phone conversions on brand keywords.
1. Gaining a fuller view of attribution for brand and non-brand keywords
Tracking only one subset of a data set leads to incomplete and inconclusive results, allowing an inaccurate view of the conversion path for the customer.
Would you measure only the click traffic/website experience for users who come from non-brand search? The answer is no. The same way it is important to measure the call flow of users coming from brand and non-brand search.
2. You want your overall marketing portfolio ROI to be accurate
Many marketing departments operate on a blended portfolio that allows the high ROI of brand keywords to subsidize the generic keywords a bit allowing for more aggressive bidding, and more sales.
Even though the marginal profit on the new sales may be a bit lower, many marketing departments rely on the additional sales volume generated by the portfolio strategy.
3. Cross-channel analytics between search and other channels such as display
Think of this as a form of brand attribution. We know people don’t search in a vacuum, particularly for brand keywords. Often other forms of media are driving the brand search behavior. Call tracking of brand keywords delivers insights into search and display channels and how they attribute media to impact one another.
While brand bidding strategies may not be impacted due to the need for increased visibility and awareness in premium position, the impact of an ad exposure that leads to Brand searches is measureable and impactful for the customer.
4. Identifying new vs. existing customers at the keyword-level
Through IVR functionality (i.e. press 1 for new customer; press 2 for existing customer), the marketer would gain insight into what keywords drive higher acquisition than others.
Repeat customers can rank high for Brand calls and help provide insight into lower quality calls. While optimizations would not be made to “lower” position for Brand terms, understanding what brand queries are driving higher repeat customers can help guide direction on whether or not certain keyword buckets should be part of the keyword portfolio
5. Tracking non-converting calls from brand helps optimize towards additional conversions and reduce non-revenue generating
Having the ability to identify which keywords from Mobile Brand are non-revenue generating, calls by geo and time of day can help influence the optimization strategy as well as influence call center operations.
Additionally, there are often situations where one can identify problems that when high quality calls do not result in a conversion. This could be due to a poor agent experience at the call center or a factor with the IVR. Remember you aren’t just optimizing bids, you are also optimizing for business outcomes, particularly profit.
6. Routing lower quality calls from the Call Center, specifically call failures for Brand keywords , via sales insights dashboard
It’s handy to understand calls that are not routed properly or fail to convert due to call center issues. Tracking calls originating from brand will allow for analysis that determine failed calls and how to optimize for high quality calls.
Some useful outcomes relating to routing optimization include:
- What is the hold time abandonment for customers that are driven from Brand?
- Why calls are failing in the call center and why are they not converting if average duration is over 10 minutes?
- Opportunity to improve call center experience and handling for callers – especially existing ones.
- Learn how to drive more queries online than calls – steer more traffic online to answer repeated questions/request coming from Brand terms.
7. Keyword spotting
Ability to evaluate specific Brand (and Non-Brand) keywords deemed important / valuable during call conversations between callers and agents. For example, it would be great to know if the keyword “book”, “appointment”, or ”schedule” are trigger words for the customer.
One provider, Marchex has call tracking technology would be able to index calls that contain these terms as higher converting callers than calls containing lower-priority terms (i.e. “time”). Please note: Call Recording would need to be enabled for this functionality.
You might ask yourself just how much ROI am I failing to track by not tracking brand keywords. You already know that brand keywords convert best online, so it stands to reason they do offline as well. Marchex has found the true ROI on branded keywords to be significant.
Brands who started measuring the un-measured revenue from calls on brand keywords saw their true ROI numbers jump anywhere from 40% to 200%, depending on the vertical and the brand. For example in cable & satellite the range was 125%-200% and in automotive repair the range was 40%-80%.
Those are significant. How much ROI are you entitled to count toward your budget isn’t getting measured?
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