Pick up the Phone! The Overlooked Importance of Call Attribution

Pick up the Phone! The Overlooked Importance of Call Attribution

As phones evolve and diversify their functions, along with their advertising capabilities, it’s easy for marketers to devalue the devices’ original purpose: making phone calls. This oversight has risky implications for industries such as legal, education, or insurance that receive a high volume of phone calls. Phone leads are frequently the most valuable variety of lead because of their high conversion rates. Even more so in the digital age, call attribution is an important aspect of measuring marketing success.

Leads can come in many forms, but phone leads are the most conversion-ready. Consumers who engage with a human rather than an online form demonstrate more than a passing interest in a product or service. According to BIA/Kelsey, calls convert revenue 10 to 15 times more than web leads.

If marketers neglect the value of a phone call, they risk losing out on measuring the success of their marketing efforts. As a result, true ROI becomes muddled, and media budgets can tighten.

To ensure phone calls get the proper attention, contact should be a simple, one-click function. In the mobile-first world, click-to-call capability is essential, both on-site and in advertisements. For interested consumers, using the click-to-call button is the fastest and most intuitive way to connect with businesses. In fact, calls to businesses from mobile search ads continued to scale in 2016, with no signs of slowing. Digital experts believe that number will exceed 160 billion calls by 2019. Therefore, it’s critical to add click-to-call capabilities to any SEM campaign and on the site wherever a phone number is displayed. To add click-to-call functionality to your website, simply wrap all phone numbers in hyperlinks with the “tel:” schema. This should appear as: <a href=”tel:+1-303-499-7111″>+1 (303) 499-7111</a>

Clearly, mobile click to call is a burgeoning trend, but there remains a significant portion of direct dials to businesses which cannot be ignored. Fortunately, there are useful ways to track those direct dials by the source/medium that delivered the visitor to your site resulting in a call. Several providers exist that will dynamically change the number displayed on your page to help you track that source/medium and even provide insights into where the calls originated, call-back information, and even call recording. For more information on these tools, check-out www.callrail.com and www.infinitycloud.com.


Phone leads cannot exist separately from other digital key performance indicators. Measuring phone calls provides the fullest possible context for consumers’ purchase-intent decisions. Neglecting call measurement leaves a blind spot in measuring conversion success for landing page A/B testing, campaign budgeting, and keyword optimizations. Diligent call attribution measurement has positive effects at every level of an organization: from the CMO to the execution teams.

At FRWD, call attribution has proved particularly valuable for one of our legal clients. It has allowed us to generate a clear regional picture of where incremental phone leads are coming from and what messaging tactics attract the most interest. This knowledge has fueled more efficient marketing campaigns and more refined measurement practices. Most importantly, we can deliver a more measurable ROI.

We all know that mobile is the present and the future, but marketers need to remind themselves that most mobile devices are phones first and multi-tools second. Consequently, calls of every variety including mobile click-to-call and direct dials should factor into marketing measurement. To deliver the best possible results for lead generation clients, phone calls need to be an acutely considered aspect of a healthy media mix.