by Alex Asadi, Community Engagement Support
January 15, 2021 16:38
How Call Tracking Works: For Beginner and Advanced Users

A Brief Overview Of Call Tracking In Action

Call tracking on a basic level is defined as the process of generating unique phone numbers and tying them to specific marketing campaigns for the purpose of analyzing advertising effectiveness and sales performance.

Marketing analysis has become increasingly important due to the steadily rising cost of acquiring new customers, caused by increased demand from established brands, retailers and growing small businesses all aggressively bidding for ad placements on major platforms such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and so forth. It's become more important than ever to analyze which advertisements are driving in traffic, especially when clicks and view impression costs are steadily climbing.

As a potential lead engages with a campaign on your webpage or through an advertisement, several attributes are gathered and stored throughout their user session. This could be as simple as storing the user’s name and contact details temporarily using a landing page form all the way to building descriptive customer profiles consisting of previous search and sales engagements.

Tracked phone numbers are issued by a call tracking provider such as Retreaver, and placed on your advertisements and/or pages. Oftentimes, a number pool is used in conjunction to support tracking multiple users simultaneously on your pages using dynamic number insertion.



In short, once a lead decides to call the uniquely displayed number on a chosen medium (i.e. an ad or a specific webpage):


  1. All the gathered attributes tied with other pre-existing caller information such as caller ID, caller location, etc. are then packaged into the displayed number on their screen;

  2. Then the information is forwarded to a call tracking platform such as Retreaver for easy organization, analysis and monitoring;

  3. Finally, the attributes associated with a call are then used to logically route the caller to the most appropriate department or sales representative.

  4. Once the call ends, the number is wiped clean of any prior stored lead attributes and "released" back into the number pool for reuse. Thus each number acts as a unique identifier for a potential lead, which gathers data and temporarily stores various properties throughout a sales journey.


Benefits of Call Tracking

By utilizing call tracking and gathering engagements throughout the sales process, a call tracking user can examine valuable information related to a call such as:

  • Who is calling [ Caller Id ]
  • What are they calling about [ Intention Spotting ]
  • What engagements and activity was gathered prior to calling [ Sales Journey Description ]
  • What prompted them to call [ Sales Source Attribution ]
  • Was the lead converted successfully? [ Sales Confirmation ]

All of this information and any other custom created attributes are gathered, processed, and evaluated within the call tracking platform. Call data can then be forwarded to additional web services for further analysis and archived using your desired customer relationship manage platform.

At any time, Retreaver's call tracking platform can provide detailed reports describing a sales narrative and provide data-driven feedback from any call, giving marketers and sales teams the ability to visualize customer journey's.


How Does Call Tracking Work?

Call tracking requires a pool of unique phone numbers, wherein a single number is "checked out" and displayed per ad view (or page view) in order to isolate the different leads on said ad or page. A single number displayed for a high traffic campaign would not offer much insight apart from call volume, and managing and routing users would pose a challenge as the single number would constantly be in use while other users attempt to phone in. By utilizing a number pool, you can individually track all unique users simultaneously on your page.

Retreaver is able to dynamically generate and insert numbers from a number pool onto any given web page using a proprietary application programming interface (API); our user-friendly functionality allows our clients to simply paste a provided script onto their ad, or a page on their website. The API will communicate with the platform to match the tracking number to the assigned campaign and will automatically handle any attribute tagging and number replacement functionality – hassle free.

Creating unique numbers and dynamically inserting them into a web page or ad sounds simple enough, but how do we gather and attach additional attributes to a phone call?


Adding Data To Your Calls

There or several ways to gather and attach data to your calls - Depending on your campaign requirements and chosen platform, some methods are better suited for particular situations, which is why Retreaver’s customizable features are heavily utilized among our clients:

  • Tagging Static Numbers: Manually tagging specific phone numbers is great for attributing offline campaigns such as television, radio , or billboard ads. Descriptive tags are attached to a single number, and when a lead calls, the platform will automatically attach their originating source.(For example, Advertisement_Type:Billboard13.)
  • Real-Time Page Tracking: Using Retreaver's API (a script handling attribute tagging and number replacement functionality), call tracking users are able to monitor all interactions on a page, including information such as button clicks, specific page views, and form fills. When a lead calls in, all their gathered attributes are sent via an API call and tied with the currently displayed number.
  • Click-To-Call: A click-to-call button can be placed on your page. This means that when a lead enters their phone number and presses click-to-call, Retreaver will automatically call the lead and connect them with an agent seamlessly. Hardcoded tags can be applied to a call based on where the click-to-call button was placed. For example, if the click-to-call button is placed on the pricing page then a "Calling_About:Pricing" tag can be attached to the phone call.
  • Parameter Mapping: Tracking activity is not limited to a single page or website. Through parameter mapping, information can be passed via a URL - effectively passing information from site to site. For example, if a lead lands on a website from a Facebook post, a "?fbclid=XXX" property will be present on the URL. When the lead calls, this information will also be forwarded, helping users attribute calls from various third party sites, articles and posts.
  • Interactive Voice Response: Callers can be prompted to fill in certain call tags using a voice sample or text-to-speech IVR system. If the tag was already assigned a value, the IVR will be skipped, otherwise it can continually prompt for any number of unassigned call tags.
  • Warm Transferring: If a call is being transferred into Retreaver from an outside source such as the case for call centers using Five9, incoming transfers can post information to add or update tags associated with a call prior to connecting to a buyer.
  • External Modification Via Webhook: Call circumstances can often change in the middle or at the end of a call. Sometimes, conversions aren't measured by time spent speaking with a buyer; this means that certain tag attributes may need to be updated or modified once a call has ended. Using unique call-keys, call attributes are able to be modified from outside of the platform at any point of the call.


How To Set Up Call Tracking?

A call tracking campaign is made up of 4 distinct parts

1) Campaigns: Campaigns contain all of the ‘call logic’ associated with a call. Campaigns keep track of routing settings, prompts, default conversion criteria and webhooks. Campaigns come with their own unique identifier called a campaign key, which is referenced to utilize the Retreaver API functionality on your landing pages.

2) Numbers: Campaigns require unique phone numbers; a single number may be used, or a number pool can be created to support tracking of simultaneous users on your landing pages.

3) Tags: Each call to a campaign is evaluated and processed using tags which can act as filters. For example, if a call is tagged as "intention: support", the call will only route to buyers who also include the "intention: support" tag. Tags can also be used for descriptive purposes, such as building a customer profile for archiving using a CRM at the end of a call.

4) Call Buyers: Calls need an endpoint destination such as a sales, support or voicemail line. When a call comes through a given campaign, the tags are evaluated and used to influence the routing logic that seeks to connect the caller with the most appropriate endpoint suited to handle the call.


View our How To Set Up Your First Call Tracking Campaign guide to get started tracking and routing calls today!


Call tracking will create multiple positive opportunities for your business

Contact our sales team for an online demonstration, The Retreaver platform will provide you with all the resources you need to optimize your advertising outreach, maximize sales results and provide excellent customer service over the phone!


Start Tracking With Retreaver Today.