We sat down with Jason Tatum, Product Owner for the Google Data Studio Community Connector integration with CallRail to talk about why we built it, the timeline for the rollout, and how it helps you visualize data.
CallRail: Why did CallRail decide to build a Google Data Studio integration?
Jason Tatum: We started with three main motivations. One, our customers have been asking for this via channels like our Community forum and social media. We had explored options for building an integration, but weren’t able to do anything direct at that point because Google didn’t offer a way to connect. We looked at different ways to workaround that barrier, but none of them were ideal. Then a Google representative reached out to us and said: “We see that your customers have been asking for this and we’re launching a program where companies can build their own data source to hook up to GDS.” They invited us to be a part of the launch of their Community Connectors program. We told our customers who were very excited about it, as GDS is such a powerful tool, and then we were off to the races.
CR: What’s the timeline for the feature rollout? When will customers be able to access it, and is there a cost?
JT: We’re currently classified as partners in Google’s Community Connectors Developer Launch. Google has launched an Add-On Gallery for this preview, where users can go in and add third party connectors to their reports. The beta version of our connector is included in the gallery as an add-on option. During this phase through mid-fall, we’ll be rolling feedback up to Google as to how to improve their program. Then more improvements will be made, and most likely more data sources on CallRail’s side will be added, including an easier onboarding experience by the end of the year. This timeline is all Google’s, so we’re along for the ride in that respect. There won’t be any cost for customers to start using it, and they can follow these steps to turn on the Google Data Studio integration.
CR: How did you use the Connector add-on API to build this?
JT: The way we approached this from a technical perspective was to go for a limited proof-of-concept build. We weren’t going to try to connect every piece of data from CallRail into GDS to start with – we wanted to deliver one chunk of usable data in an efficient way and get it into the hands of users to test. We used our call summary endpoint from our API. That call summary endpoint is a lot like the calls attribution report in our dashboard. We took the data that already existed in that endpoint because it delivered a lot of value, and we didn’t have to recreate the wheel in order to hook up with GDS.
CR: What does the integration allow CallRail users to do that they weren’t able to do before?
JT: You’re able to have a live CallRail data source connected to your GDS reports. Within that is the ability to group calls by source, keywords, campaign, referrer, landing page or company and create custom reports using those data points. You can also filter by total calls, first-time callers, leads, answered calls, missed calls, and average duration. In addition, a user can create custom, calculated fields in order to show certain ratios, such as how many first-time callers were qualified leads or what percentage of total phone calls were answered. You can display those dimensions by various metrics such as marketing source or company. This allows CallRail customers to simply, and easily create valuable reports previously only available in spreadsheets with our Call Log export option.
CR: What value does this integration provide to marketing agencies using both CallRail and GDS?
JT: The huge value of GDS and being able to connect with it is you’ll have high customization of your ROI visualizations on the same page as your reports from sources like Google Analytics, Google Ads (AdWords) or YouTube. Since the visualizations are pulling from a live source, you’re able to show a real-time ROI dashboard using multiple data sources. For an agency, this is about being able to show the value of your work instantly with stunning, customizable visuals.
CR: How can a business owner take advantage of this integration?
JT: From an in-house perspective, it creates real-time transparency of data without having to spend costly time building new reports and dashboards every month. Here it’s about the efficiency of setting up a dashboard with clear insight into the state of your business. Additionally, Google Data Studio is free as a baseline service, and many of the data sources, like ours, are available for free within the tool.
CR: What are some unique ways customers can use the data pulled from this integration?
JT: This is a very early endeavor with Google. Over time as we get feedback, we’re going to create more interesting data sources to connect to these reports. Currently, being able to pull call data from CallRail to create stunning visualizations and amazing arrangements that are totally tailored to your needs and not to an out-of-the-box report you might otherwise be forced to use is pretty powerful. The strongest power of a CallRail/Google Data Studio integration is in the customization – whether it’s displaying call data alongside other third-party sources or using custom metrics. One custom metric our marketing team has been looking at internally is the ratio of first-time callers to marked leads by CallScore, what we’re calling the Qualified Caller Rate. Another custom metric that would be extremely useful would be the ratio of first-time callers to total calls by marketing source.
CR: Are there plans for future iterations of this product?
JT: Yes, as long as customers are finding great uses for this and are asking for deeper data connections from CallRail, then we’ll do what we can to provide it.