Integrating CallRail with Google Ads: The do's & don'ts

Illustrated jump rope

Session Transcription


Hi everybody, my name is Josh White. I’m the attribution manager here at Logical Position. I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy as our country starts to reopen. Today, I'm going to talk about how to get the most out of your advertising dollars with Google and Microsoft.

There are a lot of great and useful features that CallRail offers, but for the sake of today's webinar, I'm going to be covering Logical Position's best practices for the initial setup. This will ensure better metrics and data points on phone calls coming from PPC advertising in order to get the most out of your advertising budget.

Today’s Agenda:

  • Getting the most out of your ad spend with Google and Microsoft
  • Logical Position’s best practices for CallRail setup

There are a lot of great and useful features that CallRail offers, but for the sake of today's webinar, I'm going to be covering Logical Position's best practices for the initial setup. This will ensure better metrics and data points on phone calls coming from PPC advertising in order to get the most out of your advertising budget.

How we onboard clients

When we onboard clients who are currently using CallRail, the first thing that we do is link up to their account and do an audit the same way that we would for our clients who onboard using PPC.

When we onboard a client, there are three main components we check to ensure call tracking is working properly for PPC advertising:

  • JavaScript installation
  • Integrations
  • Call tracking type

With JavaScript installations, we make sure that the plugins are applied. The three main integrations we look at are Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Microsoft Advertising.

We ask what type of call tracking they are using: source level or keyword level tracking. After we establish what the account is using and how it was set up, we provide recommendations on what changes, if any, could be made to better track PPC traffic. In the instance that a client comes on board and they do not have a call tracking account set up, we'll set that up for them.

I'm going to take a step back and just talk about those three components individually and some of the common misconceptions there.

Javascripts and Plugins

First are JavaScripts and Plugins. The first thing we look at in any audit is that JavaScript, WordPress, and Wix plugins are installed correctly. More often than not when our clients are experiencing any sort of tracking issues, it's JavaScript. Plugins aren't installed properly, they're not using the installation, or they're not using the plugins for Wix or WordPress if they have those site platforms. Most CallRail features need JavaScript or Plugins installed properly for everything to work correctly.


Second is integrations. It comes down to what each business is using, and those vary in our industry, but the three main integrations that we do check for are Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, and just because everybody here at logical position uses it, Google Analytics. It’s pretty easy to tell if integrations aren't working properly or haven't been set up all the way.

Troubleshooting your integrations

CallRail uses the color coding system. Green means everything's good. I'll still get in there and double check to make sure integrations are set up properly even if we are getting that little green box. Second is yellow. This means that there is some sort of roadblock, usually meaning that CallRail needs a little bit more information to complete the integration. Red means it's broken, and we need to start over and try again.

Call tracking types

The third is call tracking types. This is probably the most important aspect of an audit to make sure that we're tracking everything properly.

Source level tracking

The first call tracking type is source level tracking. You have one number dedicated to track all visitors from a specific source. Source level tracking can be great for starting out just to gauge how many phone calls you're generating from a specific source but is not necessarily good for maximizing your ad spend. The call tracking type that we usually recommend our clients to use is a Website Pool or as I like to call it, user level tracking.

The limitations of source level tracking

In this case, that source is going to the Google Ads example. It's a great starting point to find the overall call volume for your PPC efforts. A common misconception is that we can integrate Google Ads to a CallRail account using only source level tracking. In fact, CallRail is unable to determine the difference between each of these users, so we're not able to integrate it. Not only that, but our users are also seeing the same phone number. The only thing that we can determine using this tracking type is how many phone calls the Google Ads are generating within a specific timeframe.

Visitor level tracking

With visitor level tracking, the key difference is what phone number the user is seeing. With source level tracking, all the visitors from that source are seeing the same phone number. CallRail is unable to determine the difference between the users. Using visitor level tracking or a website pool can give each user a different phone number. This number can determine unique data points for each user.

These points include the search engine they use, what device they were searching on, the keyword or product they type into the search engine. We are able to communicate with the CallRail platform in Google and Microsoft to attribute that phone call to a specific keyword or shopping product. The key here is to make sure that you have enough phone numbers within your pool to handle the amount of visitors that could potentially be at your site at one time.

Logical Position set up

We need to determine what type of tracking our clients want, whether that be source level tracking or the user level tracking. Here at Logical Position (LP), we offer our clients who are onboard with us a free version of CallRail for source level tracking. We provide a phone number for paid traffic. This gives us and our clients a gauge on how much call volume is coming through the ends.

Depending on what kind of call data we've got after a couple of months or sometimes a couple of weeks, our clients have the opportunity to sign up for a paid version of CallRail using LP's monthly discount so that we can get that user level information and integrate everything with the Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising accounts. Clients can also skip the source level tracking altogether and go straight to a paid version of CallRail for the user level tracking.

What are we tracking?

Once our account managers determine what's going to work best for their client's business, they send that information over to my team. We get the account set up exactly the way they want it, which goes into source level tracking.

  • Do they want the visitor level tracking?
  • How many numbers do we need within that pool?
  • What type of traffic are we tracking?

If you are familiar with CallRail and the setup process, you've definitely seen those questions before when you're setting up your number pool. We want it to be organized and clear as far as what we're tracking.

The first thing that I establish is the number name. When we are determining the number name, we base that off of what source of traffic we're trying to track. For example, if the client wants to track paid traffic, we label the number “Paid Traffic.” If the client wants to track all visitors to the website, we'll label it accordingly. This allows us to keep an organized, straightforward approach as to what number is tracking what type of traffic.

In this example, I've got the All Traffic - Toll Free. That means we're tracking all visitors to the website and from all sources. Paid Traffic - Local Number is tracking visitors from paid traffic, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and only on the local number. Then for Yelp - Offline, the number is located on your Yelp page and we're not doing any number swapping on the website.

Nine times out of ten, when we have clients who are tracking multiple numbers, naming the numbers becomes very important to make sure anybody who has access to the account can easily differentiate the type of traffic we're tracking.

Number pool size

When using the user level tracking or the number pool, we need to determine the pool size. This one's probably where I find the most issues with current clients that are currently with us or onboarding clients onboarding. In order for us to get all of the accurate information, we need to make sure every user is seeing a phone number unique to them. We need a pool size big enough to handle the amount of site traffic that we have.

We break out a custom 30-day report in Google Analytics. We will break that out by hour of the day, find the average, and then we'll divide that by four. And then that should give you a rough estimate on what your pool size should be. When we're trying to shift up our PPC strategies, you could see a big dip in traffic, because we're getting more granular, or we can also see a huge increase in traffic. The measure of thirty days is subject to change, and it's very easy to change those number pool sizes within the CallRail UI.

To find the report, go into your custom reports in Google Analytics. From there, the platform will allow you to break those off as far as what type of custom report you want. There is a setting broken out for hours of the day. It's an option when you're running your custom report.


Next is the settings tab. We'll go through the settings, and we'll do all of our integrations. Once we get that number created, we'll go over to the settings tab. There we check to make sure the JavaScript is the right JavaScript and the plugin key is sent out to our clients then put on the back end of the website. It's important to make sure that clients using WordPress use the WordPress plugin. Similarly, if they're using Wix we ensure that they use the Wix plugin. We'll go in, link up the Google Analytics, and integrate everything to the Microsoft and the Google Ads accounts.

At this point, the CallRail account should be set up properly, and we can invite all of our parties to the account as administrators. If we have any additional numbers on the website that we want to track, we need to get billing information put into the CallRail account to unlock that feature, and then we can build out those other number pools if need be.

When it comes to the Google Ads account, once you integrate everything in the CallRail UI, we need to make sure that we're setting up Google on Microsoft for success down the road. And even though we have a number pool and every user has their own phone number in that pool, we need to make sure that Google is asking for that information at the get go. So that's where the final URL suffix comes in.

URL suffixes

With these two URL suffixes, the first one's for our search and display. And the second is for shopping. The reason we break those guys out is because some ads don't have keywords. So what we'll do is instead of asking for the ad group, we'll ask for the target ID.

In the CallRail interface we can go through and see the product ID, and we know exactly what that is. On display and DSA campaigns, or other ads that don't use keywords, we will go through and use the campaign ID. That all attributes back over into the CallRail UI, but when we're going through the ad words account, those conversions will lineup with those actual keywords as long as you have the proper pool size.

If everything is set up properly, our ads are driving the right traffic to the website. We should start to see phone calls, not only in CallRail, but also reporting as conversions back to Google Analytics and the Google Ads platforms. This gives us the ability to make more than an educated guess on where to allocate a lot of those budgets based on the conversions that are coming through.

Most of these best practices you can follow for any paid search. The same thing applies to Facebook, any of the other integrations that you have, or any other advertising platforms. As far as the initial setup, this is Logical Position's best practice. We make sure you're setting yourself up for success in the long run, your advertising platforms are communicating with CallRail correctly, and all of your information is being passed through.

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