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How to Know Where Your Telephone Conversions Come From

Knowing where your sales leads come from is not a problem when potential customers have filled out a form; but how can you know when they’re calling in? Of course, you can easily identify customers who found your number on your website (or any other website) by using a unique telephone number, but how can you know how they reached the site in the first place?

This article explains how to track the paths that customers used to find you, be it through an organic Google search, an Adword campaign, social networks, or some other means.

How Does It Work?

First of all, you must implant a JavaScript code on your website that will change dynamically to post a different phone number for each kind of visitor. For example, a lead who found your company by Googling “custom software developer” will see a different phone number than one who Googled “mobile application developer”, even if both searches were performed simultaneously.

Dynamic telephone numbers are key, as they link visits and calls with a unique number.

Phone calls are then fed to a server that links each telephone number with a different cookie, showing where each visitor came from. This information can then be sent to Google Analytics, some other customer relationship management software, or any other platform. Now you can associate calls with specific campaigns.

The Tools


In the U.S., Google Adword is freely available for implementation right on your platform. Unfortunately, this service is not available in Canada, but there are many other telephone conversion tracking systems.

Having done our due diligence, we went with Callrail, a solution which we found to be most complete, at the best price, and compatible with our own customer relationship management system (Salesforce) and with Google Analytics.


Implementing Callrail is delightfully easy. Setting up the account takes a matter of minutes, after which, if you have implemented Tag Manager, all you have to do is create a new “container” with the Callrail-generated code, for another five minutes’ work. If you don’t have Tag Manager, get it! This will save you time in implementing your next tool.

Now you can configure Callrail. In our case, since we have several offices, we had to configure each office as if it were a separate company, a relatively simple matter.

Finally, you’ll have to select an area code for telephone calls as well as the number of telephone numbers to be displayed simultaneously. In our case, 8 or 10 is not a problem as we’ll never have 10 calls coming in all at once.

Integration with other platforms


You’ll need to enter an available code in Salesforce, which will be used by Callrail to generate a new sales lead each time the phone number is used. Information about the lead will be somewhat brief, since it is a telephone call after all. Information on the company will be pushed to the Company field, the telephone number will be populated in the appropriate field, and any other information, such as the source of the call, will be pushed to the Description field.

Google Analytics

To track conversions and other information in Google Analytics, you’ll need to enter a domain and ID number. Then, you’ll need to create an event which will be linked to this objective, just as you would for any other event. This way, a conversion is recorded for every call, just as if the caller had filled out a form.


We had to enter our various offices as if they were separate companies, which is not representative of our marketing campaigns, since we don’t differentiate between our two local markets. This has the further inconvenience of increasing the amount of work required to integrate data from each office. We would have liked to generate several numbers for a single company. But this inconvenience is offset by a well-structured reporting system which allows us to get the overall picture for our company as a whole.

Since Google does not allow keyword data association for SSL–encrypted searches (i.e. all Google searches), it is not possible to link Google search keywords to conversions, which is a pity. Unfortunately, neither Callrail nor any other dynamic numbering system can do anything about it.


All of these platforms enable the recording of calls, but for ethical reasons, I never use this function. Since I wouldn’t want to be recorded without my consent, I wouldn’t do it to others. Further, collaboration is one of our values as a company. But collaboration is based on trust, and I don’t think that surreptitiously recording conversations is a good way to build trust. Therefore, as long as I have a say in it, we will never record conversations with leads. It might not be illegal, but I believe it is morally suspect, and I hope I’m not the only marketer who thinks this.

Now, you might wonder about the ethics of associating the source of a conversion to a telephone call. I believe it depends on what you intend to do with the information. In our case, we use it strictly to find out how visitors found us. This is a widely-used and generally accepted practice made very easy thanks to Google Analytics. Therefore, I do not think such a practice is unethical.

This entry was posted in Digital marketing
by Simon Toussaint.
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