Google, NOT PROVIDED Keywords, and the End of Keyword Call Tracking?

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In case you’ve been living under a rock, you likely know that Google is no longer going to be providing organic keyword data.

After about a week of speculation, Google finally confirmed to Search Engine Land that they will move to encrypt 100% of organic searches. That means you will not get ANY organic keyword data within the next couple of months. Here’s the quote:

“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”

The average percentage of NOT PROVIDED organic keywords is around 80% today. That number is going up.

LinkNotProvided

This has broad implications for a variety of search marketing-type businesses. We wrote about some of these implications last week.

In this blog, however, we will focus on what this development means for call tracking.

Why Does it Matter for Call Tracking?

It matters because most call tracking customers use something called Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI).

Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) allows marketers to track the number of calls generated by online activities. It does this by dynamically producing unique phone numbers on a website dependent upon how the visitor accessed the website. This allows LogMyCalls, or another call tracking provider, to determine which ad sources generated phone calls.

Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) allows marketers to track the number of calls generated by PPC, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing and any other online marketing source. DNI even used to allow you to track which keyword someone searched before they called. (Google’s NOT PROVIDED policy is de facto stopping this).

There are three distinct types of DNI. Only 1 of them (session-based) is going to be impacted by Google’s new policy. It is only those call tracking companies that focus exclusively on session-based call tracking that will be hurt by Google’s new policy.

LogMyCalls is one of only a couple of call tracking providers that offers all three. Here’s an explanation of each:

URL-Based DNI

This allows marketers to assign unique phone numbers to specific URLs. When someone clicks through from a specific URL a unique phone number is generated. In other words, they see a different phone number on your website than someone that directly typed in your URL, for example. Each URL you want to track is assigned a unique phone number. You simply build your URL and then view the corresponding report within LogMyCalls.

This type of DNI is NOT impacted by Google’s new policy.

Use Cases – Most of our clients using this feature use it for social media and PPC campaigns.

Source-Based DNI

Source-based DNI allows marketers to gather high level data about specific referring sources. For example marketers could assign one phone number that everyone referring from Google will see. Or, they could assign a unique phone number to Bing, Yahoo or a specific online directory. Every visitor from Google would see the same number. Every visitor from Bing would see the same number, and so forth.

This type of DNI is NOT impacted by Google’s new policy.

Use Cases – This form of DNI is very useful for high level metrics.

Session-Based DNI

Session-based DNI assigns every single person that visits your site a unique phone number. This number follows them through your website until their web browsing session ends (until they close their window). This has provided a very specific level of data granularity. In the past, even organic keywords could be tracked. Google’s policy changes that.

There are some call tracking companies that have built their entire value prop around providing ‘keyword call tracking.’ Well, those days of keyword call tracking are over. Not sure what these other call tracking companies are going to do.

Use Cases – Session-based could still be used for very high volume PPC marketers because keyword data will still come through if you’re paying Google for clicks.

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