How to track click-to-call conversions on mobile sites and apps

by - February 9, 2015

As a marketer or website developer have you ever wished you could tell your customers exactly how many people clicked on their "click-to-call" buttons and links? Wouldn't this be a great way to show how effective the mobile site or native app you have built for them is? 

The problem is, until recently there wasn't a really easy way to track "offline" actions such as click-to-call conversions: the best the site owner could do was asking the caller where they got their details from and record it manually somewhere (obviously losing track of that just a few days later...)

In this short tutorial we will see 3 ways you can currently use to track website call conversions: one with Google Adwords, another one with Google Analytics events tracking and finally using the simple native stats functionality available for each mobile websites and native apps.


Google Adwords Website Call Conversions

Not too long ago Google announced that they added calls conversions tracking to their AdWords click-to-call ads. The way this works is that you add a small snippet of code in your site and when someone clicks on one of your ads and lands on your site this "website call conversions" feature dynamically inserts a Google forwarding number on your site: every time a user calls this number - either by clicking on it or by dialing it manually - a "conversion" is recorder and stored in your account, allowing you to check how many calls that specific number received.

The advantages of this approach is that you can link a click-to-call action to a specific ad and keyword. At the same time thou this works only using Adwords ads so you will miss all calls made by users who landed on your site via other channels (SEO, referrals, direct, QR Codes, redirects from your desktop site, ...)


Tracking click-to-calls with Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics for keeping track of click-to-call events is a bit difficult, requiring some non-trivial technical and programming skills. Nonetheless, when done correctly, this method can be very useful and complete.

Event tracking

This system uses what Google calls "events tracking". Basically, you will use Javascript to tell Google Analytics an "event" has happened on your page when somebody taps on a click-to-call link. Analytics will store this event so you can later see it with the rest of your analytics data,

You find more info about events tracking at but the important part is that you have to call a Javascript function like this in your pages:

ga('send', 'event', 'category', 'action', 'label');

where 'send' and 'event' are fixed, 'category' is typically the object that was interacted with (for example 'click-to-call button'), 'action' is the action performed (for example 'click') and 'label' is a reminder for this button (used for example to identify the page or site section).

'onclick' trigger

But how and when do you tell Google Analytics to record this event? Well, as all the Javascript and HTML junkies know a "click-to-call" link is a regular link, just like the ones you click when you open a new page. To these links an "onclick" event can be attached, using Javascript to tell the browser to do something when that link is triggered. You see where I'm going, right?

You have to trigger the Google Analytics event when the call link is clicked, like this:

<a href="tel:+1234567890" onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'click-to-call', 'click', 'homepage');">Click here to call us</a>

As you might have guessed, the code above creates a link in your HTML page with an anchor that says "Click here to call us" that, when clicked, will start a call to the specified number and record an event in Analytics with the "click-to-call" category, the "click" action and the "homepage" label.


Using native stats call conversions tracking

If all this seems a bit complicated, well, it actually is. You need to tamper with your mobile website code and that's something quite time consuming and error prone.

An alternative solution to the approaches above is to use to build your mobile websites and native apps, add all the click-to-calls buttons and links you want and then use the native stats functionality - which include click-to-call tracking - to see exactly how many people completed a call conversion and on what pages.

There are a couple of handy and useful things about this system:

  1. it is completely seamless and automated: you don't have to add nor do anything to your mobile site, every time you add a click-to-call button to any page of your mobile site its performances will be automatically monitored
  2. it is very precise: while we noticed that the Analytics method above sometimes misses some events (the Adwords one works only if you are using Adwords) this system never misses a beat as click-to-call events are recorded on the same server where the sites reside
  3. the complete stats dashboard is totally white-label so you can show it directly to your customer and/or site owner, offering even more transparency and convenience
  4. it works for native apps too: the "click-to-call" button click will be tracked even when the site is transformed into a native app giving you an even deeper understanding on how peope are using the apps you have created



In conclusion, no matter what system you use it is very important that you record and analyze click-to-call performances: calls and offline interactions are often the most valuable conversions for local and small businesses so knowing exactly where they came from and what originated them is extremely useful to double down on what works and make mobile sites and native apps even more effective.

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