Nov 92006

"Can you read me the code on the bottom right of the web page?"

call center ppc tracking

Here's a very big "little idea."

When you call a catalog company, the phone agent always asks you something like this:

"Please read me the code in the yellow box on the back of the catalog."


Catalogers use this to track sales back to different versions of the catalog.

Yes, you can try to determine this later in an imprecise way using matchbacks of order addresses against mailing addresses. But matchbacks are slow and imprecise. Asking the consumer during the order is a better first approach.

1StopLighting had a very big "little" idea: use the same trick online.

Mihran Berejikian, 1StopLighting's president and co-founder, says "There aren't that many original ideas. We're not sure if we're the first to do this, but we didn't hear about it from anyone else. We just came up with the idea ourselves."

Here's the idea. When you arrive at 1StopLighting via a tracked link, they place a visible tracking code on the bottom of the page, next to their copyright symbol. A code might be something like "[R562899]". This code is persistent and indicates how you got to their site.

Now if you call them, the agent asks for that code when you order.

Just like a catalog call agent typing a catalog code into the order taking app, the call agent punches the web keycode onto the order.

Simple. Powerful. Brilliant.

I first saw this idea on Glen Edelman, WineEthusiast's Director of eCommerce and Marketing, reported that he got the idea from Mihran.

WineEnthusiast places their code on the bottom right of the screen, and opts for a code with more letters than numbers. A typical code would look something like "[GL2HL06]".

WineEnthusiast tracks at the campaign level, rather than at the keyword level. This code is persistent and tied to the session -- so it shows up on every page on the site for that user -- and lasts until the cookie expires or the code is overwritten by another tracked inbound click.

Glen and Mihran both say this idea is key to tracking the call-center spillover of their online advertising. Both described providing training and education to the call agents to capture the code. Mihran also described regular reporting to monitor agent compliance.

Glen Edelman: "This really helps us track the effect of search and email campaigns in the call center."

Thanks, Glen and Mihran, for graciously sharing this big "little idea" with us all. I predict this smart idea will find wide adoption.


8 Responses to ""Can you read me the code on the bottom right of the web page?""
Carnival Of Marketing, Something Different Welcome to the December 4, 2006 edition of Carnival of Marketing. Normally the majority of the audience that either subscribes to, or uncovers the Real Estate Tomato is interested or involved in the real estate industry. In an effort to expand not only...
Paul Pacun says:
Another simpler approach with guaranteed tracking is to code each campaign with a different toll free number. This solution is automated and provides realtime feedback of who called, when they called, where they called from and detailed demographic information on the caller in about 5 to 10 percent of the calls. The demographic information can be used to target additional direct to consumer campaigns. In addition, your call center can receive a call announce that lets them know what campaign the call is coming from in advance of being connected. All calls are recorded for quality assurance and staff training.
Hi Paul -- Your comment sounds like an advert for your service! While dedicated 800 #s are one option, I don't think it is simpler however, and certainly costs a great deal more than the simple solution above, plus then you need a means to map the 800 back to a media code to punch into the catalog system. Also, if you are trying to track PPC into the call center at a highly granular #, you'd need 1000s or tens of 1000s of tollfree #s -- not realistic. The advantages of the trick above are that it is (1) free (2) integrated with catalog tracking, and (3) allows a large # of codes. Thanks for the comment -- Alan
Ryce says:
And how do you implement those code?


Check out what others are saying...
[...] Surveys are one way to get at this number for your business, though there’s often material differences between what people report and what they actually do. Online coupons are another way, if the coupon can be scanned at the store register and later tracked without hassle. Cam didn’t discuss call centers, which also pull orders out of the offline channel. One powerful way to track call-center spillover is to have your call agents ask for a visible tracking code on the web page. [...]
NEMOA 2008 says:
[...] PPC Into Call Center [...]
[...] addition to having a different number on your website than your other marketing vehicles, consider adding tracking parameters to your online programs and a dynamic gif or text on the bottom of each page that will allow phone [...]

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