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What is Call Tracking and How Does It Work?

Written by:

Victoria Yu is a Business Writer with expertise in Business Organization, Marketing, and Sales, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.

Edited by:

Sallie, holding a Ph.D. from Walden University, is an experienced writing coach and editor with a background in marketing. She has served roles in corporate communications and taught at institutions like the University of Florida.

What is Call Tracking and How Does It Work?

What is Call Tracking and How Does It Work?

Digital marketing and online shopping might be all the rage nowadays, but businesses shouldn’t count out phone calls: 60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using the click-to-call function from search results, says Google.

If a customer calls a business, it usually means that the information they’re looking for isn’t readily available online – they might be weighing fine details or want an expert opinion before making a purchase decision. Businesses would be wise to pay attention to these highly-qualified leads: if nurtured properly, they’re likely to become customers!

One way businesses can enhance their phone-based lead generation and nurturing tactics is by call tracking. Follow this guide to learn all about call tracking, how it works, and if it could help your business.

Key Takeaways

  • Call tracking is the process and tools a company uses to track where an inbound call comes from.

  • Call tracking software provides a company with information about the caller and what marketing tools they interacted with, along with information about the effectiveness of the call itself.

  • There are two types of call tracking: static and dynamic.

  • Using call tracking, a company can determine the effectiveness of each of its marketing strategies, improve its customer experiences, and gain a holistic view of its sales funnel.

What is Call Tracking?

Call tracking is the process and solutions a business uses to trace which marketing campaign or lead generation source calling customers come from.

Through call tracking software, a business can assign a unique phone number to each advertising channel or campaign to identify which advertisements generate the most phone calls.

The goal of call tracking is to gather data about which marketing methods generate more leads so managers and decision-makers can adjust their strategies, and to provide sales and customer service reps more information about incoming callers to provide better service.

What Does Call Tracking Software Do?

On a simple level, call tracking software assigns unique phone numbers to marketing tools you want to track, and routes calls to those numbers to your business’s main phone line, along with information on which phone call came from where.

When an interested customer calls one of those numbers, the phone call goes to the call tracking software, which will record the following and send it to your company along with the call:

  • Caller ID (name, phone number, location)
  • Call details (date, time, and duration)
  • Call recording and transcribing
  • Wait time
  • Whether the caller is a unique or repeat caller
  • UTM (urchin tracking model) source
  • What marketing tool or channel the call came from

Call tracking software also monitors and records calls, running conversational analytics to measure the effectiveness of your sales calls. Based on criteria such as call length and keywords spoken, it can automatically calculate conversion rates between leads and customers and judge the effectiveness of your phone reps.

Some programs also provide call whispering, which is an automated message before the line connects that tells your sales representative which source the caller is coming from. This gives reps a heads-up before initiating the conversation, telling them what the lead is interested in ahead of time.

Types of Call Tracking

There are two different types of call tracking: static and dynamic. How call tracking works varies by type, so let’s take a look at each one in detail.

1. Static Call Tracking

Static call tracking works by assigning a different phone number to each ad or advertising medium. These phone numbers don’t change, hence the name “static.” 

Essentially, it’s like buying a separate phone line per advertising channel, except they all route back to your business’s main phone number. Simple, isn’t it?

Static call tracking suits businesses with only a few call sources they want to track, such as their Facebook vs newspaper ads. 

2. Dynamic Call Tracking

On the other hand, dynamic call tracking is a bit more complex.

Dynamic call tracking uses dynamic number insertion (DNI) technology to add a small script to your website’s code. This script will display a unique phone number on your website for each visitor, depending on where they came from and other criteria you wish to track. 

With browser cookies, dynamic call tracking can also measure which website pages the customer viewed before calling and if the customer has ever visited your website before – all important things to know to judge the quality of the lead.

For example, someone who clicked on a Google Ad and was redirected to your website would see a different phone number than someone who came across your website naturally. When one of them calls, your business would rely on the call tracking software’s call report to tell which source they came from before arriving at the website – reps wouldn’t be able to tell by themselves the way they could with static call tracking.

Rather than generate a unique phone number per user, dynamic call tracking draws from a pre-purchased pool of dynamic phone numbers, changing which one is displayed per user session. Once a visitor has left the website, the number is returned to the pool and re-used for another visitor. 

While dynamic call tracking means you can track many more call sources without paying for a separate number per source, the downside is that the company must pay for enough dynamic phone numbers to ensure each concurrent visitor or viewer has a unique phone number displayed for them. In other words, the price of dynamic call tracking will grow exponentially as your business and reach grow.

Static vs Dynamic Call Tracking

Why Should I Implement Call Tracking?

So why should you implement call tracking? Here are a few discrete advantages call tracking can bring to your business.

1. Optimize Your Marketing Strategies

While we stuck with simple examples in the previous sections, you can use call tracking to test more than just different website visitors and social media channels. Some examples of different channels, mediums, and segments you could track are:

  • Website pages/landing pages
  • Newsletters
  • Social media ads
  • Paid ads
  • Organic ads
  • Offline ads
  • SEO keywords
  • Paid search keywords
  • Google business profile

By tracking which phone number receives more calls, a business can definitively prove the ROI of each individual marketing campaign and advertising channel. With this information, marketing directors and decision-makers can optimize their marketing strategies, allocating their attention and resources to the methods that draw the most qualified leads.

2. Improve the Customer Experience

Customers from different sources require different sales approaches. Without knowing which lead comes from where, sales reps waste callers’ time with questions about which product they’re interested in and what promotions they saw.

With a call whisper, call tracking software gives sales reps this information before they’re connected to the caller, giving them a moment to prepare an appropriate sales script suited to the caller. This seamlessly integrates the company’s marketing and sales activities, raising the rep’s chances of nurturing the customer’s interest and closing the sale. 

Plus, by assigning a different tracking number to different website pages, companies can conduct A/B testing, measuring each page’s number of inbound calls to discover which marketing messages resonate with customers the most. With careful experimentation, a business can hone its website to only display the most appealing content, enhancing the customer’s online experience. 

3. Provide a Comprehensive Picture of the Sales Funnel

Say, for example, that your website tracks visitor click conversion rates as they arrive at your website, navigate through product pages, and put items in their basket in your online store. If the customer decides to call your company and complete their order through the phone, your company metrics would say that you just lost a sales-qualified lead but magically gained a new customer through the phone. The same goes for customers who visit a website but close the page and call later.

Call tracking software bridges these gaps, identifying when customers make the leap from online or offline ads to the phone. These analytics provide an omnichannel view of the customer journey, combining website and incoming call analytics to provide greater insight into the conversion rate between stages of your sales funnel.

As a bonus, most call tracking software integrates with CRM solutions, marketing automation, and sales management software, meaning you can have all your marketing and sales tools and data in one location for a more holistic view of your company’s operations.


A call tracking solution provides deep insight into caller behavior before and during calls, allowing companies to make logical, data-driven decisions to optimize their marketing efforts, sales activities, and customer experiences. 

Customers who call a business are often well on their way to making a purchase, so by paying close attention to these inbound callers with call tracking, a business can improve its conversion rates and turn each ring of the phone into the ka-ching! of another sale.


Who are some providers of call tracking solutions?

Some call tracking software vendors are Invoca, Nimbata, Marchex, Call Rail, and CallTrackingMetrics.

How much does call tracking software cost?

Call tracking software costs around $30 to $300 monthly, depending on factors such as the call tracking provider, your company’s size, and the features included in each package. On average, a dynamic number pool costs $2-4 per line per month at $.05-$.07 per minute.

Some providers such as Nimbata offer a free entry-level plan, while others like CallTrackingMetrics offer a free two months if you purchase an annual plan.

Do I need to implement call tracking?

Of course, if phone calls aren’t an essential part of your marketing and sales strategies, you may not need to invest in call tracking software. 


However, we recommend businesses with complex or high-ticket products to invest in call tracking, as customers in these industries are more likely to do research online and pick up the phone and call the company to discuss details before making a purchase. Call tracking can seamlessly integrate these customers’ journeys and provide a more comprehensive overview of their experiences.


Some examples of industries that would benefit the most from call tracking are travel and hospitality, automobiles, legal services, financial services, real estate, and healthcare.

What features should I look for when buying call tracking software?

What you consider when browsing call tracking solutions depends on your company’s needs. You might look into whether your company needs features and add-ons such as global call tracking, dynamic numbers, reporting and analytics, integrations with CRMs and marketing automation tools, and add-ons such as greetings, call recordings, whispers, transcriptions, voicemail, and call surveys.