Setup Call Tracking in Google Analytics (using Tag Manager) Without Hours of Coding!
For those of you that have tried several techniques (including trawling through Google search – which simply states that you can buy a telephone tracking function if you pay them directly, usually through a forward service), and have remained largely unsuccessful at tracking phone number clicks on your site; we're BarkWeb and we're going to be your SEO guide to tracking Phone Calls generated from your website.
- Exclusive fourteen step guide to Click to Call, Phone Number event tracking on your website
- Learn how to create a Google Tag Manager container
- Integrating Tag Manager, Analytics and Search Console
- Learn how to set up passive remarketing audiences
- Learn how to set up dynamic goals and conversions from Tag Manager events
- Installing Tag Manager on your site, whether it’s a Jolojo site, Squarespace or even a WordPress site
Why track phone calls from your website?
Honestly, the function is invaluable to your website. Aside from reducing bounce rates (a debated ranking signal), and giving you a much clearer idea of the audience engagement and behaviour on-site, you will also be able to track almost anything from the website using Google Tag Manager. From email clicks to form submissions, this guide is going to show you exactly how to track all clicks and taps on your website, whilst passively building a remarketing list for the future.
Within this guide, we are going to look at FREE click to call event tracking as shown here in Google analytics goals:
It’s amazing really, even Google’s Analytics Experts have an incredibly limited knowledge on this matter; with most simply stating that they’ll pass me onto their superiors who might know how to do such a “complicated procedure” and need to arrange a call back in a few hours’ time to find out such sensitive information.
There aren’t any guides on how to do this easily, and the existing guides seem so techie that I can only imagine their final steps would be to call Skynet and complete the AI invasion, because their knowledge of coding is nothing short of binary-based hysteria (at least to me).
So, follow me my budding SEO champions, today we’re going on an event-tracking adventure.
Step 1: Creating a Tag Manager container
This is under the basis that everyone who owns a website also owns a Google Analytics account.
This is possible via logging into Tag Manager using your Google Analytics account.
Under the Accounts tab -> press Create Account
You should have the following screen – make the account name something memorable (usually the name of the website, but something shorthand if this is your only container you are going to create)
Note: Please ensure you read through all of the Tag Manager terms and conditions before advancing.
Step 2: Installing Tag Manager onto your website
Once you have selected a Web container, a popup is going to occur with instructions on how to install GTM on your account. You are going to want to replace Google Analytics on your website with the new Tag Manager script. If you’re using WordPress, there are tons of plugins which allow you to install GTM with ease. Alternatively, if you’re on SquareSpace, there are plenty of guides available to help you install Google Tag Manager on your site.
If you’re a BarkWeb client already, you'll already have this set up as standard. If you're interested in finding out more about your Tag Manager account, give us a call on 01323 735800 and we'd be happy to help! Alternatively, if you're on our BarkWeb CMS2 or Jolojo, simply copy your Tag Manager account ID (starting with GTM-) then paste this into the ‘Analytics’ tab, choosing Google Tag Manager from the dropdown menu. Remember to check that Tag Manager is deployed on all pages!
Once created, click edit and select all pages – otherwise your data might be inaccurate.
Step 3: Setting up custom variables on Google Tag Manager
Once installed, Tag Manager is going to prove to be an everlasting fountain of audience behaviour analysis for you. Don’t worry if it’s all a little overwhelming at first, it is the easiest to use tool in Google’s toolbox.
Next, we’re going to click on 'Variables' on the left-hand side of the screen (as so):
Click on ‘Configure’ and tick every variable under ‘Clicks’ and ‘Forms’.
Step 4: Creating a Tag on Tag Manager
Now, for the important bit. To make sure you don’t lose any data – go to ‘Tags’
Step 5: Integrating Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager
Name this tag ‘GA – Base Code’ so you can keep things neat, and click on the ‘Choose a tag type to begin setup’, and decide on your type of Google Analytics. (99% of all users are going to be on Universal Analytics)
Step 6: Where to find your UA code on Google Analytics
Open a new tab and head on over to Google Analytics
Click on the top left name of your property and view – most likely named All Web Site Data, is where you can find your Google Analytics information – take note of the long number below your Property name (structured like so: UA-XXXXXXX-X)
Step 7: Enabling advanced link attribution and advanced demographics on Google Analytics
Whilst you’re still in Google Analytics, you should start to build a remarketing audience on the off-chance that you will one day like to create a remarketing campaign targeting those visitors that have visited you before. Even if PPC doesn’t seem like something you want to embark on just yet, it is certainly worthwhile to start building an audience as early as possible.
To do so, click on Admin at the bottom left-hand side of the screen, then in the middle column choose ‘Property Settings’
It should bring you to this page:
Once on this page, simply tick the ‘Enable demographics and interest reports’ and ‘Use enhanced link attribution’ page. Now Search Console has been merged, you can also integrate your Google Search Console account to Google Analytics and incorporate technical and behavioural data. I would also suggest setting an industry category and default URL to help Google index your site correctly.
Step 8: Setting up Remarketing features on Google Analytics
Finally, on Analytics, click on ‘Tracking info’ and follow it up with ‘Data Collection’, you should see the following screen.
Once here, simply tick the ‘Remarketing’ and ‘Advertising Reporting Features’. If you have an AdWords account already, you can link it under the Product Linking tab, otherwise – continue to the next step and sit back whilst Analytics starts collecting Remarketing data should you ever need it.
Step 9: Installing Google Analytics on Google Tag Manager
With the Google Tag Manager tab still open, add the Universal Analytics code from your clipboard to the UA code input on your new Tag in Tag Manager.
Now, you need to fill this information out exactly. Any discrepancies between Analytics and Tag Manager mean that data will not pull through accurately.
Paste your code into the top, and ensure you tick all the relevant options. Then select the ‘All Pages’ trigger – it should be the only trigger you currently have. Click save, and then publish.
Step 10: Previewing and debugging tags and how to create the perfect trigger
PHEW! That’s your basic analytics code integrated, now for the fun part!
Click on the arrow on the right of the red ‘Publish’ button, and click on the ‘Preview and Debug’ option.
And go to your site, from here you most likely need to force refresh (CTRL+F5) if the bottom half of your screen doesn’t pop up with the tag manager QUICK_PREVIEW.
With this open, click on the telephone number on your site, for our website, we have coaligned our number’s href to contain the international phone number i.e. +44 to help keep our contact numbers Unicode for Google to index them correctly.
If your options aren’t popping up under the variables tab (which is a common issue), then right click and 'Inspect’ like so:
Now, copy whatever the href currently is to your clipboard, or alternatively split your screens so you can type it out manually. If you havn’t set a href for your phone number yet, simply add an external link to your phone number starting with tel: and it will redirect all phones and browser-based VOIP software to call the number.
Step 11: Creating a "Click to Call" phone number event trigger on Google Tag Manager
Back to Tag Manager, go to the ‘Triggers’ tab, and create a new trigger directly as followed:
(Click - All Elements
Click Element - matches CSS selector - [href="tel:+441323735800"])
Once you're done, click ‘Save’ and close the window.
Step 12: How to create a "Click to Call" phone number event tag in Google Tag Manager
Click on the ‘Tags’ tab on the left-hand side, go back into your ‘GA – Base Code’ and copy the UA code you initially put in onto your clipboard. Then go back and click on the red ‘New‘, from here we can create a new tag. Simply fill out the information, then add your new trigger.
The Click Element shows the number that was clicked, and the page URL shows in the label as the url they clicked on the number from, this is all invaluable information.
So, click save, and then click on ‘Preview and Debug’ for the last time (next to the publish button, remember?).
Step 13: Testing your new "Click to Call" function
Go back to your site, tap refresh and hopefully you should see your new tag not fired on this page (yet!)
Simply click on the number, and watch your tag fire. It should pop up as a new event (usually a gtm.click – hence why we have set the trigger to all elements and not just links).
It’s now tested and debugged, you can go back to tag manager and publish your results, or continue adding more triggers if you have more telephone numbers. The beauty of this set up is that you can add multiple triggers to single Click to Call tags, and then differentiate within Google Analytics by using the Label field. For those with 5+ numbers, this is by far the best method of click to call tracking available to you.
Step 14: Creating custom goals on Google Analytics, based on Google Tag Manager events
Integrating your calls as a goal – this is possible through logging back into your Google Analytics, Clicking on Admin -> View -> Goals.
Under Goals, click on ‘+New Goal’ and select ‘Custom’.
Type out a name that will differentiate this goal and ensure you know what it is! Click to Call is usually good enough for me.
Finally, set the Category to the same Category as defined in Tag Manager i.e. "Phone Calls" (ensuring you typed it exactly the same as the tag in Tag Manager). And tap ‘Save’.
You can test the events in real-time using Google Analytics Real-Time.
It usually takes 24-48 hours before the results start pulling through – then you can review your goals under ‘Conversions – Goal Overview’.
And there you have it! Click to Call event tracking isn’t as hard as they would have you believe... is it?
Google Tag Manager can be used to track any activity/clicks on your website using this method, including but not limited to:
Email clicks, phone number clicks, form submissions, button clicks, external link clicks, internal link clicks, search clicks... Pretty much any and every event possible on your site.
If you have any questions whatsoever, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help answer your queries :)
Alternatively, check out our SEO page for further information on SEO services and how they can help improve the engagement, traffic and revenue from your website, with extensive examples of successful SEO. We even have a free SEO auditing tool should you wish to improve your website on your own, or to get an idea of what Google might see as a potential issue on your site.
Thanks for reading!