Is Your Advertising Working?

by Peter Wilson | President

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.

John Wanamaker

John Wanamaker was a successful businessman in the early 1900’s who started a chain of stores which eventually became Macy’s. He is said to have uttered those words sometime around 1920, more than 100 years ago.

Fast forward to now. In 2020 U.S. businesses spent over $80 billion on Google and Facebook advertising combined. At least half of the $80 billion was spent by small businesses.

Thanks to technology, small businesses can now see which advertising is working and which isn’t. The problem is, many businesses have not yet taken advantage of these technologies. 

A marketing agency like can implement these technologies for businesses to show them which advertising spend is working and which is “wasted.” Businesses can stop wasting money on advertising that doesn’t work and invest in the ones that do work. Optimizing advertising effectiveness is an important step in growing a business.

Phone Call Source Tracking

Phone call source tracking (a.k.a. “call tracking”) makes it easy to see which ads generated phone calls, or “leads” to a business. Each advertising source is assigned a unique call tracking phone number. When a customer calls that number, the call is instantly forwarded to the business and the details of the call are recorded.

Call tracking can tell you:

  • Which advertisement they saw before they called.
  • Who called (number and name of caller based on caller id).
  • When they called (date and time).
  • Whether or not the call was answered.
  • How long the call lasted.
  • Audio recording of the call (subject to legal restrictions).

Call tracking works well with online advertising. Code is inserted on a website to instantly recognize which ad a visitor clicked FROM to get there. If the visitor clicked one of your online ads, the phone number they see on your website magically changes to the call tracking number assigned to that advertiser. When a number is called, the details of the call are recorded.

At, we work with a number of clients that use our call tracking service to measure ALL their advertising, both online and offline. We assign call tracking numbers for use in print advertising, billboards, vehicle signage, and any place a phone number would appear. Calls made to those numbers are tracked and reported.

Call or Text Us

These days many customers would rather send a text message than make a phone call. The underlying technology of call tracking supports text messaging, so you can use it to receive and answer customer inquiries as well as track which ads they saw before texting you. Advertisers can now say, “Call or Text Us” to learn more.

Website Contact Forms Tracking

Similar techniques are used to track which ads visitors saw before they visit your website and fill out contact forms. When someone visits your website we track how they got to your website. They may have clicked on a Google search result, a Google ad, a Facebook ad, a link on Yelp, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor or other website. That information is tracked. When they fill out a form, that action is tracked and reported.

Results Reporting

The amount of information generated can be overwhelming, that’s why it is important to receive reporting that is easy to read. Most small businesses we work with prefer a monthly report. Our monthly reporting shows the previous month data along with up to 13 months of historical data for easy month-to-month and year-over-year comparisons.

Optimizing Advertising Spending

Once a business knows how much activity each advertising source is generating, the next step is to compare spending to results. Most small businesses prefer to optimize their “Cost Per Lead.” Cost per lead is the total amount spent on each advertising source divided by the number of leads that source generated. 

If a business spent $1,000 in one month on Google Ads and the ads generated 50 leads, then the cost per lead would be $1,000 divided by 50 leads = $20 per lead.

Cost per lead is a simple way to compare the effectiveness of different advertising. Keep in mind that some “leads” will be more valuable than others so only looking at cost per lead can shortsighted.

Want To Learn More?

If you’re interested in learning more about how call tracking can help your business, book a free consultation with one of our marketing experts today. They can give you real world examples of how we’ve helped businesses optimize their advertising and grow.

Book Consultation

Recent Blog Posts

View More