Suppose you’re a motel chain with lots of franchises across the US.

Ad campaigns, search results or web site calls-to-action direct the user to local phone numbers, based on the viewer’s location.

In this case, there is no central call center with an 800 number, but a different local number for each location, with each location responsible for its own revenue, acting as its own call center and tracking its own analytics.

The problem with attribution for local phone numbers. The central problem, says call analytics firm Invoca, is that call tracking was originally built for centralized or regional call centers, not for hundreds or thousands of individual locations.

Each ad campaign is generally optimized for the local number, and any centralized management by the overall chain is limited by the local phone numbers and specific rules for each, which are often coming from the franchises. One motel, for instance, might want to direct high-value customers to a particular person, as identified by the customer’s browser cookie.

And there are often two lists of those local phone numbers, with rules for attribution and other analytics for each number. One list is the hotel chain’s own database, and one is the parallel database and rules at the call analytics firm.

It’s not common,VP of Product Management Nathan Ziv told me, that client companies provide direct access to their own database of local numbers via an API or other means, he said, because they want to keep a tight control on their information. Instead, the two databases need to be kept in sync.

Invoca’s ‘multi-destination model.’ On Thursday, Invoca is adding a new feature that removes that double-database requirements, which it says also helps streamlines the process of tracking attribution to branch phone numbers.

This “multi-destination model,” as Ziv calls it, automatically identifies the local phone number that will be shown on the web page to a given user in a web site, ad or search result. This is instead of pulling the location phone number from Invoca’s parallel database.

It automatically swaps out in real time that local number with Invoca’s phone number, which then routes to the original location number. The replacement is done at the server, before the web user sees the number, so the user only sees the Invoca number.

This means, he said, that the hotel chain doesn’t need to manage two databases and two sets of rules, but only its own database and a central dashboard of rules for attribution for each number or sets of numbers. If the motel location’s web page has three local phone numbers, three numbers are replaced with Invoca’s before the user sees the page.

Why this matters to marketers. Ziv said that, to his knowledge, other call analytics firms still maintain parallel databases for local branches, which need to be updated by the brand. This requires more maintenance, and can make overall campaign management and revenue attribution more complex.

By grabbing and replacing the phone number from the brand at the web server, he said, and by providing a central set of rules and tracking over all the franchise numbers, marketers can save time and simplify overall management.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.


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