Chris Kranky

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How WebRTC makes web commerce more accountable

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

ecommerceWebRTC is going to give marketers a new tool to help in their mission. The joke in the marketing world is that 50% of what you spend is totally ineffective. The other half is effective. The problem is you never know what half is which.  Much as I love WebRTC technology, I want to talk about something I love even more, money.

Years ago I managed thousands of 1-800 numbers (run by For every ad campaign, piece of literature, promo material. I would put a different 800 number on it. I could easily track how many calls we received, orders placed and using in-bound caller line ID — correlate it all together into nice graphical reports showing the effectiveness of any single ad campaign.

The web has made things a bit more difficult. Yes we used cookies and special landing pages. But what we found is that customers often would click all over the place, go away, come back on a different device with a different IP address and then finally order something. Correlating this together is on a good day vague. Worse, we discovered on average a customer might visit our website 5-8 times over a period of days before actually ordering something.

It gets worse.

About 50% of people visiting the website end up calling using the good old telephone to complete the order (even today). They call because they have a question that wasn’t answered on the website. They call because they want something special. They call because they want to know a real person is there to help them. Whatever the reason – they call.

And when they call, all of our metrics, sophisticated tracking systems and correlation to our online ad campaigns suddenly go to zero. We’re operating in the dark.

With WebRTC, the opportunity for customers to contact us right there on that specific web page is easy. A mere click. And with that click comes not only the opportunity to preserve tracking how our online marketing dollars are working but to actually get more intelligence. With that WebRTC click to dial, it’s child’s play to transmit the entire visitor experience to the call center agent and let the magic of WebRTC handle all the troubles of the actual communications path.

The real magic is the systems to process that information and present it to the call center agent such that they can use it to do what I really want them to do — close the sale as well as attribute it to the online marketing campaign $$$.

The excitement surrounding WebRTC isn’t that it works, but that it works without you having to understand how it works allowing you to focus on the real goal – making me money.