I have recently completed a thorough review of a Hibu “WebReach” campaing. If you are not familiar with the term “WebReach” – it is Hibu’s term for the suite of internet marketing “services” (services is put in quotes because it is my belief that what they offer is anything but a “service”). The primary product in Hibu’s “WebReach” program is Google AdWords. Hibu is a large re-seller of Google AdWords.
What I found in this review was shocking. I expected the standard limited information in the reports. I expected withholding info like Bounce Rate, Match Type, Search Query etc. Hibu did not disappoint in those areas. I did NOT expect to find evidence of fraud! (Alleged)
I discovered Hibu reporting phone calls received from Organic Visitors and Direct Visitors as if they were from a Paid Click. Yes – you read that right…. I did a search for the company name and found the organic listing. Clear as day – in the “Title tag” is the customers main phone number, but when I clicked the ORGANIC link, the phone number on the page was replaced with the tracking number. The same tracking number being used for the Pay Per Click Campaign Reports!
Is Hibu deceiving it’s customers intentionally?
I don’t know, but I don’t see any way that this could be an accident. I took a look at the java script code that is used to dynamically change the numbers and the code says “look for # (xxx) xxx-xxxx and replace it with # (yyy) yyy-yyyy”. Most of the times I see call tracking numbers for Google AdWords campaigns, the code is a bit more complex. Normal AdWords Call Tracking (or call tracking for any purpose) would look for the source of the visitor and IF the source of the website visitor matches the predefined parameters, it would then replace the phone number on the page with a tracking number. You can use this code to insert 1 tracking number for visits from Campaign A, and a different tracking number for visits from Campaign B. You could even use this type of code to track phone calls from Google Organic Visitors vs. Yahoo Organic Visitors.
Why have Hibu’s “Google AdWords Experts” not discovered this problem?
This was a major red flag on an account that is spending between $12,000 & $15,000 per month on Pay Per Click advertising. When the customer forwarded me the report (very vague report) that Hibu provides them, the first thing that popped out was the insanely high (and utterly useless) “Click to Call Ratio”. The numbers reported by Hibu to this customer were: (please note – campaign names have been changed to maintain the privacy of my client)
|Campaign||Clicks||Impressions||CTR||Avg CPC||Spend||Total Phone Calls||Cost Per Call||Click to Call Ratio|
THOSE CLICK TO CALL RATIO’S ARE INSANELY HIGH!
If it is intentional, then Hibu is more than scamming people, they are intentionally defrauding its customers in an effort to keep them paying money into campaigns that aren’t delivering the results that Hibu claims they are. If this is the case – Hibu should be held accountable.
In conclusion – do not rely on (phony) phone call tracking data provided by Hibu. You need to dig a little deeper and see what these reports to know if you are close to getting a return on your investment. When you factor in their alleged 40% markup…..well – I’ll let you decide if you want to keep flushing money down the toilet ….errrrr I mean investing, with Hibu.