National Builder Supply Slashes PPC Spending By 60% With CallRail

While a necessity for most retail businesses, advertising can be expensive and sometimes complicated to manage. To ensure advertising channels and tactics meet expectations, more retailers are relying on the power of analytics.

National Builder Supply, an online wholesaler of lighting, kitchen and bath items, leveraged call tracking services from CallRail to gain further visibility into inbound calls and decrease pay-per-click (PPC) ad spending by 60% within a single month.

The wholesaler generates much of its sales through the call center, and prides itself on knowledgeable customer service. However, the retailer previously had no way to connect a customer’s initial online browsing session with the sale completed through the service call, and therefore, could not determine which advertisements drove each individual customer to the call.


“The big pain point was having this big section of sales and we didn’t know where they came from,” said David Gallmeier, Marketing and Development Manager for National Builder Supply. “We couldn’t be too pessimistic regarding how ads were performing, and we originally had to give the benefit of the doubt on too many areas. We just were not tuned in to what was contributing to those sales.”

With CallRail, National Builder Supply has the opportunity to close the gap between its web visitors and telephone sales. When web visitors find and click into the wholesaler’s site through an advertisement, the solution assigns them a phone number to call. The visitor sees this phone number throughout their entire browsing journey, so they can easily inquire about a product. CallRail can then track the call and correlate it to the specific source and keyword the visitor initially used to find the site.

“CallRail gave us a missing piece of our revenue and margin attribution model that really made it possible to stop giving failing ads the benefit of the doubt,” Gallmeier said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Because of the amount of transactions that go through the call center, that has just been a necessary component, as we are able to individually see advertisements day by day at a very low level, and how much money is being made. It’s not a perfect model, but it makes a difference between having to overestimate the value of advertisements that would have hamstrung our ad cutting spree that we’ve been on for the past several months.”

Reallocating Time And Money

By slashing its PPC spending, National Builder Supply now can focus its time and financial resources elsewhere. For example, the company plans to invest in long- and medium-term hiring decisions designed to boost the company’s email marketing capabilities. Last year, the retail side of the business was “in the red,” according to Gallmeier, so the company was able to shore up additional areas of the budget that were previously unfulfilled.

“The additional income definitely allowed us to hire people that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise,” Gallmeier explained. “It’s not that we wouldn’t want to hire them, but we might have had to wait longer to bring those people in.”

The ability to track the effectiveness of ads extends throughout e-Commerce marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, where the wholesaler displays product listings. With CallRail, National Builder Supply has been able to slash product listing catalogs by approximately 50%, sending only display ads promoting the highest-converting products.

“Keyword advertisements used to be where we saw a lot of money, but over time we’ve seen the profitability of those dry up badly,” Gallmeier said. “Most of the motivated customers have transferred over to the product ads that Google has displayed. Those also are the only kind of ads that we can put on Amazon without selling directly through the site.”


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